News Article Details

Bench aims to include all

The Journal - 8/23/2017

The Falls School Board Monday voiced support for an effort aimed to help kids feel included.

Jennifer Hill, founder of a local autism support group, requested the board install a "buddy bench" on school grounds during the upcoming school year.

"The board didn't take action, but was supportive," reported Superintendent Kevin Grover.

According to, buddy benches are being adopted by educators around the world. Basically, when a student feels lonely, they know to go over and sit on the buddy bench. Other students in the play area are then instructed to mingle with that student.

"The idea is if a kid sits on these benches, it's all of our responsibility to make sure that child feels included," Grover said.

For now, a bench is expected to be installed on the first and second grade playground at Falls Elementary with the plan to expand in the future.

"I think its a great idea," Grover said.

Also Monday, the board approved a telepresence network use agreement with Arrowhead Health Alliance to offer additional counseling opportunities and check-in services for students.

Grover said the school contracts with Northland Counseling, which have sent staff for various appointments at the school.

In an effort to make counseling more convenient for students, a telepresence network will be established on site.

"It won't be anything in crisis," Grover told The Journal. "If a student is having a bad day and we know they do some counseling, we may be able to hook them up and link them if the counselor is available through telepresence. It's an exciting opportunity."

The board also Monday:

Set public meetings for Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. and Oct. 10 at 6 p.m. at Falls High School to provide information about the upcoming Nov. 7 referendum.Hired Mike Christianson as an hourly bus driver.Hired Brenda LeDuc as an hourly instructor for the 2017-2018 school year.Hired Karla Olson-Line as the Minnesota Society Advisor for the 2017-2018 school year.Accepted the resignation of Steve Johnson as head girls and boys golf, effective immediately.Accepted the resignation of Paul Fearing has an hourly bus driver, effective immediately.


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