School Board adopts accountability statement, sets school calendar

By: 
Scott Bestul

In one of the briefest sessions in recent memory, the Rushford-Peterson School Board approved revised language to the school’s accountability policy, they also reviewed and approved the calendar for the 2020-21 school year.

Accountability policy

In recent months, the board has been reviewing revisions to the district’s accountability policy, which focuses “public education strategies on a process which promotes higher academic achievement for all students and ensures broad-based community participation in decisions regarding the implementation of the Minnesota Academic Standards and federal law.”

The rather lengthy document basically outlines the district’s policy to adhere to state graduation requirements and academic standards. Among the language changes incorporated into the document are guidelines for setting school district goals and establishing a system for reviewing all instruction and curriculum. The document also establishes an advisory committee that will review the district’s instructional and curriculum plan, identify goals and recommend them to the school board.

The policy also described the possible makeup of the advisory committee which should “When possible, be comprised of at least two-thirds community representatives and shall reflect the diversity of the community…..and shall reflect the diversity of the school district and its school sites and include teachers, parents, support staff, and other community residents. Included in its membership should be: principal, school board member, student representative, one teacher from each instructional level, two parents from each building or instructional level.” The board voted unanimously to approve the accountability policy as revised.

School calendar  

The board reviewed the proposed calendar for the 2020-21 school year. Highlights of the calendar include 174 student contact days (the state minimum is 165), 1,117 instructional hours (the state minimum is 1,020) and 182 teacher contract days. R-P will have 97 additional hours beyond the state minimum requirements. The first day of school will Sept. 8, 2020, among the latest starts in recent memory.  The board voted unanimously to adopt the proposed calendar.

Superintendent’s report

In a brief report to the board, Supt. Thompson noted that he would have revisions to the district’s open enrollment policy for consideration at the February meeting. Those revisions will set an end date in the school year when open enrollment requests will no longer be considered.

The report also noted that applications for early retirement were due Jan. 31. The board will learn if any of the district’s teachers took advantage of this program.

Finally, Supt. Thompson noted that the district will delay the purchase of a new van for transporting students enrolled in HVED programs. “We thought the maximum number of years a van could be used was 8, and we have since learned that it’s actually 12. So, we are delaying the van purchase.”

Schedule

The next meeting of the Rushford-Peterson school board will be Monday, Feb. 24, at 5:30 p.m. All members of the public are encouraged to attend.