Sellner presents STEM initiative to Dist. 84 board

SLEEPY EYE – A Sleepy Eye Public School board member who works as a systems control specialist at Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing (3M) Company in New Ulm presented details of a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) initiative coming to the middle school next month.

“I’m excited. It’s a big deal,” board member Bryan Sellner said about the 3M MecLab Trainer program, a partnership with 3M plants in New Ulm, Fairmont, Alexandria and Hutchinson, the 3M Giving Foundation, Alexandria Technical & Community College. The program is designed to give students real life factory and assembly training situations.

Sellner said the program was created by 3M due to a decline in the number of technical and trades crafts in rural areas to support factory technology changes. He said 10 hands-on, MecLab trainers will be placed in the hands of Sleepy Eye Public School 7th and 8th grade STEM class students.

MecLab packages include a CD-Rom with instructions on how to connect stations to a computer and write simple programs. Text includes the fundamentals of pneumatics, electrical engineering, electrical actuators, sensors and control technology.

Sellner is assisting with curriculum clarification and helping students use the trainers that will be moved from school to school and used as instructors see fit. The trainers will be serviced and stored at 3M plants during the summer.

“It’s good, hands-on learning to bridge the gap between students and manufacturing,” Sellner said. “Guest speakers, videos, additional software and curriculum are part of the $100,000 pilot program funded by the 3M Giving Foundation. There is no school cost.”

The board approved:

A salary negotiations update from board member Casey Coulson. He said the negotiations committee and the Sleepy Eye teacher’s union are “a long ways apart.” While the union agreed on a 5.8 percent total package increase over two years at the table, teachers voted it down and are seeking an 11.4 percent, two-year hike, Supt. John Cselovszki said.

“That (11.4 percent raise) would cost us another $300,000,” Cselovszki said.

“And really cut into our (financial) reserves,” Coulson said with more than a dozen faculty members at the meeting.

Resignations from head tennis coach Bradd Goede, assistant wrestling coach Randy Netzke and approved hiring Dan Nelson and Karlie Kahlmeier as junior high boys and girls basketball coaches respectively @ $1,946.

An LPN agreement with Tina Cunningham to serve a special education student according to IEP; Maria Longoria as special ed. para, 6.5 hours/day @ $9.93/hr., and Alyssa Stevensen as Spring Musical technical director @ $1,833.

An anonymous donation of $1,064.81, half to 2nd grade, half to 4th grade; Lions Club $1,000 donation for Biz Town program transportation for Sleepy Eye Public School and St. Mary’s School; and a $500 anonymous donation for elementary library books.

Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at

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