Local Facebook activity blew up after the St. Regis School Board meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 21, when parents incorrectly thought the school had voted to implement a four-day school week.
“I can’t believe this would happened without more input from the community,” commented one parent. “What’s going on at this school that the administration doesn’t want parent participation?”
However, school district Superintendent Joe Steele assured parents with an online response that the school has not gone to a four-day week.
Misrepresentations were being put forth, he told the Mineral Independent. The Calendar Committee had met and discussed the needs of their staff as they moved forward into the upcoming year.
“Part of this comes from our strategic plan and the review that we did last year,” he said. “We took each of the goal areas down to the board and to the staff to provide feedback on what we are doing well and if we’ve met our objectives. One of the things we found is that teachers need more time to learn how to use personalized learning and develop individualized plans for the students.”
Currently, the school has nine Pupil Related Instruction (or PRI) days. Two are used at the beginning of the year, two are used in October for the teachers-union convention and the rest are divided up among parent-teacher conferences and professional development.
As a result, the Calendar Committee came up with 17 PRI days while continuing to meet the 1080 classroom hours required by the state. With the new calendar, there are two or three weeks, depending on the month, with four-day weeks.
Through public meetings last year, Steele said they know the community is divided about a four-day week. Some parents were concerned about day-care and meal costs, while other parents were in favor of the revamped schedule. Currently, the school has half-days on Friday, but the afternoons are when staff meetings are held and it doesn’t leave enough time for program development.
“We looked at a three-year trend and we are definitely going in the right direction. But the program (Summit Learning Platform) will stagnate if we don’t give our staff time to figure out how to do this,” said Steele.
Some other Friday alternatives are being discussed — for example, extending the after-school program to include Friday hours or extend the Gear Up Program.