NORTH CRAWFORD - At their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, August 14, the North Crawford School Board discussed the after school program for the 2018-19 school year, ALICE training, and changes in staff personal time off.
‘Beyond the Bell,’ North Crawford’s after school program, is being reinstated this school year in an expanded format. The district once again applied for and received a 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CLC) Grant. Grant monies are intended to fund high-quality academic support, and recreation, and youth development programs during after school hours and summers.
“Receipt of this grant will once again allow our district to start up a full-fledged after school program,” North Crawford Superintendent Brandon Munson said. “The program will include transportation, and all staff salaries for the program will be paid through the grant.”
The board voted to hire Amy Anderson as the program coordinator; Carrie Anderson as the program manager; and Starfish Consulting will provide the data analysis and reporting services to satisfy the reporting requirements of the grant.
Munson reported that he, Amanda Kileen, Toby Tripalin and Harry Heisz had attended ALICE training in Sun Prairie the week before the board meeting. ALICE stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate. It is a school security program that is being implemented at schools across that state.
At the end of the training, the four were required to pass a test. All four passed, and have been certified as trainers. This will allow them, working with the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department, to provide training to teachers and staff, and eventually, to students.
“The ALICE school security system is a proactive approach, with ongoing training and drills, which builds on itself,” Munson explained. “ALICE is options-based, and when everyone is trained, it means that will have a ‘toolbox’ of response strategies.”
Munson said that ALICE particularly emphasizes an “enhanced” lockdown approach, versus the one that many schools have used up to now. It also holds safe evacuation of students and staff as the highest goal.
“With the traditional lockdown approach used by North Crawford and so many other schools across the state, it has been shown that reliance on this approach in an active shooter situation can result in higher casualties,” Munson said. “Especially in rural areas like ours, police response times are likely to be slow compared to the average time a school shooting lasts – six to eight minutes. That means we need to have everyone trained to do more than just lock the doors and wait.”
The Alert portion of the ALICE training is designed to empower staff and students to alert immediately if they see a potential danger.
The [Enhanced] Lockdown encompasses more than just locking doors. The training emphasizes building barricades in front of the locked door, and equipping students and staff in the room with items they can throw at an attacker as well. Teachers will also be trained to ask students to break up into several groups within the room, versus one large group.
In the Inform part of the training, participants are taught that they need to identify and secure a ‘central command’ area, which gives them access to phones, internet, public address equipment, and security cameras. This will allow them to monitor a hostile intruder in the building, report on their location, and allow staff to potentially take advantage of the opportunity to evacuate parts of the building.
In the Counter portion of the training, participants are taught to be prepared to actively respond if all defensive options such as lockdown and barricades have failed. The training emphasizes that staff and students are not to go looking for a fight, but that they should be prepared to actively participate in defense by throwing things, etc. if they have no other option.
Last, the Evacuate part of the training is described as “always the goal.” Staff will be trained to take advantage of the opportunity to evacuate students if it can be done safely. After evacuating, they will be trained to report to an assigned location for transport to a nearby collection site. Parents will be allowed to pick up their children from that site.
The North Crawford staff will receive the ALICE training on Thursday, August 30 at a half-day inservice. The ALICE training will consist of a hands-on and classroom training, and also an e-learning component.
North Crawford students will receive an age-appropriate version of the training at a future time, to be determined. Munson also hopes to conduct a district-wide training drill with help from the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department and local first responders in the spring of 2019.
Personal time off
The North Crawford Board approved a change in personal time off (PTO) policy for district staff by a roll call vote. Before the vote on the resolution, which was made by Judy Powell and seconded by Wade Dull, the board heard input from teachers on the topic.
In the roll call vote, Wade Dull, Mary Kuhn and Judy Powell voted in favor; Aaron Fortney and Tanya Forkash voted against; Jim Dworschack abstained; and Terry O’Donnell was absent.
Teacher Rob Ghormley made the case for holding off on the vote until the board’s next meeting to allow for teacher discussion and advisory input.
“I’m a male teacher, my kids are raised, and my wife always stayed home with the kids,” Ghormley said. “This means that I haven’t used much of my sick or personal time, and have been able to bank a lot of hours. I’m concerned that the changes proposed might not work well for a younger, female employee, with young children.”
While Fortney and Forkash voted against adoption of the new policy, they seemed to be voting in favor of delaying the vote to obtain teacher input, versus indicating opposition to enactment of the policy.
Munson presented the advantages of the new policy as giving professional employees more flexibility, and rewarding longevity with a progressively greater payout for banked hours the more years you work.
Every year at a meeting just before the start of the new year, the board reviews and approves any proposed changes to the school’s handbooks. Those handbooks are Professional Staff, Support Staff, Teacher, Elementary, Middle School/High School, Co-Curricular, Coach, and Transportation handbooks.
The board, which voted at the end of the discussion to approve all updated handbooks at once, spent the most amount of time discussing the cell phone policy for middle and high school students, the policy for recruiting and hiring athletic coaches, and the ‘athletic eligibility’ language in the Co-Curricular Handbook.
The biggest changes approved in the Middle School/High School Handbook related to cell phone privileges for middle school students, and cell phone useage in the middle school wing of the building. See the sidebar story in this issue for a complete, updated version of the policy.
Discussion of recruitment and hiring of coaches in the Coaches Handbook turned into a thornier issue. The main point of contention being whether coaches who have served in the role for many years without any disciplinary problems should be automatically re-hired if they affirm their intention to continue in the role.
“I remember that we voted in some other language a few years ago in response to a particular situation that was facing us,” Aaron Fortney said. “The language in this handbook is not the language I remember voting on.”
Superintendent Munson responded, saying “All we do is to update last year’s document with any changes the board votes to adopt. So the language in this handbook, to the best of my knowledge, is the language the board voted on.”
Ultimately, the board voted to accept the language as presented under the theory that athletic coaching positions are not approved until the board votes to approve them.
Last, in the ‘Academic Eligibility’ section of the Co-Curricular Handbook, the board voted to insert the following language (changes highlighted in bold):
Any student receiving one or more failing grades in any grading period for the preceding semester or quarter will be ineligible for the next 15 scheduled school days or 25 percent of the season for fall sports. Also, if an incoming freshman has a rating of one in work habits or work completion in any particular class they will also be ineligible.
The ineligibility period will begin with the day grades are due in the office. During this ineligibility period, unless excused by the coach/advisor, the student is expected to attend practices, but cannot participate in any performances or competitions in any co-curricular activity.
If the student is still doing failing work in one or more classes at the end of the 15 days of ineligibility, or after the first 15 days of school in the beginning of the year, that student becomes totally ineligible for the rest of the grading period. During that time, the student may not participate at all, including practices, in any co-curricular activity.
Student grades will be checked after two full weeks of school. If a student is failing one or more classes at that time they will have one week to bring all of their grades up to passing. If they are not passing at the Friday grade check after three weeks they will be ineligible for one week. Friday grade checks will be every week following that and if they are failing in any class after week three they will be automatically ineligible for the next week. You can restore eligibility by having all passing grades on the next Friday grade check after your one week of ineligibility.
In other business the board heard:
· Holly Jones has been hired as Interim Middle/High School Principal until Toby Tripalin returns from a medical leave of absence of undetermined duration
· Demetri Andrews has received a School Business Leader Scholarship, allowing him to attend a meeting of school business leaders from around the nation and globe
· The High School Football Assistant Coach will be – Jeremy Fradette, and the assistants will be Jason Knight and Hunter Fortney
The Middle School Football Coach will be Anders Unseth, and the Middle School Volleyball Coach will be Starr Nelson.