The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

September 18, 2013

Board hesitates at early dismissals

By Amy Kent Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald

---- — FULTON, Ill. — The River Bend School District will see two additional early dismissal days in the 2013-14 school year to allow for necessary required training sessions for teachers in all three schools of the district.

Administrative staff at Fulton High School, River Bend Middle School and Fulton Elementary School approached the River Bend School Board on Monday about implementing the additional early release days on Oct. 16 and Nov. 20.

The recommendation came with some hesitation from board members, who felt the school district has already had too many early dismissals at the start of this school year.

“My concern is the instructional time we’re losing as we continue to add more and more time off,” board member Nick Crosthwaite said. “My second concern is that teacher work time is being used in a valuable manner.”

River Bend School District Superintendent Chuck Holliday said the recommendation came after a meeting with the Lee-Ogle Regional Office of Education Professional Development coordinator and a review of the training requirements the district’s administration and teachers would need to do in addition to other yearly responsibilities.

Because of that, the administrative staff felt they needed the extra days to stay on top of their regular requirements and now the additional training from the ROE.

River Bend Middle School Principal Kathleen Schipper said although she and Fulton High School Principal Chris Tennyson are on schedule for their teacher training and planning sessions, these additional training requirements could put them behind their anticipated completion time.

“In Chris and I’s building, we’re meeting next week to begin some of that and the ROE is coming out next week to help lead our different groups but then we won’t have time again as a school and a staff until January, because the October one we’re already doing some mandated training,” Schipper said. “We just feel we’ll lose steam, and we need to give the teachers some time to work on the information that we need to work on.”

Although the board did not unanimously agree on adding the two additional days to the early dismissal list, it did pass, with the stipulation that the administration staff of all three schools create a list of what programs the teachers will be training on during the two extra days.

“I’m more interested on what we’re going to do on these additional half days,” board member Eric Fish said. “I would like to have a schedule of these half days of what we’re going to do, by school, what the objectives are, that we’re going to touch common core. Because we’re taking these kids out of school, and I don’t think that’s right.”