The Haines School Board approved an initial agreement with Chilkat Valley Preschool and a new online learning provider at its Tuesday meeting.
Starting in 2016, the private non-profit Chilkat Valley Preschool could teach their couple dozen 3 and 4 year olds in the Haines School building. This option comes after more than a year of fundraising and searching on the preschool’s part. The Haines Borough has given them a deadline to move out of their current borough-owned building.
For the past couple months, school board president Anne Marie Palmieri and Superintendent Ginger Jewell have been talking to the preschool about the option of moving into the school. They asked the school board about it at a workshop last week. And at the meeting Tuesday night, the board unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding.
The MOU is a 5-year agreement starting August 1, 2016. The preschool would pay for utilities, but they wouldn’t pay rent.
Haines School teacher Lisa Andrieson asked how the preschool moving in might affect the rest of the school.
“It was a surprise, and in talking to other staff members it’s a surprise about how could this impact our school if it takes a classroom, when we’re so tight on classroom spaces,” she said. “How will that work? And I just would really like to have an opportunity for the staff to weigh in on how would this impact our programs?”
Preschool board president Alissa Henry responded to Andriesen’s concern.
“This is a collaboration where we are going to work together and work out the concerns. You, know we don’t want to put anyone out,” Henry said.
At the workshop last week, the superintendent’s office space was given as a possible location for the preschool. Jewell said the space is much bigger than she needs.
Now that the board has approved the MOU, it’s in Jewell’s and the preschool’s hands to work out the details. Jewell said staff will be involved in that process.
There is a clause in the MOU that says if the space the preschool occupies is needed for K-12 education, the school district can shorten the agreement.
Chilkat Valley Preschool office manager Renee Hoffman says the board will decide how to use the $100,000 they’ve raised towards a new building at a meeting in June.
The board also approved a new online education system, called Edmentum. Dean of Students Rene Martin said right now, the district uses multiple programs, including AKLN, FuelED, and Edgenuity, to provide online remedial and extension classes. She said using multiple vendors is not working well.
“So is it possible for one thing to fit our needs and try to streamline?” Martin says that’s the question she was asking. And then she found Edmentum, which she says does just that.
Martin listed some of the online classes students are interested in for next year.
“I have students signed up for forensics, I have students signed up for German, I have students signed up for credit recovery biology, I have students signed up for one of the reading intervention classes.”
Edmentum would cost more for the district than is currently budgeted: $13,000 instead of $10,000.
But Jewell said that isn’t really a problem. Unlike the school’s current online ed vendors, Edmentum offers dozens of career technical education classes. So, the extra $3,000 cost could be paid out of the federal Perkins Grant, which is designated for career tech education.
The board also approved hires for Special Education Director, kindergarten teacher, and 4th grade teacher.
Rene Martin was hired as K-12 Principal for next year. Current principal Cheryl Stickler will step into the role of assistant principal. Jewell said that’s because Stickler wants to work on curriculum, which is an assistant principal responsibility.
The next school board meeting is June 2nd.