By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
Board members at Chase County Schools will discuss further a request from two elementary teachers who want to team-teach a kindergarten class next school year.
The request from Jacci Paisley and Ashley Exum came to the board at their Feb. 10 meeting. Paisley currently teaches kindergarten and Exum is a second grade teacher.
Supt. Brad Schoeppey said he didn’t think he should take action himself on the request since he will not be at CCS in 2015-16, so brought it before the board for discussion.
Both teachers indicated they would like to teach part-time, allowing them more time with their children at home.
The schedule would have one work Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday, and the other Thursday-Friday. The next week, the one who had Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday would take Monday-Tuesday.
Board member Willy O’Neil asked what the effect would be on students with a change in teachers each week.
“In kindergarten, they really don’t know any different, this is their first year,” Exum said.
O’Neil felt students that age do recognize change.
Both said their teaching styles are similar, and classroom discipline guidelines would be given to parents.
They also indicated they would like to team-teach “for quite awhile” and return later as full-time teachers.
Board President Jeff Olsen said coming back full-time would be dependent on whether positions were available, which both said they realized.
Supt. Schoeppey agreed, and said they were aware of that from his initial discussion with them.
Elementary Principal Susie Stewart said she had mixed feelings about their request and has not been in a district before where team-teaching was allowed.
“But, I’m supportive of them because I think their first job is being mothers,” she said. “They’ll do a good job.”
Board member Penny Strand said it wasn’t “a fair scenario” to bring in a full-time teacher to replace them who, later, could be affected by reduction in force (RIF) if it came to that. Tenure is based on total number of years at the school.
The board discussed what action they’d take if other teachers want to do the same thing.
While most of the board thought they could try it for a year and see how it goes, Supt. Schoeppey was directed to review school law on it and they will discuss it further at the March meeting. The board may also consider a policy.
If it gets the okay, the two teachers will earn 50 percent of their salaries, 50 percent of benefits received as full-time teachers and have half the number of personal days.
Supt. Schoeppey said they are planning for three kindergarten classrooms in 2015-16, the same number as the current year. Preschool numbers show 38 prospective kindergartners, he told board members. With others moving to town or not in preschool, he said there’s a possibility of 40-45 kindergartners next year.
Other school board business
Two full-time English Language Learners (ELL) teachers may be in next year’s personnel requests, Supt. Schoeppey said in his report. The two teachers who worked with the ELL program this year, Tom Hansen (full-time) and Virginia Harford (part-time) both resigned their positions at the end of this school year. Another addition he would like to see, if it can be worked into the budget, is an instructional technology person to work directly with teachers on curriculum.
The school’s sportsmanship policy for 2015-16 was reviewed on first reading. It has a slight change to include “all school-sponsored activities.” Supt. Schoeppey noted in its current format, it appears to refer to “sportsmanship” only at NSAA-sponsored activities, which include only grades 9-12. By adding all activities it will cover any school-sponsored event. Board members also passed a number of other policies after second reading dealing with the superintendent’s contract, duties, compensation/benefits and evaluation.
The school’s wellness policy with an addition regarding homemade foods passed on second reading. A major change in the policy comes under the “sharing of foods and beverages” section which now eliminates bringing homemade or home-baked foods into all K-12 classrooms, citing concerns with food-borne illnesses and allergies. While that didn’t draw much discussion this month, board member Sheila Stromberger said she’d like to discuss next year the time allowed for students to eat lunch.
Reroofing the last section of the school’s roof will be done this summer. The board approved a $313,000 proposal from Heartland Roofing. That is up from a $300,000 estimate given the school two years ago, Supt. Schoeppey said.
In Troy Hauxwell’s report to the board, he said CCS will be returning to Bayard for the C11 district track meet May 14. He indicated the NSAA promised it would be in Imperial in 2015, but officials then said it would be too far for schools such as Gordon/Rushville to travel. Chase County has a good shot in 2016, he said. Hauxwell added, unfortunately, the NSAA doesn’t look at the entire year of travel required of schools like CCS for post-season contests. This week and next, Chase County could be making as many as five trips to Alliance for subdistrict basketball games. Chase County also had to travel to Alliance for volleyball subdistricts this school year.