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Cadott School Board; What happens if there aren’t enough substitutes?

By Julia Wolf

District members had the chance to hear how the school year is going, and what school could look like as the COVID- 19 numbers continue to climb through the county, during a regular Cadott School Board meeting Oct. 12.

“We have sent some messages to parents, last week,” said District Administrator Jenny Starck. “One of the things that is happening in our school, which is a reflection of Chippewa County, is we do have an increase in number of positive COVID cases.”

She says there have been four positive cases connected to the school, one in the elementary and three in the junior/ senior high.

Starck says there is also an increase in the number of people who need to quarantine. She says some of the quarantines are connected to the school and some from connections outside of school.

Starck says the district has talked about what the “trigger point” will be for switching to virtual learning. She says the primary piece for that comes down to staffing.

She says Cadott has fewer substitute teachers available to them than they did in the past, since retired teachers, who make up a large portion of the substitute teachers, are less willing to substitute.

“If we get to a point where we don’t have enough teachers and substitutes to be able to conduct classes, we probably would need to go virtual, at least for a time,” said Starck.

Starck says staff is working on planning for virtual instruction, as well as what the transition back to in-person learning will look like.

Starck says the district has thought about a hybrid model, where only part of the student body is in-person at a time and the rest are virtual. She says the planning has mostly been around full-time, face-to-face instruction, since that is where the community preference is.

Rod Tegels, board member, says he had a parent ask how to become a substitute teacher, but didn’t know how to answer.

Starck says people who have at least a bachelor’s degree can become substitutes, with some training through CESA 10 to get a substitute license.

“I will say DPI (Department of Public Instruction) is continuing to look for more flexibility with that, as all schools are kind of in the same situation that we are,” said Starck.

Starck says those interested in becoming substitutes should contact her, so she can connect them to the appropriate person.

Starck also gave an update on the September student member count, for students who live in the Cadott School District.

“When they are counted, that is part of how we receive our state funding,” said Starck.

The district student population is down nine students. Starck also provided numbers for open-enrollment in, and out of, the district.

“At the time of the September count, we had 65 students who were enrolled in eSucceed full-time,” said Starck, adding those students are considered Cadott students in the count.

Starck also said many districts reported a large decrease in students because of homeschooling. She says the district has 14 students homeschooling this year, compared to about four students in past years.

Board members also had the chance to look at the annual scorecard goals for the 2020-21 school year, since new baseline data became available.

As part of the information, Starck broke down scores on the FastBridge test and how they could use those scores to gauge the work they need to do to increase student achievement. For the FastBridge goal on the scorecard, Starck recommended a growth goal, recognizing the efforts of all students, regardless of if they are proficient in the subject at the test time, as well as a proficiency goal.

Since the scorecard was not slated for action, a vote will take place at a later meeting.

In the business portion of the meeting, members voted in favor of a resolution to refinance bonds, for interest savings.

“The finalized change was a 3 percent interest, to a 1.7 (percent),” said Starck.

Members also voted in favor of a Memorandum of Understanding with Family Therapy Associates.

Starck noted there is no cost for the agreement. The district provides a place to meet on school grounds for students who work with the organization.