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Superintendent's District Update - June 2020


The Falls City Public Schools held the regular School Board Meeting on June 8, 2020. Here are the highlights of the meeting.


Required annual policy hearings:  The Board of Education conducted public hearings and a review on several policies requiring an opportunity for annual public input and review. Those specific board policies included 1) 7111 Attendance and Excessive Absenteeism; 2) 7142 Bullying; 3) 7500 Student Fees; 4) 8310 Parental Involvement; 5) 8312 District Title I Parental Involvement and Engagement


Transportation Director’s Report presented by Rob Baker provided a review of the District 56 transportation fleet for the 2019-2020 school year. The eight rural bus routes traveled 72,189 miles during the last school year, compared to 92,770 in 2018-2019. The reduction in route miles directly relates to the COVID-19 school closure. On average, the district’s bus routes transported 305 students on a daily basis to and from school.  Over the past school year, District 56 students were transported to 277 school activities, compared to 349 in 2018-2019, covering 32,050 miles. Rob Baker emphasized the impact of COVID-19 requiring the cancellation of 62 activity trips. Furthermore, the Grab & Go Meal Program provided employment opportunities for bus drivers during the school closure as meals were delivered to the rural areas of School District 56. Upon the conclusion of Rob Baker’s final FCPS transportation report for his career, Rob Baker was presented an appreciation plaque from Superintendent Tim Heckenlively, recognizing his 32-years of supervising the school district's pupil transportation program.


Rob Baker and Superintendent Tim Heckenlively 


            Re-Opening Schools Planning Underway – FCPS Superintendent Tim Heckenlively, in coordination with the Nebraska Rural Community Schools Association (NRCSA) is participating on a committee of rural school superintendents to create a guidance document for schools re-opening in the fall of 2020. There are a lot of areas that need to be looked at and discussed as schools plan to reopen the doors for all students and staff on August 13th. We understand this will be guidance only and not steadfast requirements as all rural school will need to be making decisions locally as permitted based on the community health situation at the time and addressing CDC school opening guidance.

 As the state begins to return to learning facilities and in-person, the Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) is also sharing health guidance on summer programming and beyond in a document know as Launch Nebraska. In all recommendations, the priority remains the safety and well-being of all students, educators, staff, and community members. Restrictions may be gradually reduced over the summer, allowing greater flexibility for summer programming in schools.  

Under the current DHM guidelines, student groups returned to the FCPS facilities on June 1 for high school and middle school strength and conditioning, and June 8 for elementary in-person summer school. School staff has welcomed the opportunity to get kids back in the school.


            High School Graduation Plan 2020 provides general guidance for the Falls City High School graduation ceremony during the continuing threat of COVID-19 and is not interpreted as a diminution of the threat of the virus. The current and statewide Directed Health Measure (DHM) Order 2020-011 addresses both “gatherings” and “school activities”. The Governor has issued changes updating the Directed Health Measures allowing graduations to happen under the “Gatherings” portion of the DHM after June 1. The Falls City Public Schools will be following the Governor’s and Nebraska Department of Education Commissioner’s guidance regarding graduation ceremonies.  We will not exceed 25% of rated occupancy of Jug Brown Stadium (400),  and information regarding the ceremony, statements of personal responsibility of those attending, and expectations have been shared with parents and posted on the school website and social media accounts. FCPS graduates are limited to a maximum of 8 guests, including immediate family, and will sit in the stadium distanced from other families. Facemasks are encouraged but not required. Fellowship, social gatherings, or other functions before or after the ceremony on school grounds will not be permitted. Large graduation parties are discouraged at this time due to DHM Phase II recommendations. Graduation will be June 20th, at 2:00 PM in Jug Brown Stadium. The FCPS graduation plan approved by Grant Brueggemann of the SEDHD, provides the best opportunity to keep our students, staff, parents, and community safe.


The District 56 Board of Education acted on several items during the board meeting.


1.     Approved the final reading on Board Policy Reviews and Revisions: 1) 7111 Attendance and Excessive Absenteeism; 2) 7142 Bullying; 3) 6112 Evaluation of Certificated Employees.


2.     Reaffirmed Annual Policy Reviews: 1) 7500 Student Fees; 2) 8310 Parental Involvement; 3) 8312 District Title I Parental Involvement and Engagement


3.     Accepted with gratitude the Resignation of Tutti Baker, School Bus Driver and special education paraeducator – 20 years with FCPS.


4.     Approved the annual curriculum and technology purchasing for 2020-2021.


The next regular monthly Board of Education meeting is scheduled for July 13, 2020 at 7:00 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.