Superintendent's District Update

The Falls City Public Schools held its regular monthly board meeting on November 9, 2020. Here are the highlights of the meeting.

FCPS to Operate Under Orange Plan Safety Protocols - As of Monday, November 16, all FCPS buildings will be operating under our Orange plan safety protocols.  In an effort to keep our students in on site learning, we will need your cooperation with enforcing strict protocols to minimize the spread of COVID-19.  Face coverings or masks will be required at all times for staff, students and visitors within school buildings or on busses.  Parents will be expected to continue monitoring their students for any COVID-19 related symptoms and enforcing any recommendations for isolation or quarantine. Furthermore, we’re calling on all students and staff to Avoid the Three Cs: 1) crowded places, 2) close contacts, and 3) confined spaces.  Avoid gathering in groups where you can’t maintain six-feet distance from others.  Let’s do our part to keep the kids in class, our Tigers in the game, and our school in session. Don’t let any more memories be taken away from these kids. We all want the same thing, a return to normalcy. The only way to get there is by navigating this path together.

Nebraska Association of School Boards (NASB), Board of Directors and staff, are recognizing the 2020 Award of Achievement recipients during November this year. NASB is a private, nonprofit organization that serves the needs of Nebraska public school districts and Educational Service Unit board members.  Nebraska’s 1,700 school board members from across the state may participate in board development training throughout the year by attending workshops and conferences to help strengthen their role in governance, legislative advocacy, and stewardship of district resources in support of student achievement.  In recognition of their volunteer time and commitment to education, the Association commends continued participation and growth in knowledge and best practice governance.  Through the Awards of Achievement program, the following board members are being recognized at the November 9 board meeting for their outstanding excellence: Kevin Scheitel, Level II; Richard Malcolm, Level IV.

Educators Health Alliance Approves 2.96% Increase in Rates - There will be an overall increase of 2.96 percent in premiums next year for the medical and dental insurance plans used by nearly every Nebraska school district, following action by the Educators Health Alliance (EHA), a consortium of three statewide public school groups that manages the plan.  Medical insurance rates for active employees will increase 3.06 percent. Dental rates for all employees and retirees will remain unchanged from the 2020-21 rate level. When the 2021-2022 plan year begins next Sept. 1, it will mark the 19th consecutive rate increase of less than 10 percent. The average annual increase over the past ten years has been 4.1 percent. An alternate network product offering will be expanded in the 2021-22 plan year to all districts in areas of the state where network competition is possible. FCPS will be eligible for this new option.

Continuous School Improvement at FCPS will be a priority as the district prepares to host an external visit as part of the NDE Rule 10 requirements. The overall purpose of an external team visit is to assist our district in selecting or fulfilling continuous improvement goals and plans by adding an outside, objective view of the continuous improvement procedures of the school. There is a degree of validation of the work of local committees, but the primary purpose is to enlist the professional advice of colleagues from outside the district. The relationship is therefore collegial, not supervisory nor evaluative. It should result in an increased depth of understanding for moving forward to achieve school improvement goals. The Falls City Public Schools external visit will be February 9-10, 2021. The appointed external team leader will be Dr. Christopher Prososki, Superintendent of Southern Public School. There will also be five additional members of the external team. The external visit will be planned as an on-site visit where all team members are at the school fully participating in the visit. An alternative plan will be a remote visit, in the event we will not be able to have outside guests within our district. Grade-level teachers have been asked to collect a fall and spring writing sample from each student in preparation for the visit.

Flexibilities for Instructional Hours Granted to Schools - The NDE Commissioner is providing reasonable flexibility for school systems and school districts as it relates to instructional hours. School systems and school districts may utilize instructional hours for additional professional learning, teacher and/or staff work time, or time for teachers to consult with parents/caregivers. Up to 12 hours per quarter (or 24 hours per semester or 48 hours per school year) may be used for those purposes. These hours will be used throughout the 2020-2021 school year and are not intended to shorten the semester or the school year. In response to the need for our educators to better serve students learning in-person, virtually, or in a hybrid setting, an amended school calendar was approved by the Board of Education to add an additional six, 2-hour early-out dismissals to the remainder of the 2020-2021 school calendar.

The District 56 Board of Education acted on several items before concluding the regular meeting.

1. Approved Final Reading on Policy Reviews and Revisions: 1) 1110 Mission Statement; 2) 1111 Philosophy and Goals; 3) 1112 Vision and Belief Statements.
2. Approved the 2020-2021 School Calendar Amendment.
3. Received the School District Audit and Financial Report, August 31, 2020.
4. Approved the Orange Plan Safety Protocols to begin November 16 in all FCPS buildings.

The next regular monthly Board of Education meeting is scheduled for December 14, 2020 at 6:00 P.M. in the Central Office in Falls City Middle School. Regular and special meeting agendas are kept in the Office of the Superintendent, Tim Heckenlively.

Falls City Public School District does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, age, genetic information, citizenship status or economic status in its programs, activities and employment.