Dickinson Public Schools Unapproved Board Workshop Minutes Friday, December 13, 2019; 10:00 a.
Dickinson Public Schools
Unapproved Board Workshop Minutes
Friday, December 13, 2019; 10:00 a.m.
Central Administration Offices
The Dickinson Public School Board held a Board workshop on December 13, 2019, at the Central Administration Offices. Board members present were: President Brent Seaks, Vice President Kim Schwartz, Mrs. Michelle Orton, Mr. Jason Rodakowski and Mr. David Wilkie. Others present were: Superintendent Shon Hocker, Assistant Superintendent Keith Harris, Director of Instruction Melanie Kathrein, Dickinson High School Principal Kevin Hoherz, Dickinson High School Assistant Principal Jay Hepperle, Dickinson High School Assistant Principal Guy Fridley, Dickinson Middle School Principal Marcus Lewton, Dr. Keith Fernsler, Community Relations Coordinator Sarah Trustem, School Board Secretary Twila Petersen, and Dickinson Press Reporter Kayla Henson.
Call to Order - Board President Seaks called the Board workshop to order at 10:00 a.m.
Dickinson High School (DHS) Career Academies and Scheduling - President Seaks requested input from Board members regarding the high school, whether it was regarding the topics of career academies, overcrowding, etc. He provided some history. Before the bond referendum failed, the conversation was to include the academy model with the building of the new high school. When the referendum failed, it created some confusion. President Seaks added that some Board members may have been on board with including the academy model with the building of the new high school but may not be convinced implementation should take place now in the current high school.
Board members shared their ranking of the top three priorities to address at the high school. Vice President Schwartz identified the #1 priority at the high school was safety and discipline, #2 priority was overcrowding, and #3 priority was the academy model. Board Member Rodakowski ranked #1 as overcrowding, #2 discipline, #3 curriculum or the academy. Board Member Orton concurred with Mr. Rodakowski's ranking. Board Member Wilkie concurred with Mrs. Schwartz's ranking. President Seaks explained the high school administration, teachers, and Central Office administrators agree those are the top three priorities to be addressed at the high school.
President Seaks explained there was a meeting today to review an option for a day treatment for high school students. This would be equivalent to an in-school suspension. He added if the school is overcrowded, there are going to be additional discipline problems.
Vice President Schwartz noted that if the bond referendum would have passed, there would be two years to work on the academy model. Mrs. Schwartz inquired what would be the benefits for the implementation of the academy model in 2020 instead of at a later year.
There was a discussion regarding the schedule and a survey that had been sent to the teachers. Approximately 86% of those responding to the survey were in in favor of the academy model. A possible new survey could be sent out asking additional questions.
Board Member Rodakowski said he is hearing that there are questions that the teachers have that are not being answered. Board Member Orton suggested there be minutes taken at the leadership meetings and shared with the teachers.
Board members outlined several questions they would be asking administration. Board Member Wilkie said that these questions skip over priorities #1 and #2. Vice President Schwartz added that they could not move to #3 on the priorities, the academy model, without first taking care of #1 and #2 of the priorities. Board Member Wilkie said when his child tells him that he cannot go to certain places at the high school during certain times and certain restrooms, that is an issue.
President Seaks addressed Superintendent Hocker and asked how the administration was addressing the Board's #1 priority of discipline and safety at the high school. Superintendent Hocker responded the administration's first agenda is the student discipline and student safety. He said research shows students on the academy model have fewer discipline issues. High Reliability Schools are about students being engaged. Engaged students are not as bored and therefore get into trouble less. He added the committees of the District-wide Safety and Security, Mental Health Task Force have met several times. This morning there was a meeting with juvenile justice with hopes of implementing something as early as next month to address the student discipline.
Assistant Superintendent Harris added when there is a discipline issue the student is sent to the principal. However, principals cannot fix the students. There is something that is keeping that student from being successful and develop skills to help the student move forward. That takes time. All principals are trained in the RTI framework with an intervention team. These are beneficial when a student shows significant or unusually difficult challenges to being successful academically or behaviorally.
In response to a question regarding implementing the academy model now instead of waiting, Superintendent Hocker said individuals have tendencies to stay in comfort areas and not make any changes. Some individuals would prefer to postpone the academies model. He added that every year counts in the education of a student.
A question was asked what differences would there be in a freshman's schedule fall 2019 versus fall 2020. Superintendent Hocker responded the freshmen students' schedules would be about the same. Dickinson High Principal Hoherz distributed a packet of material that included a sampling of a freshman schedule. Mr. Hoherz explained there would be a new freshman seminar class for the students to take and explore various academies. Freshmen students would have most of their courses in the 100-pod section of the building.
There would be a change in how the schedule would rotate. Now the student schedule is a block schedule with students taking four classes a day. The new AB schedule would have a set of courses for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with different classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Some courses would move from a quarter class to a semester class with the new schedule.
Dr. Hocker addressed the concern of overcrowding at the high school. He explained the Superintendent's Advisory Committee concluded its second meeting this week with the focus addressing overcrowding. There is no quick and easy solution for the overcrowdedness. Some of the ideas from the committee were to move forward with another referendum or utilize portable units.
President Seaks inquired if there were minutes from the academy meetings. Mr. Hoherz responded a secretary was recently designated to take minutes and they will be posted and shared.
President Seaks inquired where the Board goes from here. Board members suggested another workshop. The next workshop was tentatively scheduled for Friday, January 3 at 10:00 a.m.
Adjournment - Board President Seaks adjourned the workshop at 11:30 a.m.
Brent Seaks, Board President
Kent Anderson, Business Manager
Twila Petersen, Secretary
(Published: January 11, 2020)