Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
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School District 833 Assistant Superintendent Mark Porter will be the new superintendent when Tom Nelson retires at the end of the school year. The school board met Tuesday night, Jan.
School District 833's two internal candidates for superintendent both said that they are concerned about students' test scores and they think the alternative pay system for teachers has been a success at a public question and answer session last Friday. Rick Spicuzza, assistant superintendent of curriculum and assessment, and Mark Porter, assistant superintendent of human resources and legal services, are both hoping to be selected as superintendent when Tom Nelson, who has headed the district for four years, retires at the end of June. Rick Spicuzza More teachers need to
The School District 833 school board, Dec.
Open enrollment of most students living outside the district will be closed for 2009-2010, according to resolution approved by the school board, Dec. 18. The only exception is for 11th-grade students.
This year's school calendar is an example of why the law banning school starts until after Labor Day should be changed, District 833 administrators and school board members told local legislators in a meeting, Dec. 4. This year, in order to get the school year completed in the first week of June, winter break does not begin until Dec. 24. Also, Park High School will have school on the Friday, June 5. Traditionally, Park has held graduation on Friday night.
The School District 833 committee to study school start times will recommend moving high school start times to at least 40 minutes later in one plan, and one hour and five minutes later in another proposal. However, proposed plans, slated to go to the school board in January have been postponed until February. Meeting since mid-October, the committee heard from experts on adolescent sleep cycles who said, based on University of Minnesota research, that sleep is regulated by melatonin, a naturally occurring hormone, which cause teens to sleep from 11 p.m. to about 8 a.m.
For the past two years, high school juniors, including those in School District 833, have done poorly on state math tests. Last spring, only 31 percent passed statewide. Those tests count for a lot more this coming spring, when 11th-graders who don't pass, and fail re-takes in their senior year, won't get a high school diploma. When district administrators and school board members met with local legislators, Dec. 4, they echoed statewide concerns. "I think we're heading off a cliff," said Superintendent Tom Nelson.
An economic recession usually means property values go down. In some parts of the county, the downward trend is 15 to 20 percent, according to national news reports. Not all properties in School District 833 follow the national trend. "Some property values increased and others decreased. They're all over the board," said Aaron Bushberger, finance director, to school board members at the Truth in Taxation hearing Dec.
Responding to a survey on school start times, 69 percent of 1,100 parents in School District 833 said high schools should start later in the day. The answers were split as to when the day should start, either at 8 a.m. or at 8:30 a.m. Before responding to the survey, there was a brief summary of research by the University of Minnesota indicating adolescents have natural sleep cycles, due to the chemical melatonin, which make them sleepy around 11 p.m.
School Exec Connect, based in Highland Park, Ill., a Chicago suburb, will get to work this week to find a replacement for District 833 Superintendent Tom Nelson who retires at the end of the school year. School board members opted for the firm at a workshop meeting, Nov.