Saturday, May 02, 2015

Baseball picks up win

The B-B-E Jaguars baseball team got back in the win column after beating Hancock 10-0 in six innings on Friday night in Elrosa. Tommy Cebulla started and got the win in two innings of pitching; Ryan Illies pitched the last four innings. The Owls were held to no hits by both pitchers. Now 3-7 overall, the Jaguars host Eden Valley-Watkins on Monday in Elrosa with a 4:30 p.m. start time.

At Minnewaska, the B-B-E Jaguars girls' golf team took fourth place with a season-best 372 (18 holes) on Friday afternoon. The conditions were "absolutely perfect" for golf...or just being outside doing anything you wished to do. Peyton Miller led the Jaguars with a score of 88. As a team, the Jaguars beat sub-section rival Ortonville by eight strokes. The Trojans beat out the Jaguars for last year's sub-section title, and I expect this year's sub-section meet to go down to the wire to see who takes first place on May 20. The next action for the girls' golf team is at Greystone Golf Club in rural Sauk Centre on Wednesday.

I chatted with the Jaguars JV fastpitch coach Karl Williams on Friday afternoon and was pleased to hear how well the JH/JV fastpitch seasons are going. Coach Williams reported that the junior high Jaguars are 5-1 overall! Their lone loss was by one run in extra innings to Eden Valley-Watkins. The JV Jaguars are 4-2 overall and have a home game with Paynesville Area on Monday at 4:30 p.m.

In other news: this past week the school districts of Blackduck, Lake Superior, Ogilvie, MACCRAY and Pelican Rapids were all given a "go-ahead" by the Minnesota Department of Education to continue on a four-day school week schedule. I am finding out asap on whether or not B-B-E applied to continue the four-day school week, which we've been utilizing since the 2011-2012.

I have to say the MDE is one of the strangest bodies of work I've had any experience with in my life. They spout on and on about "four-day week not boosting learning" - okay, MDE bureaucrats, do you have any clue what you're talking about? Were you dropped on your heads as young children? Do you know that schools on five-day weeks aren't "boosting learning" either? How incompetent are you? Are you suggesting that any innovation that a school tries that doesn't magically increase test scores should be automatically dropped?

I've said it over and over again and I'll say it another time: the four-day week isn't glamourous. It's not wonderful. It's not a perfect solution. It's not all peaches. It's also not terrible. It doesn't shorten the amount of education during the school year. (In fact, it increases the actual time students are in the desks in the classrooms between September 1 and June 1.) It's a tool that schools like B-B-E have used to innovate. Has it helped the budget? Sure it has. That's just one component of why it's been in place these past few years. If the school board at B-B-E heard from students / parents / teachers when we re-applied in 2014 that we should end the four-day week, they would've dropped it like a hot potato.

The four-day week is like one of a farm's bigger tractors. It's a tool used to get the work done. It's not a tractor that you would say is flashy or the best-tractor-ever. You could trade that tractor in for a different model, but you'd need a really good reason to do that. A farmer doesn't just trade tractors on a whim. He or she needs a long list of reasons why it should happen, or one or two big reasons it should happen (mechanical problems, etc.) A school district shouldn't have to jump because MDE says they should jump. That's foolish at best.

The fact is that test scores are going to either go up or down because of a laundry list of reasons that have nothing to do with the five-day or four-day school week structure. The fact that students at five-day schools all over Minnesota are seeing test scores drop does not lead me to say "Whoah!! They need to get rid of their five-day week! Their test scores are not improving! Their five-day week must go!!" What an outlandish statement. How about we let school boards decide what to do!! You know, the local people who actually have to stand for election in front of taxpayers / voters of a school district!!! Hey, MDE, you really think that you know more about rural school districts than their elected school boards? How arrogant are you?

The MDE should rename themselves to the "anti-innovation education department" who specializes in hammering rural school districts. The fact that you've sent the four-day schools into limbo since last May 12, 2014 was an unforgivable act. Now that you see the Legislature acting to remove your authority and send it to local school boards, now you decided to act? FAIL! You don't deserve your jobs, especially Governor Dayton and MDE Commissioner Casselius. All you do is lie and twist your precious data in ways that suits your political agenda. Chewing up rural schools and the students they serve only to coddle your political self-esteem is a shameful, callous act.

End rant.

In other news: the B-B-E FFA Garden Center opens for business on Wednesday, May 6. The FFA Garden Center will be open weekdays from 12:00 to 6:00 and Saturdays from 9:00 to 3:00. Come support your local FFA Chapter!

In other news: the B-B-E 5-6th grade students will be putting on "Gotta Be Jazz" on Wednesday, May 6 at 2:30 p.m. It is a set of songs that incorporates choreography and singing. It has comical speaking parts about jazz history and how it connects to our current music! The sixth grade band will also be playing a couple of fun tunes, including a trombone feature and many section solos! Please come and support B-B-E Music!

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