Parent Teacher Magazine Union County Public Schools March/April 2018 - Page 20

Board of Education approves restart applications for three elementary schools At its Feb. 6 meeting, the Union County Board of Education approved restart applications for Walter Bickett, East and Benton Heights elementary schools. If approved by the State Board of Education, the schools will have the option to have charter-like flexibility for the school calendar, areas of teacher certification and funding. At its Feb. 6 meeting, the Union County Board of Education approved restart applications for Walter Bickett, East and Benton Heights elementary schools. If approved by the State Board of Education, the schools will have the option to have charter-like flexibility for the school calendar, areas of teacher certification and funding. Schools that are recurring in a low-performing status are eligible to apply for a school improvement model with the State Board of Education. Under this model, the schools have set goals for and will focus on three key areas—academic outcomes, top talent and student supports. Union County Public Schools will outline objectives to monitor, support and provide resources for the schools. “We want to provide as much support as we can for Walter Bickett, East and Benton Heights schools,” said Dr. Andrew Houlihan, Superintendent. “These schools are making gains and showing growth, but we want to provide more flexibility and options for school leaders to expand resources, adjust calendars to meet the needs of the students and use funding to attract and retain the best teachers.” In addition, the Board of Education also approved a new school calendar for these three schools. Beginning in the 2018-2019 school year, Walter Bickett, East and Benton Heights elementary schools will operate on the traditional calendar. Currently, the schools operate on a year-round calendar with an intersession every nine weeks. “Our data has not proven that a year-round calendar is what’s best for the students in these schools,” Dr. Houlihan said. “We have communicated with parents and staff about the change and there was a great amount of support from families.” “We will work with staff and parents to transition to a new calendar, but we are confident that this flexibility will allow us to think differently and provide options to help us move forward with improving these schools.” –This article was provided by the Union County Public Schools Communication Office. 18 • Mar/Apr 2018 • Parent Teacher Magazine