Excelsior Rotary Meeting on August 18, 2020 with Guest Speaker Minnetonka Superintendent Dr. Dennis Peterson
President Kate Wilinski called the Zoom Club Meeting to order with 20 members in attendance.  Dr. Tyronne Carter was the Opening Marshal and led us in the Pledge and 4-Way Test. 
Tim Litfin introduced our speaker Dr. Dennis Peterson, Minnetonka Superintendent of Schools by saying that Dr. Peterson has been superintendent since 2001 and has helped our district and its students to become the top school in Minnesota and in the top tier in the nation.  Tim said that “Minnetonka is a great place to work” and that Dr. Peterson is a tireless worker.
Dr. Peterson open his remarks by saying that he has been a Rotarian for 40 years and always enjoys coming to speak to our club because of the unique leadership of our club members. He noted that this year is the most unusual ever to plan for and the School Board adopted a hybrid plan from a list of 7 options on August 7th to deal with school opening this fall.  Our district was better prepared than most because on 9-12th graders all had iPads last spring when the pandemic hit and the district was able to swing into e-learning or distant learning immediately and teachers were able to adapt instruction quite well.  A number of committees met all summer in preparation for the fall opening in anticipation of the Governor’s guideline’s for on-site and remote learning.   Basically the hybrid plan overview is:
The District's plan honors the state’s recommendations to have younger students in class as much as possible, and it recognizes that secondary level students are more equipped to be self-sufficient in e-learning, so there will not be as much of a time commitment from parents to assist with e-learning.
  • Students and staff in grades K-3 will be in their home schools every  day at the same times as in past years.
  • Students in grades 4-5 will be relocated to the high school building and will be assigned rooms throughout the school. Students in those grades from all elementary schools will be at the high school for four days per week. One day per week, Wednesday, will be virtual. Their starting time will be roughly 8:00-8:10 a.m.
  • Students in grades 6-8 will remain in their respective middle schools, with half of the students coming in two designated days each week and alternating with the other half of the student body for two opposite days. One day per week, Wednesday, will be virtual for all, with opportunities for individual students to access assistance and support. Middle school times will remain the same as in past years.
  • Students in grades 9-12 will be virtual for four days per week. One day per week, Wednesday, students may come to Minnetonka High School for MAST and for some in-building classes with elements that cannot be easily done at home (such as labs, MOMENTUM, Minnetonka Research, VANTAGE and more). There will also be other help sessions and opportunities to meet in person or virtually with counselors and social workers.
  • In all grades, the District will honor IEPs and 504s, and provide additional support for our students who receive special education services and for other students who need a higher level of support.
  • Social distancing will be enforced at all times in our school buildings, and masks will be required for everyone, unless the student or staff member meets an exemption requirement.  
Dr. Peterson ended by saying that Minnetonka Schools will continue to prepare options for additional hybrid or fully open options that could be used as health conditions improve, as well as the possibility of another closure. Because of the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the District's plan may shift throughout the year. At that point he opened the floor to Q&A.
Club Announcements:
  • Bob Boyer Birthday is on August 20th and that our club’s wheelchair is now in full use by Opportunity Partners and they are thrilled to have the use of it. 
  • President Kate called on Steve Frazier to give a Golf Fundraiser update and he told members that he had sent them an email that morning outlining three important deadlines and to get Hole Sponsorships in by August 31st, Auction items in by Friday, August 21st to John  Ferm’s business, “Rare Coins” at 449-2nd Street in Excelsior and to fill out the on-line information for the virtual auction starting on September 1st, and that we still need golfers! 
  • Kate called on Dick Glover to discuss how we will deliver the STRIVE Program for Minnetonka H.S. Seniors and Dick noted that the mentors will meet with the principal and come up with either a meet in person after school plan or some type of Zoom experience.
  • Karen Frazier outlined two options for the September Highway Clean-up:  Option One is to have members sign-up for an area and do it at their own convenience any time during the 3rd week in September and bags could be picked-up at John Ferm’s Rare Coins Shop.  Option Two is to Meet at McDonalds using social distancing and clean on a designated day.  Karen will get back to members after she hears from MN /DOT about their guidelines.
  • Molly Swenson is planning on a Happy Hour event at Maynard’s and details will be forthcoming!
Upcoming Club Programs:
  • Sept 1st – Board of Directors Meeting followed by South Lake Police Chief Mike Meehan
  • Sept. 15th – Golf Event
  • Oct. 6th- Board of Directors Meeting followed by new member Jill Holter’s Bio
  • Oct. 20th – District Governor Tom Gump
New Member Induction by Tim Litfin:
  • Jill Holter – Mom of 6 children, ICA’s Community Relation Director, Grad from Minnetonka and U of M, loves food and preparing it.
  • James Gresham – Mtka. resident, 3 grown children, retired, has a farm in Iowa, loves boating and wants to get involved in the community.
Tyronne ended the meeting showing a photo of children in his STEM Program and how the program survived with the help of the YMCA.