School board hears impact statements regarding AP and CIS classes

Published 8:32 pm Monday, October 18, 2021

At its business meeting Monday night, the Albert Lea school board saw a video that had testimonials from current Albert Lea teachers and former students about the positive impact of College in School and Advanced Placement courses. 

Should the referendum on the ballot on Nov. 2 fail to pass, the district has named the CIS and AP courses as potential areas that may need to be cut. 

Therese Netzer, who teaches both CIS and AP courses, said the courses are essential for Albert Lea students to be a step ahead when they reach college.

“Both of these classes are really powerful for students because they offer high school credit, but also college credit at the same time,” Netzer said in the video presentation. “… It’s really a great opportunity for our students to be able to get their high school material, but also get actual college material and be one step ahead of their peers and their classmates then they go out post-secondary options.”

Students in CIS courses are awarded college credit if they receive a passing grade in the class. Students in AP courses are awarded college credit if they take and pass an exam at the end of the course. 

Jaeda Koziolek, a 2021 Albert Lea graduate, said both CIS and AP courses made her transition to college a smooth one, while saving her and her family money in the process. 

“It’s been a really comfortable transition,” Koziolek said in the video. “I’m feeling confident about graduation in the next couple years, and I’ll even be graduating early because of my CIS credits. I’m considered a sophomore at the University of St. Thomas, where I go to college. That is saving me $60,000 just this year.”

In a slideshow prepared for the board, Superintendent Mike Funk showed that under the assumption that colleges charge $202 per credit (Riverland’s per credit cost) students and families saved a cumulative of over $456,000 in the 2019 graduating class, $501,000 in the 2020 graduating class and $442,000 in the 2021 graduating class.

Funk also noted that the CIS and AP courses were only a potential cut. The final cuts that would need to be made if the referendum does not pass are still to be determined.

In other action, the board:

  • Heard a COVID update from director of administrative services Kathy Niebuhr. In the update, Niebuhr reported that the district had only seven active cases as of Monday morning and had no new cases reported from the weekend. 
  • Heard from eight community members in the newly expanded public forum. Community members varied on the topics they brought to the board. One member of the public stated masking was not the solution that would help school children, adding that their son was taken out of school despite testing negative for COVID-19. 

Another speaker called for a board member to resign after language used at a previous meeting, as well as for a thorough investigation to take place regarding the school’s administration. 

Two of the speakers thanked the district staff and administration for their work throughout the pandemic and into this school year. 

  • Heard the second reading of the wellness policy and student medication policy. 


About Tyler Julson

Tyler Julson covers sports for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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