DeKALB – The school day within DeKalb School District 428 might get a makeover ahead of the next school year.
District 428 Superintendent Jamie Craven discussed during the school board meeting Tuesday the possibility of enacting remote student engagement days next school year that would be scheduled at the same time as parent-teacher conferences. He said that is because the Illinois State Board of Education used to count two full-day parent-teacher conferences as full attendance days, but those conference days no longer count as attendance days.
Craven said the district recently received an ISBE memo that was meant to offer guidance for school districts to build their school calendars for the 2019-20 school year. He said the state board got rid of a requirement that students be in their seats, in their classrooms, at least five hours a day, leaving it up to districts to make their own policy.
“They’re really opening it up for us for some potentially positive change,” Craven said.
Craven said learning in this day and age can happen anytime and anywhere, especially with the district being a 1-to-1 student-to-computer or tablet district for third grade and up. He said students from kindergarten through second grade could just bring a packet home that is meant to be completed during the student engagement day.
District 428 chief technology officer Ben Bayle said the district has partnerships with local businesses, the library and other public Wi-Fi locations that allow internet access for students that might not have Wi-Fi at home.
“If a student were to walk into McDonald’s and don’t necessarily buy a soda pop or something like that, they won’t be chased out,” Bayle said.
Craven said the district has a year to talk with teachers and administrators about what those types of instructional days would look like. He said the hope is for the board to be able to take action on the item at a meeting in the near future.