By Naomi Hatch –
“This process has been going on for some time. It has evolved based on new things that have happened that we’ve become aware of,” said Snowflake School District Superintendent Hollis Merrell at the May 10 school board meeting regarding a proposed four-day week at Snowflake High School that would implement a reteach and enrichment program. In the end, the board approved the new schedule, pending approval by the district’s attorney.
Merrell said that they have seen tremendous growth in students and teachers as they have used Beyond Textbooks.
At a May 7 meeting, SHS administrators presented and explained the four-day week to parents.
High school students must attend 1,200 minutes of school per week, so it has been difficult to come up with a way to deal with growing demands by state and federal mandates to increase student achievement at all academic levels.
“Beyond Textbooks is designed to align and prioritize curriculum standards and expectations for students and teachers, and even calendar the delivery of those same standards,” according to a letter available at SHS that explains the proposed changes.
SHS officials want to provide assistance without cutting programs to provide reteach and enrichment opportunities for students, and during the past two years, administrators and staff have been searching for solutions that fit the school, and the community’s expectations, needs and finances.
Merrell asked the board for temporary approval of the changes pending attorney approval and more specific plans.
There was discussion on the issue, with SHS Principal Larry Titus and Assistant Principal Neil Westover answering questions from the board members.
They noted that one important issue is to help the public understand, because they need public support. Titus also noted that they need input, and that if more parents wanted to hear what they presented May 7, “We would be there in a heartbeat.”
The board expressed concern regarding how they would get students to attend reteach sessions, and it was noted that the teachers being there is important.
Westover said that a con would be the time constraint, but stated, “We feel like it would be a disservice to students and staff if we wait another year.”
“We’d like to have more meetings,” said Titus, noting the May 7 meeting was put together quickly and they would like to give more notice for future meetings.
Administrators will be working on details and this will be on the agenda in two weeks, but staff members asked that it be approved to allow them to move forward.
A motion to approve, pending approval of the attorney, passed in a 3-1 vote with John Stewart opposing it.
“I don’t deny it’s a good program for our children,” said Stewart. “I’m just concerned about approving it now before we have details.”