Cherokee School District Superintendent Dr. John Chalstrom presented three varied school calendar proposals for consideration to the Board of Education Monday night.
Chalstrom advised the Board that he would now present the three calendars to staff members for their input and would recommend one of the calendars at the regularly scheduled March Board meeting.
Woven into the calendar discussions were missed school days - a critical matter on the front burner for most Iowa school districts these days due to the brutal winter weather plaguing the State the past three months.
As missed school days mount up, school districts are faced with making up the days while fighting being forced into extending the school year way into June.
Chalstrom told the Board that some districts either are, or are considering, lengthening the school day (30 minutes per day would take 11 days to comprise one day), attending classes on Saturdays, or tacking missed days on at the end and running into June, where the school year collides with youth summer softball and baseball programs, family vacations, etc.
Longer school days also could mean simply adding minutes onto each class period to total 30 minutes or even 0ne hour for the day.
To date, Cherokee has totaled six missed school days that need to be made up, with three now targeted for scheduled professional development days with an early out. That leaves three more to be added on in June or used during spring break. With March and April winter storms quite common, the District is not out of the woods yet, said Chalstrom. Holding classes on Good Friday to make up one snow day is also an option, said Chalstrom.
Of the three calendars proposed, the first consists of 90 day each semester, with the first semester beginning Monday, August 16 and ending Wednesday, December 22. The second semester would begin Monday, January 3 and end Thursday, May 19. Spring break would be the week of April 18 and there would be one snow day scheduled (February 21).
The second proposed calendar is the same as the past few years, with 90 days each semester and first semester classes beginning Monday, August 16 and ending Wednesday, December 22; and second semester beginning Monday, January 3 and ending Friday, May 20. Spring break would be the week of March 7 and there would be one snow day scheduled (February 21).
The third proposed calendar has 87 days in the first semester and 93 in the second semester. The year starts Thursday, August 19, and the first semester ends Wednesday, Dec. 22. The second semester begins Monday, January 3 and ends Wednesday, May 25. Spring break is the week of March 14, and there is one snow day scheduled (February 21).
If there are no other snow days this year, classes end Thursday, May 27 after tacking on the four remaining missed days. One more missed day would have classes ending Friday, May 28. Any more would then extend the school year into June.
The Board will review the calendars, Chalstrom will review them with staff, and a recommendation will be made at the March meeting.
In other business, the Board approved contracts for Tricia Koster as girls varsity tennis coach and Vickie Freed as 7th-grade girls track and field coach.
The Board also approved a request from James DeVos for students to travel to Houston, Texas for the NASA Space Competition at the Johnson Space Center. That trip is funded by the Cherokee Education Foundation, with most of the trip during spring break.
A Spanish Club trip to Wayne State College in Wayne, Neb. also was approved for instructor Gayle Cedar for Foreign Language Day, at a cost to the District of bus transportation and a substitute teacher.
The Board also approved a property tax levy for Fiscal Year 2011 for the regular program budget adjustment as allowed under Iowa Code, section 257.14.
Washington High School Principal Larry Hunecke advised the Board that attendance was poor at the recent Parent/Teachers Conferences. Hunecke said 23 parents participated in the conferences held from 2-6 p.m., and 18 parents attended the 4-8 p.m. conferences that were wracked by inclement weather. Next year, the conferences will be scheduled from 4-8 p.m. in the WHS gym.
Hunecke also lauded the WHS Jazz Band, which has qualified for the State Jazz Festival in Des Moines in April by winning the Northwest Iowa Jazz Festival in Sioux City. They also won the recent Jazz Festival at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls.
The Jazz Band will play in tonight's WHS Pops Concert at 7 p.m. in the WHS Auditorium.
A Class 2A Regional basketball tournament game will also behosted by WHS tonight.