School board discusses changes to elementary and middle school learning models


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The school board of education met for a special meeting to discuss possible changes in elementary and middle school schedules.

Ellie Stucky, Editor

The USD 266 Board of Education met for a special meeting to discuss and consider changes to the district’s learning models yesterday. 

The board voted on two motions last night. One of which was to direct superintendent Chad Higgins to modify the reopening plan to discontinue remote learning Wednesdays for the elementary schools beginning in the second quarter. The other was to direct Higgins to modify the reopening plan allowing sixth graders to attend school four days a week beginning in the second quarter. Sixth graders would go to school Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Wednesday would continue to be a remote day.

Board member Kate Doerksen kept the rising COVID-19 cases plus the colder weather in mind as the board spoke of the motion to get sixth graders back to school.

“The only problem is you’re running into this really bad holiday season and closing up the doors,” Doerksen said. “I suspect the conversation we might be having in January is full remote [school] just because I think we might go into the red after the holiday season.”

Member Farris Jibril focused on the student and parent comments and concerns.

“In my opinion, four days is better than two,” he said. “It elevated some of the concerns from parents needing to go back to work, from even an older sibling taking care of a younger sibling, so there [are] multiple factors in this, not just four days versus [two] days and consistency.”

Shannon Edwards, another member of the board, brought up the conversation about sixth graders getting back to school. She said her input was mainly based on many parent comments and much of the community as a whole wanting kids in school more.

“I looked at it as kind of a compromise,” Edwards said. “I also think another way to look at this, if we are wanting to transition back to kids being [to school] more often, it does kind of make sense to see how it works with one group and work out some logistics.”

Board member Bruce Nicholson agreed that the community and many parents of students are voicing their opinions, hoping to get kids to school, and he said he supports their opinions.

“They’re asking for more and I think that’s our goal,” Nicholson said. “To get as many kids in school as we can and I think this is an opportunity to get the sixth grade in, which is a younger group and probably the ones that need it the most.”