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August 4, 2020

7/7/2020 9:36:00 AM
Highland Board of Education discusses protocols for opening weight room, gym for July

By Janelle Miller
At a special board meeting, Wednesday, June 24, the Highland Board of Education reviewed additional opening school safely plans. Plans will be released and updated as they are rolled out as things are constantly changing and being developed. Recently, the DPI came out with an extensive document with guidelines for the upcoming school year and this summer. Discussed at this meeting was student access for individual therapies and opening of the gym, weight room, cardio room, etc. for student usage.
"School districts are required to provide students with disabilities a free and appropriate education. In accordance with a few students' IEPs, extended school year is a necessary component to ensure longevity in meeting IEP goals," Hendrickson explained. "Students that receive these services are based on a predictive analysis that a student has demonstrated a regression in skills over an extended break. With the events that have occurred starting in March, ESY services are even more so imperative for these kids." A chart and schedule have been devised for students who see a physical therapist, occupational therapist, and/or speech therapist. There are five students who will be getting these services. The therapists and students will be in the building one day a week for six to seven weeks - probably on Tuesday. Therapists will sign themselves up on Sign-up Genius, wear a facemask, and maintain social distancing when possible.
The school will be opening back up to athletes this summer with a predicted date of July 6. Students will be split into two groups of 10 - they will always stay within these groups throughout the summer. There will be three different time slots for access to the athletic services at the school: 6-7:30 a.m. with a 30-minute cleaning break afterwards, 8-9:30 a.m. with another 30-minute cleaning break afterwards, and an afternoon session if there's enough interest. One group will be in the weight room and designated areas in the hallway with the other in the gym and cardio room. Additionally, some equipment will be moved into the Commons to socially distance. Kids will have to sign up on Sign-up Genius and answer a questionnaire while checking in each time such as are you having any symptoms, have you been around anyone with COVID-19, etc. The number of supervisors will be kept to a minimum to keep less traffic in the school. "We have a start; it's nowhere near perfected," stated Highland Athletic Director Lynn Michek. "It's obviously a work in progress. Everything is changing. It [working out] is always voluntary in the summer, especially now."
Updates were made to the coaches and activity handbook. Board member Ken Esser questioned one change to the activity handbook: not allowing students to discuss playing time with a coach. Esser thought this might lead to some disgruntled athletes. Principal Josh Tarrell thought the change was right, but he agreed, as did the other board members and Michek, that it could be worded better. Michek and Tarrell stressed that that type of conversation can be had in a positive, constructive matter - make it about improving instead of specifically playing time. "Students need to understand the importance of the team," Tarrell said. Overall, it was agreed that generally students aren't the problem, parents are. Hendrickson suggested moving inappropriate items for students to talk about to the parents section of the handbook and add a section about students engaging in positive, open communication with coaches. Esser thought this was better, and it alleviated his apprehension. The changes will be made and a final decision made at the July meeting. The coaches handbook changes were minor and were approved - they mostly involved different wording due to COVID-19.
The board passed a settlement agreement and release of claims with WARCO, the school's transportation for students. The agreement was for $16,020. This includes 10 days of transportation during August for the scheduled summer school (if it's cancelled the money will be for maintenance) and monies for additional sanitation measures during the 2020-21 school year to provide a second pickup of town students daily per each route to allow for social distancing on the buses and staggered arrival at the school.
In other business:
• The board approved the resignation of middle school English language arts teacher Scott Boylen. Interviews for his replacement are already underway.
• Waiver requests to DPI for educator effectiveness standard 17 and minutes and hours of instruction requirements were passed. As a charter school, Highland is able to flex hours on instruction, this waiver allows for some potential flexibility in meeting IEP expectations for additional services. Teacher evaluations are required every three years, and Highland does this on a rolling schedule. Two evaluations per year per teacher up for them are required; Highland was only able to get one per teacher in. As teachers were evaluated, the three-year schedule will continue as planned.
• Class of 2020 graduate Grant Hying started his senior project which was a veteran memorial wall. He teamed up with Theresa Aide to design his project. There were two designs in the running for the project, and the board decided to choose the star-themed one (pictured on front page). Cost of the project is estimated around $10,000, so fundraising will need to begin. Hying would have had this done, but due to COVID-19, he was unable to do so. The mural will be on the outside wall of the kitchen as you're heading towards the elementary school. The board approved starting fundraising for the project.
• The board has some money left over from this year. They will put some of the monies in Fund 46 which is the long-term maintenance fund. The balance will then go into fund balance to help cover additional costs next year related to COVID-19. How much goes into each pot will be decided at the July meeting after the books are fully closed out and the board has a little better idea of potential needs for next year. The board will have until July 31 to put money in Fund 46, and it can still count as a 2019-20 expense.
The next regular board meeting is set for Wednesday, July 8 at 6 p.m. This will be a virtual meeting.

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