Administrators in the Clarkston School District are contemplating whether they should switch middle schoolers to an a.m.-p.m. model at the start of the new semester after teachers raised concerns about a lack of daily contact with students.
Superintendent Thaynan Knowlton told the school board at its Monday meeting that a survey will be sent out to parents to garner feedback on the possible change.
“(The teachers) are starting to worry and have issues around grades and emotional health,” Knowlton said. “The thinking is if we can make contact with (the students) every day and have it look more like the elementary schedule, then they think we would have some positive results.”
Students at Lincoln Middle School currently attend in-person classes two days a week like the district’s high school students, but offering morning or afternoon sessions four days a week would bring the kids into the school buildings more frequently.
Knowlton said a decision would not be made until the district receives the survey results back, but he said the majority of parents who have been contacted by phone have been supportive of the move. If the survey results support the proposed change, then the switch to an a.m.-p.m. schedule for the middle school would likely take place Jan. 25, which is the start of the new semester.
In other news:
The school board ratified a collective bargaining agreement with the Clarkston Education Association. The contract includes a 1.6 percent raise for teachers and staff members.
Under the agreement, the district will continue to offer 10 days of COVID-19 leave if an employee contracts the virus or needs to quarantine. The federally supported COVID-19 leave expired Dec. 31, so if the district did not continue to offer a similar option, employees would have had to use their own sick leave for an absence caused by the coronavirus.
The school board postponed a vote on a swimming and soccer co-op with the Asotin-Anatone School District until more information can be provided. The co-op would allow students from Asotin to participate in the two sports in Clarkston.
School board Chairman Dennis Lenz wanted clarification on Washington Interscholastic Activities Association’s rules about name changes to the program if the co-op was approved again.
The agreement in the past has allowed Clarkston to have both a junior varsity and varsity soccer team and has secured enough players to offer a swim relay team.
The board will make a decision to approve or deny the co-ops at its next meeting.
Asotin High School does not currently offer either sport.
The board heard from Heidi Copeland, the general manager of the Hells Canyon Grand Hotel in Lewiston, during its third “Valley Connections” discussion. The board has been meeting with community or business leaders to garner input as it works to craft the district’s next bond proposal.
Copeland encouraged the board to include the business community in its discussions moving forward since they would be more affected by the property taxes if a bond was approved.
Knowlton said the board should have enough information by August or September to make a decision on whether a bond proposal should move forward. The details of what would be included in the bond have not yet been decided.
Tomtas may be reached at email@example.com or at (208) 848-2294. Follow her on Twitter @jtomtas.