NPHS looks at schedule options

Friday, February 20, 2009

North Putnam School Board members heard about several options concerning class scheduling at their Thursday night meeting.

High School Principal Alan Zerkel and Assist. Superintendent Kevin Emsweller presented information about several possible changes that could be made to the current block scheduling at the high school.

Zerkel discussed both positives and negatives for block and traditional scheduling -- looking at ways to keep students in daily contact with teachers as well as allowing teachers to complete projects or laboratories in a single class period.

He explained options for a seven-period day with and without silent sustained reading at the start of the day. He also presented a day without an activity period as well a traditional schedule, block schedule and a combination schedule of three traditional days and two days of block scheduling.

The last option was to continue with the current block eight schedule. Issues of concern with changes include lunch periods and scheduling with Area 30 for students who attend classes there.

Zerkel presented these options to the board after he and Emsweller researched other schools and visited Cascade and Tri-West High Schools, which both had good ISTEP scores this year.

The trip resulted in some ideas about curriculum alignment and data mining of test results as well as a look at the socio-economic changes of the school.

"I wish we could detect more from the data. I would like to see us really dig into all the aspects of the data," said board member Charlie Boller.

An important element they found was the mindset of parents and the expectation that students at Tri-West would be going to college.

"They have this expectation from day one," said NPHS Assist. Principal Scott Spencer.

Superintendent Murray Pride mentioned that it was announced at the February meeting of the State Board of Education that "seat time" restrictions were lifted. This give schools more flexibility in determining how much time students spend in a class

"Each class does not have to be 50 minutes every day. It gives teachers some flexibility. If they need more time for a lab or project they can do that," said Pride.

Zerkel suggested he be allowed some additional time to explore a way to create a combination schedule. He will present this option to the board at the March school board meeting.

Pride informed the board that what he believed to be the June tax draw had been received.

"I'm not absolutely sure that it's the June draw but it appears to be. It's hard to tell from the receipt we received," he said.

The school has not received the December draw and is still about $2 million short of what it expects to receive.

"Until we get the final draw, I can't tell you exactly what's going to happen," he added.

He added that schools are receiving monthly funds from the general fund account.

"We weren't sure exactly what was going to happen in January but it appears it is going to be what we hoped," said Pride.

The board approved the calendar schedule for next year with teachers starting on Thursday, Aug. 13 and students beginning on Aug. 14. The last day is set for May 21 and allows for five snow or weather days. The motion for the schedule passed with a vote of five to one, with Mark Fordice opposed.

The board OK'd a vending contract with Coke for the middle and high schools only. They also required Coke trade out the cooler that is currently in use.

Two fundraisers were approved. One is for the high school PTO to sell final exam survival kits, auction off several reserved seats for graduation and sell NPHS lanyards. The other event is a swim-a-thon to raise money to help offset the cost of practice packs. No door-to-door sales or internet sales are allowed.

In personnel issues, Pride recommended the board deny an extension of unpaid leave for Shane Grimes. It passed with a four to one vote with Charlie Boller voting nay.

They approved the termination of Travis Smith as high school custodian; resignation of Carol Brown as a bus driver; employment of Jared Jeanmotte as high school custodian and Heather Lawson as an instructional assistant at Bainbridge Elementary.

Extra-curricular staff changes include the resignation of Kevin Smith as high school girls' basketball coach; the employment of Ben Wells and Seth Doty as high school assistant baseball coaches; Kevin Lutes as high school girls' head track coach; Brent McColgin as high school girls' assist. track coach; Jim Spencer as high school boys' head track coach; Greg Barrett as high school boys' assist. track coach; Charlie Pingleton as high school volunteer wrestling coach and Andy Beck as volunteer livestock judging coach.

Personal growth leave requests were granted for Amy Scott to attend a Current Concepts in Sports seminar March 6, 7 and 8 in Cincinnati, Ohio; Debbie Carrico to attend the annual state conference in Ft. Wayne in April 16, 17 and 18; and Gayle Hendrich to be a chaperone and judge for the BPA Conference March 8-10 in Indianapolis.

The North Putnam Community School Corporation board meeting takes place on the third Thursday of the month at 7 p.m.

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