Pittsburg Community Schools have moved classes online following an extended spring break.
The next step for area school districts — including Pittsburg USD 250, which held a special board meeting Thursday via Zoom — was to decide on graduation requirements, a continuous learning plan and professional agreement guidelines. Frontenac School District (USD 249) also held a special board meeting on Thursday.
USD 250 and USD 249 approved the resolution for graduation requirements for the class of 2020. According to USD 250 Superintendent of Schools Richard Proffitt the resolution was a recommendation from the Kansas State Department of Education and the Kansas Association of School Boards.
Proffitt said the KSDE and KASB are concerned about students who “may be a little bit behind and would be potentially graduating just by the skin of their teeth. This [school closings] could have detrimental effects on them and we certainly do not want to change the life trajectory of any of our young people.”
The resolution reduces the graduation requirements to 21 credits for the 2020 graduating class.
“That does not mean that we are not going to continue with the classes with all of the graduating seniors — that we will not continue with the educational trajectory of all of those seniors — this is really just to help out those seniors that probably need some help,” Proffitt said.
The superintendents and their respective boards discussed the continuous learning plan which both districts approved. The plan included school hours required for the school year, now set to 1,116, and the pay of employees for the rest of the fiscal school year. Enrollment of all new students according to state statute was also included.
The plan also consists of the district applying a “self and safety” policy to limit the “opportunities the students and staff are exposed to potential pathogens,” Proffitt said. “Right now we do not plan to have any face-to-face instruction going on, either going to be the way of electronic means or packets.”
At USD 250, teachers have been put into “teach alike teams.” For example, high school biology teachers would work together to determine essential learning outcomes.
“They’ve really put their heads together and have put together some consistent plans,” Proffitt said.
The district also addressed building relationships to help students become engaged in their online schooling.
“For us right now the most important aspects are building those relationships and getting kids reengaged with one another,” Proffitt said. “When our staff called each of our parents — some we haven’t been able to reach — we have heard that the kids are really sad that they are not in school right now, they want to see their teachers, they want to interact with their friends.”
The district also put into place the opportunity for students to use the district’s wifi in order to reach students who may not have access to the internet. Technology (laptops) will be given to students for use for the semester. Parents can find more information on this and other updates at the district’s website.
USD 250 is working with SEK Interlocal, Greenbush Education Service Center and school counselors to help reach the needs of students who are English Language Learners, in special education, or are Title 1 students. The district is also addressing social and emotional needs of students, Proffitt said.
Food services will continue to make sack lunches for students to pick up at certain locations around Pittsburg. Locations can be found on the district’s website and social media.
Lastly, both districts approved professional agreement guidelines which include pay for employees, work hours, taking days off work and communication guidelines with students and parents.