|School calendar policy up for review|
|Written by Brenda Johnson Brandt|
Because Holyoke School District’s school calendar policy has been waived repeatedly in past years, the school board has discussed a new policy.
Details for the policy revision were reviewed at the Jan. 20 board meeting, and the policy will be up for approval Feb. 1.
On Nov. 19, 1996, Policy I-1.0 “Yearly School Calendar” was adopted, noting “The number of days scheduled for students shall not be less than 180 days.”
Board president Dan Kafka noted the 180-day timeline is a rigid policy that’s been waived for a number of years. He emphasized it’s bad policy governance to continue to waive the same policy.
Additionally, as Holyoke continues to build calendars with other districts, such as Haxtun, in coordinating distance learning classes, it’s nice to have flexibility in the calendar. The rigidity of 180 days does not allow needed flexibility.
Supt. Bret Miles said it is the administration’s intent to put together two calendar options for 2011-12 which are similar to the current year’s calendar.
The proposed policy for the district focuses on instruction time. It says, “The number of hours/days of planned teacher-student instruction and of teacher-student contact shall be consistent with the board’s definition of ‘actively engaged in the educational process.’”
Additionally, that number shall meet or exceed the requirements of state law and shall include a sufficient number of days to allow the superintendent flexibility in preparing a calendar that supports the district’s educational objectives.
In the policy, the board defines “actively engaged in the educational process” as time when students are working toward achieving educational objectives under the supervision of a licensed teacher, including:
—classroom instruction time.
—individual student work time while at school, including study hall and library research.
—school-related field trips.
—independent study insofar as such study is allowed under district policy.
“Actively engaged in the educational process” shall not include:
—time students spend before school waiting for classes to begin and time after the last class of the day, including waiting for the bus.
—teacher preparation time.
—passing periods between classes.
Board member Laura Krogmeier said she likes the paragraph which states supervision by a licensed teacher shall not require the teacher be in the student’s physical presence at all times. It requires the teacher is exercising direction and control over the nature of the student’s activities.
The new calendar policy proposal cites calendars shall include the dates for all staff in-service programs for the upcoming school year. The administration shall allow public input from parents and teachers prior to scheduling those in-service dates.
Colorado State law establishes the school year as 1,080 hours of planned teacher-student instruction for secondary school students, 990 hours for elementary students other than kindergartners and 900 hours for a full-day kindergarten program.
The law says these hours can be reduced to 1,056, 968 and 870 for parent/teacher conferences, staff in-service and closings necessary for student health, safety or welfare. Schools can’t schedule fewer than 160 days without specific prior approval of the Commissioner of Education.
Science teacher hired
Starting Jan. 31, Jessica Watkins will be replacing Tracy Trumper in the HHS science department.
The board accepted Trumper’s resignation from her life science teaching position, as well as assistant HS track coaching post, effective Feb. 1.
Trumper has accepted a position as a CSU extension agent in the area of consumer and family sciences.
Watkins and Trumper are scheduled to work together the week of Jan. 24 to assist in the teacher transition.
Watkins graduated last month from Mesa State College in Grand Junction, earning a degree in biology. She student taught biology and chemistry at Fruita Monument HS last semester.
Previously, Watkins attended NJC in Sterling, earning an associate’s degree in biology/chemistry in 2008.
In other personnel matters at last week’s meeting, the board hired Laura Beth Schroetlin as a long-term substitute teacher aide to cover the maternity leave of Sharon Floripe Hernandez.
Several coaching assignments for the current school year were also approved by the Re-1J board. They include Dan Ortner, volunteer HS/JH wrestling; Marcus Kammer, assistant HS baseball; Dusty McConnell and Brett Gerk, volunteer HS baseball; and Luke Thomas, assistant JH track.
Area-wide school boards communicate
Local school board members reported on the Jan. 4 area-wide school board meeting involving Northeast BOCES schools.
Issues facing education in general were addressed, and concerns and solutions were identified.
Jeff Tharp said it was interesting to see the common problems shared by area boards. “We felt good about the direction we’re headed,” he added.
BOCES is looking for ways to facilitate collaboration and cooperation to help individual districts. Kafka added one or two districts will have to step forward to take the lead.
Supt. Miles noted when the whole Northeast BOCES is put together, it’s the size of the Windsor School District. “We have to start finding ways to get the same efficiencies as larger school districts,” he added.
In other business at the Jan. 20 meeting, the Re-1J board:
—accepted nonresident student Theresa Agnew, coming to Holyoke Alternative High School from Fleming High School.
—reviewed a 2012 budget development timeline as prepared by Supt. Miles, as well as a quarterly financial report. Miles noted there were no real surprises in the financials.
—approved application for Type V substitute teaching authorization in behalf of Denise Bailey.
—designated the administration office as the official posting location for meeting notices.
—held a one-hour executive session at the close of the meeting for an informal superintendent’s evaluation.
—acknowledged appreciation for donations of both expertise and money for the Every 15 Minutes program coordinated by Holyoke FCCLA.
Monetary donations were received from Heginbotham Trust, Holyoke Fire Department, Terry and LaVonne Andersen and Colorado Dept. of Transportation.
Expertise was appreciated from Victims Assistant Shawna Bergstrom; Holyoke Police Department, Doug Bergstrom; communications, Bob Heldenbrand; Sheriff Rob Urbach; Holyoke Fire Department; Melissa Memorial Hospital and EMT crew, Sharon Greenman; Gerk Funeral Home, Brad and Chris Gerk; and Haxtun T-shirt Shop, Margo Sauder.