May 13, 2021

School board talks curriculum, prom at Tuesday’s meeting

To start off the Tuesday March 9 Clarke Community School Board meeting, Elementary Principal Jody Kerchal approached the board about the elementary school starting 15 minutes earlier. There was no formal proposal, only a discussion to see how people would feel about it being an option.

Curriculum Director Jean Bahls told the board about the new curriculum for the elementary school she was recommending.

“We have asked teachers to write curriculum based on standards and the feedback we’ve gotten is that we need something,” said Bahls. “This ARC curriculum system gives teachers the ability to make their own decisions. ARC does have phonics reading and instruction.”

Board member Joe Deutsch commented that he had heard ARC isn’t very teacher friendly and requested to know how teacher friendly it is.

“It definitely is going to require teachers to prepare lessons, that’s what teaching is,” said Bahls. “They will have to prepare, put materials together, understand the groupings that their kids are in. A lot of work needs to be done to meet kids where they’re at. We made a decision based on we thought was best for kids even it it’s not the easiest for teachers.”

Total cost of the ARC Curriculum for the elementary school would be $380,300. The curriculum’s lifetime is seven to 10 years. The annual recurring expense would be $8,500 for the data collection system and access to online resources.

Deutsch wanted to know why the elementary is getting new curriculum when high school and middle school students are “lagging behind,” some students even by multiple grade levels. Board member Robin Galves asked how it works for students to have different curriculum in the elementary than the high school and middle school. Bahls informed the board that many school districts don’t have the same curriculum all the way through, so long as the rigor and alignment match up, it works.

The board unanimously voted to move forward with the ARC curriculum.

Prom

Robin Galves brought up the 2021 Clarke Community High School prom. She wanted to know why there are currently no plans to have a prom walk-in.

“It’s outdoors. So why not? I don’t want to just see my kid with his date walk into the building. I want to see all of his friends and all of his classmates that I have watched grow up through the years because, to me, prom is something that is pretty special,” said Galves.

High School Principal Shane Stevens spoke to Galves’ point saying that the feedback he had received was that the event is for the students not the parents or community.

After speaking to some students, Galves told the board that many of the boys are disappointed with the decision to not have a public walk-in because they won’t have the opportunity to showcase the cars they have chosen to drive up in.

“One of the boys said, ‘That’s all we get is the cars,” Galves said.

Stevens then pointed out that the cars then had to be driven away and parked causing more people to be in the vehicles, going against COVID guidelines.

Galves suggested livestreaming walk-in. Stevens said he will take the feedback he received from the board to the prom committee.

Tyra Audlehelm

I grew up in Osceola and live here still with my husband and son. I graduated with my Bachelor degree in Journalism and Mass Communications in 2017. I have work at the OST since January of 2018.