Bell schedule change approved by school board
trict’s 2022-23 schedule for the next school year.
Superintendent Ron Lorenz felt the change from a block schedule to a traditional bell schedule would help provide greater continuity and learning retention for kids and benefit instructors as well.
“This will allow our teachers to be more focused on instruction and allow them to cover more material, by them spending less time reviewing coursework. Also, it will reduce the negative impact of student absences. Also, our hope is that by reducing the time spend on one course per day, it will help eliminate boredom or lack of focus,” explained Lorenz.
Another big reason for the proposed change is that the Iowa Department of Education has encouraged the district to provide at least 45 minutes daily of literacy and math instruction as part of the district’s multi-tiered system of supports.
“Since we have been identified as a targeted district, we have to do whatever we can to close those achievement gaps for our students, and this is one of the things we’re going to do to achieve that.”
The board approved the schedule change from block scheduling to a traditional bell schedule.
The board also discussed some changes to the district’s upcoming 2022-23 course description handbook.
Lorenz said the course book was important, because it allows the district to start the course enrollment process.
“One of the big things is that we’ve looked at generating some higher-level course offerings for kids, so we want to provide some advanced placement course offerings. They are contingent on college approval and teacher availability, but as of now, we’re very optimistic that we’ll be able to offer AP language and composition, AP calculus, and AP world history,” Lorenz said.
“The process of getting kids registered, and getting kids signed up for classes is contingent on this, so once it’s approved, our counselors can start meeting with kids and fine-tuning schedules,” commented Lorenz.
The AP courses will Be more rigorous and in-depth, and in order for the students to obtain college credit, the students must take the AP exam. The district is qualified to issue the AP exams, though the district has to prepare by training the teachers, and getting kids enrolled.
“As an example, depending on the test score, they’ll obtain college credit. My son took two classes, and he had to get a 3 on both tests. He got a three on one and a two on another, so he only got credit for one class, so one of the challenges for us is to change people’s thinking. I’m sure we have some students who are reluctant to take more rigorous classes, so we’re looking for ways to honor kids that elect to take these classes,” stated Lorenz.
Also, it’s unknown if the district would have to pay to give the AP tests. Lorenz said they are still early in the process, and it’s a conversation the district’s administration has not had yet. Also, Lorenz said they had two instructors in the district interested in teaching the AP courses who simply needed further training.
One other change was the Minisingers, which was now going to be offered as an elective music course, rather than a side program. This change was due to the shifting from a block schedule to an eight-period school day.
The board approved the changes to the district’s course description handbook as presented.
The board also approved a resolution authorizing the redemption of general obligation school bonds. Lorenz said the resolution was procedural, as action had been taken last year by the board.
“Last spring the board authorized a surplus levy of $4.05 in our FY 2022 budget to levy additional funds to prepay our 2018 general obligation bonds, so when they become callable in 2025, we’ll have the opportunity to buy those down. At that time, we failed to obtain a formal resolution that would be executed and filed with the county auditor,” Lorenz explained.
According to Lorenz, the surplus levy of $145,000 is invested into escrow, and in June, 2025, they can pay down that amount, and continue to do so each year to give the district a bit more flexibility down the road. Lorenz said it was a simple procedural error and was something they were looking to correct.
The board approved the resolution authorizing the redemption of general obligation school bonds.