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School Board explores high school innovations

Jamestown Public School Board is looking at how it might incorporate a more college-type setting for high school students to better prepare for the future.

Jamestown Public School Board is looking at how it might incorporate a more college-type setting for high school students to better prepare for the future.

At the Monday School Board meeting, members Diane Hanson and Steve Veldkamp discussed their tour of Legacy High School in Bismarck. Legacy is one of 16 schools in the nation to use a flexible module schedule similar to staggered college courses rather than the traditional high school setting with all students on a one hour schedule.

Legacy has around 1,200 students, not much different than Jamestown High School in size, but with several common areas, classrooms and offices that are open to the halls, Hanson said. The students go to and from classes at different times to keep the flow constant but small.

"The students are driven in a sense of what it is like to be in the workplace or when they go to college," Hanson said.

The most common reason that freshmen college students fail is the inability to manage time, she said. The flexible module schools are designed to introduce students to the college-type schedule in a supportive environment, she said.

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Around 1 percent don't succeed in the environment and are transitioned to the traditional high school setting, she said. The students are monitored but seem to thrive in the responsibility, she said.

"It is a very stress-free atmosphere," she said.

Veldkamp said the flexible module high school in Omaha has the highest college entrance examination scores in Nebraska.

The flexibility allows collaboration of one or more teachers or the entire student body, he said. The teachers move as the students do and have no set classroom, he said.

In his report, Superintendent Robert Lech said the Citizen's Advisory Committee is moving along well and has met with designers, builders, faculty and community residents to understand the district needs. The group is now in the process of prioritizing ideas for educational adequacy, facility needs and upgrades for safety, security and a healthy environment, he said.

"The next step is to have a discussion with attention to priorities that get away from what would be nice to have to the must haves," he said. "Without all three we will not have a successful initiative."

In other business, the School Board:

• approved foreign exchange student Johanna Gaertner from Germany for the 2017-18 school year with host family Tom and Melissa Soulis.

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• approved summer school contracts.

• approved updates to several policies and procedures.

• approved the fee schedule for 2017-18 school year.

• approved hiring Ashley Kronebusch as a fifth-grade teacher and Amanda Schaffer as a first-grade teacher at Roosevelt Elementary School.

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