Core seeking students' help to design co-op's logo

CORSICA -- Still without a mission statement and a logo, the Core Educational Cooperative is looking to its member schools' communities for help. Core Interim Director Valerie Johnson said Thursday the co-op plans to enlist the assistance of area...

School supply photo illustration. (Matt Gade/Republic)
School supply photo illustration. (Matt Gade/Republic)

CORSICA - Still without a mission statement and a logo, the Core Educational Cooperative is looking to its member schools' communities for help.

Core Interim Director Valerie Johnson said Thursday the co-op plans to enlist the assistance of area students to design the organization's logo, and will likely organize a "focus group" as more employees are hired to form a mission statement.

In the coming days, Johnson will send the requirements for the logo to the 12 member school districts, and those districts will then have students in technology classes design what they believe to be the best fit for Core's trademark.

The 12 member districts - Armour, Burke, Colome, Corsica-Stickney, Gregory, Kimball, Mount Vernon, Plankinton, Platte-Geddes, Wessington Springs, White Lake and Wolsey Wessington - make up the majority of the Mid-Central Educational Cooperative's member districts. The Ethan School District is the only Mid-Central member district to not join Core.

In April, the Mid-Central member schools voted to dissolve the cooperative following scandal in tragedy in 2015 that board members felt were insurmountable, including a six-person murder-suicide involving the group's then-business manager and assistant business manager.


"We want to get to the heart of education and serving students," Johnson said. "I think it would be a really nice gesture to put it out that way - it gets our students involved from all of the districts."

The Core board hopes to have designs submitted by the next regularly scheduled meeting March 9, so it can begin creating letterheads and other day-to-day necessities.


Also at Thursday's regularly scheduled monthly meeting, Core board members and district superintendents discussed the co-op's potential involvement with a distance education program.

Dial Virtual School, a statewide program operated out of Mid-Central, was instituted in 2002 and provides "high quality distance learning classes to over 6,400 class enrollments throughout South Dakota," according to the Mid-Central Educational Cooperative website. Dial offers courses ranging from English, science and math to business, creative writing and graphic design. Mid-Central currently serves as Dial's "financial agent," meaning it handles the fiscal affairs of the organization.

When Mid-Central dissolves in June, Core could take over those responsibilities, but some Core members are skeptical of the opportunity.

Pat Mikkonen, Mount Vernon School District superintendent, said if the Core co-op decides to get involved with the Dial program, its board members must be "crystal clear" on what Core's role is and what Dial employee's roles are with Core.

And Burke Superintendent Erik Person agreed.


Hesitant to make similar mistakes to the Mid-Central Co-op that Core intends to replace, Person said any programs Core is involved in must not be taken lightly and members must be aware of its happenings at all times.

"One of big problems in Mid-Central with GEAR UP, in my opinion, is it was something that had nothing to do with us. I've said all along, 'Let's not get involved with something that does not directly benefit our member schools,' " Person said. "Dial is a direct benefit to our schools. But also if we are attached to it in any shape, we have to have our finger on the pulse of that all the time."

Four Dial board of directors members also serve on the Core Educational Cooperative superintendent advisory committee. Those members are Wessington Springs Superintendent Lance Witte, Kimball School District Superintendent Jeff Rieckman, Corsica-Stickney Superintendent Scott Muckey and Platte-Geddes Superintendent Joel Bailey.

The board plans to continue discussions about Dial at its upcoming monthly meetings.

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