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Officials still looking at school day make up options

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Officials still looking at school day make up options
Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

School leaders will look into the idea of not extending the school year to make up missed days.

At a Brainerd School Board Curriculum Committee meeting Thursday, committee members asked administration to investigate if there were any extracurricular activities (such as assemblies) that could be canceled and used as student-contact hours instead.

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“Maybe we can look (at those options) before we go through the steps of inconveniencing families (by extending the school year),” said committee member Chris Robinson.

The school district lost five days so far because of the cold weather. The board previously agreed to make up one of those days on Easter Monday. The remaining four days are still in question.

Tim Edinger, president of Education Minnesota Brainerd, said teachers are willing to work with the board in finding a solution.

“Teaching staff will work with the school board and will be as flexible as Gumby to make a schedule that works,” he said.

Though there isn’t a lot of support in bringing students back in the second week in June, he added.

“There’s a concern in attendance,” he said.

Superintendent Steve Razidlo said he thinks June 5 and 6 should be added onto the year, but not extending it into the next week.

Razidlo said he will look into the committee’s request and bring a recommendation before the group at the March 17 meeting.

In other committee news, members:

Heard an update on the Brainerd High School registration guide, which is being revised. Debra Lechner, director of Teaching and Learning, and Andrea Rusk, high school principal, presented a few new courses and guide alterations.

Discussed issues with the current fifth-grade orientation. Because the orientation is not a contractual requirement, some teachers choose not to participate. Funding is also a challenge since the $8,000-$10,000 fee comes from the school’s staff development budget, when those funds could be going to other sources, said school principal Jon Anderson.

Anderson and Lechner suggested the board modify the school calendar for fifth-grade teachers, starting the year off a day early to hold orientation.

Committee members Thursday were concerned with losing a student contact day.

Committee chair Ruth Nelson suggested the group look at alternate funding for the orientation as a solution.

The issue will go before the Finance Committee to consider options.

Approved the fall first and second grades Observation Survey testing be shifted from August to September beginning fall 2014. School officials tested the idea out at Lowell Elementary and received positive feedback.

For now, decisions regarding testing in grades three and four will be decided on at each building.

The vote will go before the full school board for final approval.

Approved the first reading of the staff development policy update. The vote will go before the full school board for final approval.

JESSICA LARSEN may be reached at jessica.larsen@brainerddispatch.com or 855-5859. Follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/brainerdnews.

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