Extended middle school day starts Dec. 2
PENN YAN—Penn Yan middle school principal Kelley Johnson said the staff plans to implement its instructional day extension beginning Dec. 2, during the regular meeting of the school board Wednesday, Nov. 6. Johnson said the extended school day would run from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., instead of the usual 2:20 p.m. release time.
Johnson said discussion of extending the day began with the Building Instructional Council (BIC) last spring while discussing how to provide more opportunities for students. Johnson said the extended day will allow students to participate in more workshops and activities, while allowing students struggling with grades to seek extra help from their teachers. She said because of this, they decided to eliminate the ineligibility policy at the middle school, since students need to have the experience of participating in an activity.
Johnson said a three-tier system will be replacing the ineligibility policy. She said students with at least a 70 percent average in all of their classes have the option to leave at 2:20 p.m. or stay the extra time to participate in one of the workshops. Students at or below a 69 percent average will stay the whole day and get extra support they need. Johnson said they are also still working on a special tier for honor roll students, with one idea being an Honors Café where every Tuesday and Thursday the honor roll students can go down to the cafeteria and hang out with their friends.
Johnson said the proposed workshops to be offered include model rocketry, cooking, country line dancing, games club, knitting and basketball. She said each workshop will be once a week so the students have an opportunity to attend these after school. Johnson said the extended day will be implemented Monday through Thursday, releasing all students at 2:20 p.m. Fridays to allow time for staff meetings and study groups.
Johnson said they are considering other opportunities for student involvement as well, including a study lounge, student council and student leadership/lighthouse team. She said the students were informed this is coming, and a letter has been sent to all parents informing them of this change. Johnson said the staff is working dilligently on the details, trying to make sure everything is in place as far as logistics go before the extended day is implemented. Johnson said the school will hold a parents meeting Monday, Nov. 18, to answer any questions, concerns or comments from parents.
In other business:
• Jessica Bailey gave a presentation on alternative educational programming, where she explained different programming may be needed in order to address the needs of all students in the district. She said it is not a special education program for students with disabilities, but is meant to engage students who may be drifting through school while not engaged in any programs. Superintendent David Hamilton said they want to target the students who are “floating in the B- range when they have far more potential.” Bailey said the district will be evaluating existing programs and looking for other options of further innovative programs the school could hold to reach the uninvolved students.
• Hamilton said the district is looking to “get a sense of condition” of all the district buildings and facilities. He said they are working to establish a multi-year plan to use a mix of capital reserves or a small capital project to address the prioritized needs of each building. The board passed a resolution during the meeting to put out a request for proposals from architects and construction managers to give the district a sense of which building issues are the highest priority that need to be acted on soon.
The tentative scope of work for this project may include middle school roof, skylight and small miscellaneous repairs using reserve accounts. The anticipation is that a capital project will be voted on in the next year. The scope of work for the reserve project is anticipated to be between $400,000 and $750,000. The anticipated capital project may range from $3 million to $5 million. A projected tentative referendum appears possible for late 2014.