Valdez City Schools Wrap Up

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The School Board approved a 2024-2025 schedule last Monday that included a 4-day school week. With an absence of written documentation of the proposed schedule, the School Board spent considerable time trying to calculate the number of hours that would be lost by moving from a 5 day week to a 4 day week. The majority of impromptu calculations were for approximately 100 less instructional hours with a 4-day schedule, but VHS math teacher Rachel Hamilton encouraged the board to consider that Friday is basically a day of lost instruction now due to so many students being absent for activities. Isaac Deaton, who teaches shop and is the wrestling coach, said that unless the District has qualified shop teachers, his students are not able to participate in hands-on instruction when he is out of town and has to get a substitute for Friday. Incoming VHS Principal Peter Baksis and incoming GMS Principal Amanda Tippetts participated in the meeting via zoom and both spoke about positive benefits of a four day school week. Hamilton, Deaton Valdez City Schools Superintendent Tim Bauer and others provided ideas of how teachers can deliver extra help and offer other educational opportunities on Fridays.

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Gilson Middle School and Valdez High School will follow the 4-day school week schedule for the 2024-2025 school year. Hermon Hutchens Elementary will still operate on a 5-day school week. Teachers will be required to be at school Friday and Bauer said the shift will require teachers and staff to adopt an attitude that all the students in the school are “their students” on Friday. It is unclear whether students can be or will be required to attend Friday for remedial work. Bauer has said in interviews that students will not be required to attend Friday, but Baksis expressed interest in having students come in to make up missed assignments. At this point, the schedule and plan for is far from finished, but Bauer said he would be working on it in the weeks before the next board meeting and coming back with more details. While several School Board members were not altogether comfortable voting yes for the proposed 4-day week without a clear idea of hours lost or plan for Fridays, the board unanimously voted to move ahead with a 4-day school week. “We need to change something and people seem excited to make this change,” said Board member Joe Prax.
Superintendent Tim Bauer
Superintendent Bauer posted a statement on what will happen next: “With the Board approval, the next steps to finalize this process are to appeal to the state to follow state statute which allows the district to have a calendar which is regulated by hours of available instruction and not calendar days. I do not anticipate any major obstacles with this process and will update the Board and the public when we have approval.”