Dover-Eyota to open school later on Wednesdays
EYOTA — Students in the Dover-Eyota School District will be able to hit the snooze button on Wednesdays. On a 5-2 vote, the school board approved on Monday night a plan to open an hour late on Wednesdays in the 2013-2014 school year.
"It's a trade-off," said superintendent Bruce Klaehn. "We lose an hour of instruction every week, but we're going to get some valuable staff time." The purpose behind the weekly late start is to give teachers a chance for more planning.
Of course, the late start will mean students start at 9 a.m. in the elementary school and 9:15 a.m. in the high school. That late start will shorten classes on Wednesdays and could cause some hardship for parents. But the schedule for paraprofessionals would not change, and students could still show up at the same time to be met with study halls or other programs to keep kids busy until the school day begins.
While the school board was approving time off next school year, it was also approving a little time off in what remains of the current year. With six snow days in the books, the district decided it was done adding makeup days back into the calendar. "We will not add an additional day at the end of the year," Klaehn said.
The additional day would have been Friday, June 7. But between the difficulty of adding in a day when so many families have already planned it off, and the need to ensure students take all their finals before heading on vacation, Klaehn and high school principal Todd Rowekamp encouraged the board to forgive the extra day.
The end of the school year will give teachers a chance to get busy writing a new textbook. The district will join nine other schools to find four teachers and two other specialists who can write an eighth grade social studies e-textbook, said Bryan Berg, the district's technology director.
The project will allow the district to have an e-book that can be used by any student with online access, Klaehn said. "We don't want to be limited in just a textbook," the superintendent said. "There are links to other things in the e-book. Instead of just a picture of the Grand Canyon they can click a link to all kinds of information."
Berg said the next steps would be to select the teachers, a writing expert and a curriculum specialist from the 10 schools involved in the project so they might begin the textbook by June 1 with the hopes of having it available by Aug. 1 so teachers can use it next fall.
Finally, the high school band was selected as one of the top 125 in the country by the Grammy Signature Schools Program. Band director Ryan Anderson said thousands of schools had applied, so Dover-Eyota's inclusion near the top was a real high note for the program.
A big part of the band's success, Anderson said, was a students working with and encouraging other students to meet certain standards. The band then made a recording and submitted it to the Grammy committee.