One major question on everyone’s mind, especially those with seniors, is what about graduation? Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, South Dakota closed all schools and cancelled all sporting events. The Dakota Valley School Board began initial discussions Tuesday, April 15 on how best to approach a ‘graduation’ ceremony for this year. A few ideas were tossed around by board members, but Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jerry Rasmussen asked for a two-week period to contact all the seniors and hear their ideas. The board scheduled a special meeting for Monday, April 27 at 7 p.m. to discuss graduation.
With the closure of the school, the hourly employees, mainly paraprofessionals, became the subject of conversation on whether they should collect unemployment or if the school should continue paying them. The board approved paying them from March 13 to April 15 and reassessed the situation at their meeting April 15.
“Yes,” board member James Heeren said. “They work for us. They’re struggling just like everyone else. The money is in the budget. We need to take care of them.”
The rest of the board agreed and the motion passed. Hourly employees not putting in regular hours will be paid as if they are working, as stated in their contracts through the last day of school – May 21.
Janis Goeden, a first grade teacher, asked the board to reconsider their decision to drop a section from first grade.
According to Goeden, first grade teachers were concerned and shocked when they learned they were moving from five sections down to four. The teachers met with Elementary School Principal Kristi Maloney and Rasmusen to discuss their concerns. Their last step was to address the school board.
Goeden presented information stating how the first three years of a child’s education (K-2 or Pre-K-1) are important to the development of their math and reading skills, creativity and comprehension, etc.
See full story in this week’s Dakota Dunes / North Sioux City Times.