School to stick with voluntary supplementary learning, but are trying to reach as many students as possible
BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
DONNELLSON – Central Lee school officials are changing the meal delivery system following Easter Sunday.
Meals which have been being delivered daily to almost 350 district students for the past two weeks, will now be shifted to a twice-weekly delivery.
At Monday’s special meeting of the Central Lee School board, Superintendent Dr. Andy Crozier, said the move will help reduce the amount of time nutrition staff are exposed to each other.
Meals for two days will be delivered on Monday, April 13 and Wednesday April 15. Then the following week the meals will be delivered on Sundays and Wednesdays going forward through end of the suspension or the school year, whichever comes first.
Each meal package includes a breakfast and lunch offering for any student in the district that requests one.
“This cuts down on daily interaction for our staff. We’re just preparing for a tough two or three weeks nationally and in the state,” Crozier said. “We’ll start after Easter.”
Crozier said the response to the meal programs has been positive and he’s nothing but good feedback from those that are participating.
In an unrelated issue, the district board discussed the voluntary supplemental learning program going on during the suspension, as opposed to a required learning program.
The Iowa Department of Education has put in place an order that requires schools that are providing supplementary learning to inform the state by April 10, whether that learning will be required or voluntary. Either way the district will not have to make up the days.
However, schools that choose to do no supplemental learning will be monitored by the state to make sure the time of the suspension with no offered learning programs, is made up.
Several principals on the teleconferenced meeting indicated that student participation in the voluntary program varies.
Nicole Herdrich, the Central Lee High School principal says she’s heard of participation as low as one student, to as high as 51 for teachers with multiple classes.
She said if the district went to required learning at the high school, she could probably get 60% of students involved, but that would leave 40% out.
“The state motto is “Do No Harm”. but I don’t know how we don’t do harm to that other 40%,” she said.
Crozier said he’s not aware of any school district that is going to the required learning in southeast Iowa. He said some high schools may go to the required curriculum, but none for the Kindergarten through 8 programs.
“We’re continuing with supplemental learning and that has to do with quality access in homes for Internet,” he said.
Central Lee Elementary principal Heather Fuger said across all grades she’s seeing about a 40% participation rate.
“We’re still trying all methods we can to reach out to those we haven’t reached electronically,” Fuger said.
Crozier said the district spent $1,500 this week in mailing supplemental learning packages to students in the district. Some were sent via the meal vans as well.
“The simpler we keep the tasks the more likely the kids are to respond,” Herdrich said. “Teachers are doing a good job with feedback, but we just have to remind the kids that the feedback is coming.”
In other action, the board approved construction contracts for the upcoming $13 million facilities upgrade. The project is being managed by Estes Construction. Officials with that company said despite the current global conditions of the coronavirus, the bids for work came in very favorable to the district.