At the February 23 Fillmore Central School Board meeting, Superintendent Heath Olstad asked the board if they would like to continue with the four-period days at the high school in the upcoming school year or change back to eight-period days. For the last seven or eight years, the high school had operated with eight periods in their school day, but that was switched to four periods during the 2020-21 school year. “It’s been more than a success for students needs and staff needs,” Olstad commented, adding that there are pros and cons to each schedule. “I recommend that we stay with the four-period day.” Board member Aaron Bishop asked if there has been a positive change to test scores during this school year. Superintendent Olstad said that there has not, but this year has been very difficult for many students with virtual learning. “It’s like comparing apples to oranges,” he said. The board unanimously agreed to continue with four-period days during the 2021-22 school year.
In her report, Community Education Director Angie Kaase noted that staffing needs for certain programs such as childcare are a big concern. She will continue to work on finding staff for the programs, but if she’s not able to, the board will need to discuss other options.
National FFA week took place from February 20-27 this year. Normally, there would be a lot of educational activities at the school during that week, but this year, a modified schedule had to be implemented due to COVID-19. I Love to Read Month is wrapping up at the elementary school. Dean of Students Chris Mensink noted that the teachers did a great job getting the students excited about it despite the difficulties they’ve faced with distance learning.
Jen Arndorfer was hired as a paraprofessional. Special Education Director Micki Breitsprecher’s contract for the next two school years was approved. Josh Jones was hired as the head baseball coach, Doc Schoepski as the junior high baseball coach, John O’Connor as the head softball coach, Jim Peters as a volunteer, Shelby Ebner as the junior varsity coach, Aaron Mensink as the head girls golf coach, Brad Holten as the head boys golf coach, and Andy Todd as the assistant golf coach. Resignations from One Block at a Time teacher’s aide Megan Drake and paraprofessional Desiree Schlichter were approved.
An open enrollment request from a family that recently moved out of the district was approved.
The board reviewed the 2021-22 school calendar. Superintendent Olstad asked what the board members thought would be the best way to address snow days. Currently, students are allowed one free snow day and subsequent snow days are flex learning days which is different from distance learning as they are more flexible. Olstad noted that he is not in favor of having to add days to the end of the school year. Board member Jim Love felt that distance learning on snow days would be the best option as it would prevent students from missing out on educational time. Deb Ristau thought that may not be fair to teachers who have young kids at home and would have to come up with a distance learning plan at the last minute. “I think the flex learning works. I just don’t know if the distance learning works,” she said, adding that severe weather can also affect internet service making distance learning even more difficult than it already is. The board decided to keep the snow day schedule as it currently is with the option to revisit the matter if there is an excessive number of snow days at some point. The calendar was approved as presented.
The special education extended school year services were approved as proposed by Breitsprecher. A two-week, center-based program will take place for qualifying students this summer. Kelsey Woellert was approved as the ESY special education teacher, and Paula Birch was hired for speech/language services. When the number of students has been finalized, Breitsprecher will make recommendations for hiring paraprofessionals. The board approved the hires and ESY services.
The next Fillmore Central school board meeting will be held on March 23 at 6:30 p.m. in the elementary meeting room.