Board gets update on ‘flexible learning days’

By: 
Chuck Kajer, The New Prague Times

New Prague Area Schools Superintendent Tim Dittberner updated members of the school board on the use of "flexible learning days" the district has taken due to weather. The update came during the board’s regular meeting Monday, Feb. 25.

"It’s nice to have these available to us," he said. "We’ve had them for four years and until this year we hadn’t had to use one. This year, we’ve used seven."

Flexible learning days are used instead of snow days. Students use their online access to look at materials and complete assignments. Teachers are available via email or online chat to answer questions and assist them in their assignments.

He said the decision to cancel classes on that day was an easy one.

"We decided to go with a two-hour late start and reassess the road conditions in the morning," he said. "The roads were fine in town, but in the country, especially south of town and in Rice County, there was a lot of drifting."

He said Transportation Supervisor Steve Trcka, who lives southeast of town, put his car in the ditch when checking the roads and needed a tow, and Craig Most, the District’s Operations Director, could not get into town, making it an easy decision.

"People see the nice plowed roads in town and wonder why we closed… that’s why we closed."

Late start proposal Director of Education Services Tony Buthe and Curriculum Director Maren Bahler were at the board meeting to continue discussion on a proposal to have eight 90-minute late starts during the 2019-20 school year for teacher collaboration. They repeated what they had said at the previous workshop about it being more effective for staff and less disruptive since they wouldn’t have to bring in substitute teachers.

Dittberner said one of the expectations he has is, if the proposal was approved, that each school find more instruction time for students within the schedule. "We don’t want to lose too much contact time with students."

High school principal Nicole Adams said she was working to adjust....

To see more on this story pick up the February 28, 2019 print edition of The New Prague Times. 

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