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Lifelong Learning

March 11, 2003 Meeting Notes

School Naming Task Force
Moorhead Area Public Schools
7:30 p.m. March 11, 2003

Members Present:

Matt Naugle,
Sandee Rasmussen,
Steve Scheel,
Carol Ladwig,
Brad Holschuh,
Lauri Winterfeldt-Shanks,
Lyn Dwyer,
Denise Paulson,
Maggie Rousseau,
Bryce Haugen,
Mark Meister,
Jeanne Aske.

Members Absent:

Roger Erickson and Jeff Offutt.

Guest:

Ted Rozeboom, Rozeboom Miller Architects, and Dr. Paul Dovre.

District Representative:

Dr. Larry P. Nybladh, superintendent, and Pam Gibb, communications coordinator.

Call to Order

Aske called the meeting to order.

Minutes

Task force members reviewed the minutes. Hearing no additions or corrections the minutes stand as written.

Presentation: Dr. Paul Dovre

Dr. Paul Dovre presented the task force members with information about Robert Asp, former teacher and builder of the Hjemkomst. Asp started teaching for the district in 1953, and he eventually became a school counselor. He continued to teach until his death from cancer in 1980.

Asp is known for building the Viking ship, named Hjemkomst, the Norwegian word for "homecoming." The ship was sailed to Norway in 1982, after Asp's death. In 1988, the school was named to honor Robert Asp.

Dovre told the task force that he believed the school was named for Robert Asp because of his qualities of character, because of his achievements that extended beyond the community into the region, nation and world, and because he inspired people to dream with imagination and act with boldness and courage. It took Asp six years to build the ship. He was diagnosed with leukemia about halfway through the project. Qualities such as creativity, determination and commitment enabled him to keep the project going. Because he inspired people to dream and act with boldness and courage, the "dare to dream" idea has become the slogan of Robert Asp. Dovre shared handouts with the task force members.

Presentation: Ted Rozeboom, Rozeboom Miller Architects

Ted Rozeboom, Rozeboom Miller Architects, shared with the task force information about how the architects worked to combine the philosophical concepts for the building with the architectural concepts. The schools are designed with smaller learning communities, either grade level combinations or department combinations. Spaces needed to provide for more collaboration between faculty and a variety of learning settings for small groups, large groups and resource areas.

Rozeboom said that architectural concepts considered were the physical location in the Red River Valley, especially the flat, endless horizon. The architects wanted to establish a sense of place or sense of arrival upon reaching the school. To do this, factors such as sun and wind exposure were considered. For instance at the middle school, a plaza with a boulder garden will be developed near the main entrance. This came from the idea that the school is being built where the bottom of Lake Agassiz once was. Native materials will be used in landscaping around the schools.

At the new elementary school, the wedge shapes of each area, besides hiding mechanical units, allow for contrast in materials between different areas of the building. Nybladh told the committee members that the two remodeled elementary schools will have the same concepts with smaller learning communities. Also, with the outside curtainwall replaced, the outer appearance will be updated.

There was question regarding whether it would be possible to suggest names for streets near either of the two new schools.

Decision Making and Consensus Building

Dr. Nybladh presented information related to decision making and consensus building. The task force is using a rational decision-making process where the first steps are to recognize the problem and determine a course of action. The next step is establish evaluation criteria. In the case of the task force the next steps are to establish the process and criteria for reviewing names and determine if there is additional information needed.

Nybladh also spoke about the information overload phenomenon, determining if consensus is reached and that group members "can live with the decision," and levels of decision making. Groupthink is where the desire to reach consensus and group pressure for conformity prevent the group from critically reviewing unusual, minority or unpopular views. Groupshift happens when the group decision shifts toward a view held by an individual group member.

A handout regarding nominal group technique was shared with the committee. Nybladh explained that this technique restricts discussion during the process. Nybladh also explained a process where individuals choose the top 10 or the bottom 10 from the list. Two people then come to consensus over their list, then four come to consensus, and so on. Another option is to use an evaluation matrix and give each suggestion a numerical score. Some of these processes will not allow the ability to come to consensus because there are not opportunities for discussion. It was discussed that the task force needs to determine the criteria and process they wish to use for the decision making.

School Name Suggestions

Task force members were given copies of the school name suggestions to review. During the Feb. 24-March 10 submission period, 228 suggestions were received. Suggestions were divided into categories "All Buildings/Any School," "District education center in current Probstfield building," "Moorhead High School," "New Middle School," "All Elementary Schools/Any Elementary School," "Remodeled Elementary School in Current Robert Asp Building," "Remodeled Elementary School in Current Junior High Building," and "New Elementary School." It was discussed that these are just suggestions and the task force may not choose anything on the list. At the next meeting, task force members will discus additional information needed and discuss and/or develop a process to use for the decision making.