Board maps plan to consider changes

By Bryan Richardson

The 2013-14 school year could feature new elements for USD 383 as the Board of Education gears up for discussions on several issues.

The school board approved a schedule Wednesday that details how the board will discuss possible changes to five topics: morning start times, open/closed lunch at Manhattan High, MHS senior early release, MHS schedule and elementary schedule.

Board president Dave Colburn said it’s important for the public to realize that “nothing is decided” on any of the issues. “I don’t have a firm opinion on any of these,” he added.

The schedule goes as follows. It should be noted that a hearing means the public will have a chance to give its take to the board and a decision is amongst the board members.

Sept. 19 — morning start times hearing.

Oct. 3 — open/closed lunch hearing.

Oct. 10 — morning start times decision.

Oct. 17 — open/closed lunch decision.

Nov. 7 — senior early release decision.

Nov. 28 — MHS schedule discussion.

Dec. 5 — MHS schedule hearing.

Dec. 19 — MHS schedule decision.

Jan. 9 — elementary schedule discussion.

Jan. 23 — elementary schedule hearing.

Jan. 30 — elementary schedule decision.

The nature of these discussions will likely involve the following:

* Morning start: MHS starts at 7:40 a.m. The middle schools start at 7:50 a.m. The elementary school day starts at 8:35 a.m. The debate will concern switching the MHS and elementary school start times.

* Open/closed lunch: MHS allows students to leave school for lunch. The board will consider whether to keep campus closed.

* Early release: MHS seniors have the option of not taking first and second periods, sixth and seventh periods, or first and seventh periods during the second semester if they’re on track for graduation and have parent approval. The board will consider adding requirements to early release including attending on-campus college classes or working.

* MHS schedule: MHS currently has seven periods every school day. The board will look at four options: six periods plus a zero hour before school, seven period modified block with late start and academic support days, seven period modified block with a late start day, and the current schedule.

* Elementary schedule: The board will consider providing professional learning time in the schedule at all schools. Only MHS has that crafted into its schedule for teachers.

Tribe Time

While not on the agenda, MHS students and faculty have discussed the benefits of Tribe Time, an advisory period for MHS students that began toward the end of last year. At the school board’s Aug. 16 meeting, board members decided to postpone implementing Tribe Time this year until they heard more information related to a schedule, student data and goals for performance improvement.

Naomi McClendon of the MHS Student Council said it didn’t go that well last year, but they didn’t really have a chance to gain momentum due to when it started.

McClendon said it could be helpful for spreading information including discussions of the anti-bullying initiative, which is new at the high school. “I don’t know how we’re going to get that done with Tribe Time,”she said.

Rachelle Bahr, MHS counselor, said the teachers need Tribe Time to further develop personal relationships with their students. “Our teachers know that in order to get the most out of their students academically, they must also get to know them personally,” she said. “A lot of times at MHS, this is no easy task.”

If approved later in the fall, this school yearís Tribe Time would focus on three initiatives: anti-bullying/safe schools, the connection between education and employment/career readiness and individual student performance.


Salary increases

Classified employees and administrators received raises after the board approved them Wednesday. The pay is retroactive to July 1 and applies to those employed before April 1.

Classified employees received an increase of 25 cents per hour or 3 percent, whichever is greater. Administrator and exempt manager staff received a three percent raise. One-time supplements are being received by MHS ñ West Campus principals, who still are operating with one less principal, and Michele Jones, district communication coordinator, for her work with the Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools grant.


Ogden Elementary honored

The district recognized Ogden Elementary for being identified as a Title I reward school by the Kansas State Department of Education.

This means that Ogden is among the top 10 percent of Title I schools. Ogden received this distinction based on high academic progress. This is an honor shared with two USD 323 Rock Creek schools, Westmoreland Elementary and St. George Elementary, who received it for high performance.

The KSDE identified 66 Title I reward schools as a part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Flexibility Waiver.

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