By TIM HORAN
Following a two-hour executive session, the Abilene USD 435 Board of Education gave the administration a vote of confidence at its regular meeting Monday night.
First they authorized Interim Superintendent Denise Guy to exercise her authority to compensate employees when their work goes beyond their contract duties.
Next the board extended all of the administrative contracts through the 2014-2015 school year.
A motion to appoint Guy as active superintendent with the intention of making her full-time superintendent beginning July 1 with a two- year contract was also approved.
All of the motions were approved unanimously.
Another key issue approved was the calendar for the 2013-2014 school year.
Guy said the district sent out a questionnaire to the staff about the school calendar. She said she received 85 responses.
Two items requested were a longer school day and changes in the parent-teacher conferences.
“I felt like it being February, we needed to have some time to get information out to staff,” Guy told the board. “With that said, we came up with this calendar. It is very similar to what we did this year. The only differences were that our professional development days which are in April and May this year moved to August before school starts.”
Next fall Aug. 13 through Aug. 19 Abilene teachers will have half-day professional learning days and half day work days.
Teachers will start the school year on Aug. 13 and students will start on Aug. 20 with Aug. 20 and 21 being shortened school days.
Another little change will be the December staff development day. Because Christmas falls on a Wednesday, that teacher development day is scheduled for Jan. 3 so students don’t have to start the year with classes on Friday, she said. Spring break will be the same as neighboring schools and universities.
“This is a good calendar for next year with a promise of looking at it a little earlier next year and researching some of the things that came up on the survey.
A board member questioned if a longer school day would result in fewer school days.
“It probably would,” Guy said. “We would have to research that, see what other schools are doing and how effective it is. It seems pretty attractive when you think of MTSS in math and finding that time to interview students on the math concepts and skills. Right now, I don’t know where we would find that time in the day. When we get to that point, an extended 15 minutes could mean a big difference.”
Key calendar dates are at the end of this article.
The board approved the retirement of Vicki Desbien and thanked her for her dedication to the district and her many years of service. Desbien taught at all three elementary schools during her tenure at Abilene.
After a presentation by Kurstin Guy, student webmaster for the district web pages, and Mike Liby, the board approved a request to upgrade the software that runs the district web pages. The new software will provide more interaction. Liby said that 10 to 12 students work on the web page production in a class. Mallory Olberding will be webmaster next school year.
“It takes about a year to learn and get certified,” Liby said.
“You can tell a lot about a school district by its web page,” Kurstin Guy said.
* heard a presentation from the FBLA regarding their national trip. Dawn
James, Macy Dinkle, and Chris Stutler talked about their trip to Denver and their interesting learning experiences;
* heard a presentation from Aaron Tompkins and students on their trip to Chicago, marching in the McDonald’s Thanksgiving Day Parade;
* approved the negotiations team of Mark Wilson, Kari Porter-Murray, and Barb Brittan, the same team as last year;
USD 435 Calendar
Professional learning/work days
Aug. 13: New Teachers-All Day
Aug. 14: Prof. Learning/Work Day
Aug. 15: Prof. Learning/Work Day
Aug. 16: Prof. Learning/Work Day
Aug. 19: Prof. Learning/Work Day
Sept. 9: Prof. Learning
Oct. 18: Prof. Learning/Work Day
Nov. 11: Prof. Learning
Jan. 2: Work Day
Jan. 3: Prof. Learning
Jan. 20: Prof. Learning
Feb. 17: Prof. Learning
March 7: Prof. Learning/Work Day
May 27: Work Day
HOLIDAY/BREAKS FOR STUDENTS
Sept. 2: Labor Day-No School
Sept. 9: No School
Oct. 18: No School
Oct. 24-25: No School
Nov. 11: Veterans Day-No School
Nov. 27-29: Thanksgiving No School
Dec. 23-Jan. 3: Winter Break-No School
Jan. 20: Martin Luther King Day-No School
Feb. 17: President’s Day-No School
March 13-March 21: Spring Break -No School
April 18: Good Friday-No School
PARENT TEACHER CONFERENCES
Oct. 23- 24: 4 p. m.-8 p.m.
March 12-13 3 p.m.-8 p.m.