‘Good is not good enough’WACO school board plans how the district will operate with four school days each week
WAYLAND — WACO School Board members, during a Saturday morning work session, received the first glance at what is in store for the district next year.
Members of the district’s 4 + 1 Innovative Calendar committee gave directors and a number of patrons a tour of what committee members term “EP1C Education or Essential Plus 1 Content.”
“Being good is not good enough…We have to move to be great,” explained Tina Whalen, vice chair of the committee and an elementary school teacher. “How do we move forward and take what we have and make it great?”
During the three-hour meeting at the WACO High School Media Center, board members were updated through an interactive Power-Point presentation on transportation, hot lunch and child-care suggestions for the new calendar as well as programs and activities that will be hosted on Fridays — the +1 day in the 2013-14 school calendar.
Next school year, WACO will become the first school district in Iowa to have the four-day week year-round.
The committee’s recommendations, however, were just received and will be acted upon during the school board’s regular meeting Monday, Dec. 17, at 6:30 p.m. at the high school.
Following is some of the new information from Saturday’s work session.
Daycare: Will be offered on Fridays for WACO enrolled pre-kindergarten students from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Crawfordsville Elementary School for a cost of $10 a day. WACO enrolled K-sixth grade students will be eligible for child care at Crawfordsville from 11:30-5 p.m. (minimum of nine students) for a cost of $5 per day when attending activities during Friday.
During the staff professional development Fridays (five each semester), day care will be offered to WACO enrolled pre-kindergarten-sixth-grade students at a cost of $10 per WACO-enrolled child with a maximum $30 per family cost.
District nutrition: Hot lunch will be served on all professional development and +1 Fridays with the cost to be run through the school lunch program to participants in the day care program.
Sack lunches, if desired, will be provide for non-day care students on +1 Fridays with costs run through the school lunch program.
Elementary school hours: The normal school day in 2013-14 will run from 8:10 a.m.-3:50 p.m. and from 8:30-11:30 a.m. on +1 Fridays. Transportation will be provided to WACO students.
Junior/senior high school hours: The normal school day in 2013-14 will be from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. and Fridays will be for additional learning opportunities. No official hours have been established but activities will be in the morning. Transportation will be provided to WACO students.
On Monday-Thursday, there will be no study halls for students. Instead, students on average will receive a 10-minute independent work time per class per day. Also, junior and senior high-school students will take seven classes per semester next year as opposed to six per semester this year. Classes will be 70 minutes long.
Through the additional class and activities on Fridays, committee members say that junior and senior high school students will have 177 more learning opportunities. “We are giving them better instruction and better access to high-quality instructors,” noted Ferguson. “This is a change for us teachers, too. We have to find ways to make students more successful.”
Even with one less school day next year, students will have 240 minutes of instructional time for each class each week, an increase of 28 minutes per class per week from the current class schedule.
Friday attendance will not be required but highly encouraged. Friday attendance reports will be sent to parents.
Committee members said that through the 4 +1 calendar, bus routes will be reduced from the current 178 days to 153 days. Friday routes have not been established for next year. “We can’t say all buses will run, but we can’t say they won’t and bus routes may look different (on Fridays),” said Amy Langr, a committee member.
Some of the Friday time will be used for remediation work for students needing it. Ferguson also said credit recovery will be offered, which will enable a student to earn a passing grade in aclass that was failed.
Following are some of the Friday activities planned at the junior/senior high school include:
• LEGO engineering for junior high and senior high school students;
• College Survival 101;
• Blast-off into model rocketry;
• WSPN (become a WACO broadcaster for sporting events);
• Within the walls intramurals leadership class. The class will provide an opportunity to receive a certificate of completion for completing a “How to run and intramural program.” It is also planned to launch an intramural sports program next year at WACO;
• Get Your Game On — programming computer games in Python;
• Rock Band 1-1 — become a part of a WACO rock band;
• Building cultural kits;
• Baking and decorating (Learn to bake and decorate cakes along with the science of baking and entrepreneurship);
• Soup-er night (Create soup bowls which will be sold during a soup supper with proceeds going to a women’s shelter;
• Homeless for a night (not only learn about homelessness, but actually discover how that feels for a night);
• World religion (learn about the different religions of the world, taught by the WACO ministerial society);
• Wannabe WACO Warrior (Learn what it means to be a true WACO Warrior. How do your lives demonstrate the 6 WACO pillars? Taught by Henry County youth pastors);
• Philosophy and debate;
• Power math;
• Power read.
Some of the suggested enrichment Friday activities at the elementary school are:
• Power math;
• Junior physics;
• Power read
• Iowa history
• Cultural studies;
• Living active;
WACO students will be awarded a certificate of completion of +1 activities. Junior and senior high school students will have the opportunity to take three of the activities per semester.
Internships also will be available on Friday to all high school juniors and seniors whereby students will have the opportunity to earn one credit per quarter.
Finally, high school students (sophomore in TAG program, juniors and seniors) will be able to take dual credit classes through Southeastern Community College. The courses also will be open to community members (if class space permits).