JACKSON, Wyo. — The Teton County School District No. 1 Board of Trustees voted 5-2 on Feb. 18 to transition Jackson Hole Middle School and Jackson Hole High School students to a Monday-Thursday in-class learning schedule. Fridays will continue to be a remote planning day for students and teachers.
The new in-class format will begin April 12, the first day back to school after spring break. Currently, High School and Middle School students are broken down into two cohorts, A and B, with one cohort attending school on Monday and Wednesday and the other attending on Tuesday and Thursdays, with Fridays being fully remote.
During the over two-hour long virtual meeting, the board discussed returning to school as early as March.1, virtual options, and suggesting a buffer schedule following spring break. Parents and teachers also provided public comments and shared their concerns surrounding virtual learning, spring break, and COVID-19 transmissions.
“With half the planning time, our lessons become half as effective to our students, so shoving all the students in the classroom every day with half the planning time would not necessarily create a better education for our students,” said fifth-grade teacher and parent, Christina Montiel.
Montiel went on to describe her concerns as an educator, “I was in a parent-teacher conference tonight with four teachers, and three out of the four teachers have already had the coronavirus and some of them are still dealing with the lasting effects of that virus, living with it every day. We are doing a lot and pushing through a lot trying to give the best to our students and I just hope that the community can recognize that and appreciate it.” Other parents shared concerns about spring break travel and possible COVID-19 transmissions with all students returning to in-person learning.
Trustee Scarlett, “As much as I want to start yesterday, I would be perfectly willing to go April, 12th, four days a week. I am comfortable with that for the other schools, at the same time I don’t think we need to have much of a conversation about k-5. I think we can just maintain that schedule, as it is, its been successful, and don’t mess with success.”
Scarlett presented the motion, with Trustees Janine Bay Teske, Keith Gingery, Betsy Carlin, and Jennifer Zung in favor.
Trustee Kate Mead and Alan Brumsted voted no. During the discussion, Trustee Brumsted said, “I’m more inclined to stay the course until the end of the year, to not change things but just to say this is what we’ve been doing this is what the students and staff are running on, and they’ve had the practice of one semester of it.” Trustee Mead suggested the cohorts remain intact with cohorts meeting on Fridays every other week to increase in-person learning to 3-days per week every other week, a model presented by Superintendent, Gillian Chapman.
The board may discuss elementary schedules at their March 10 regular meeting.
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