As part of the recent decision to hold off on expanding the Dual Language program to McFarland Middle School, the school board asked staff at the school to begin researching the possibility of hiring a full-time Spanish teacher. At the Monday, April 8, school board meeting principal Dennis Adams said he was excited to explore the possibilities the new classes would open and presented some of the school's findings to the board. Currently, the plan offered by MMS would begin offering a full-time class for sixth-grade students who meet certain requirements, including a full year of class time in fifth grade level dual language. In addition, students would need to meet grade level reading requirements. The class would be offered at first in the 2013-14 school year and then made available to seventh graders in 2014 and finally, eighth graders in 2015. Adams said the school also plans to offer either a nine or 18-week course as an enrichment elective for those students interested in the foreign language or are unable to take the yearlong course. MMS counselor Kathy Anderson told the board this class would be an option for students who didn't meet the fifth grade DL requirement or looking for a different choice for an elective. Adams said the goals of both versions of the class are to enhance Spanish speaking and writing abilities, introduce students to Spanish literature and improve students' cultural awareness of the people who speak the language.
Lutacaga seeking data for new dual language students Lutacaga Elementary School principal Aurora Garza told the board they've sent home letters with students to get an idea of how many new kindergarteners will be attending the school next year. With feedback from the letters Garza and school staff hope to determine how many new students will register and help them make decisions in preparing the staff for the now all-DL classes. The biggest factor in determining if a student can attend the DL school is if families live in the school's designated boundaries. Parents interested in having their children attend the school can ask its staff what it will take in the upcoming kindergarten roundup scheduled for April 16 and 18 at Scooteny Springs Elementary School from 4 to 7 p.m. Garza expects approximately three quarters of new students to register during the roundup.
Board approves new technology plan Assistant superintendent Gina Bullis and other school district staff have been working on a new technology plan, which the Office of Superintendents of Public Instruction requires districts to update every three years. She proposed the new policy to the board and said it mostly has to do with enhancing the district's networking infrastructure. The updated plan focuses on enhancing telecommunications infrastructure along with the district's websites and Bullis said it would be a "living, breathing document" district staff could modify as their needs change. The plan also mandates district staff are to use the technology at their disposal to its maximum potential and board President Rob Simmons said that was a bold statement. The board voted 4-0 to approve the plan and Bullis said she'd keep them updated in the near future. The board also voted 4-0 to table a proposed agreement to establish a framework for the school and city to use either entity's facilities. The board had reservations with a certain part of the agreement that mentioned the city would get priority to use the school's facilities. The board would also like to add an item explicitly stating the city would not be able to charge attendance and make revenue from any events using the district's facilities.