by freshman Katelynn Pint Hudson High School students, senior Hannah Lentfer and 2014 graduate Courtney Petersen, were featured in the 2014 issue of the Best of The High School Press. The Best of the High School Press is a publication […]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE HUDSON, Iowa—Twenty-seven FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL) teams participated in the Hudson FLL Local on Friday, November 21st, at Hudson Middle School. Teams attended the Local to prepare for FLL Regional Qualifiers in early December. Each team was […]
Submitted by Dennis Deppe: Seven members of the Hudson FFA Chapter represented Iowa in three Career Development Event (CDE) competitions at the National FFA Convention in Louisville, Kentucky, from October 28 through November 1. “Each competed against teams or individuals […]
Hudson High School presents Beauty and the Beast Lights, camera, action! The most beautiful love story ever told comes to life on the stage at Hudson High School. The Hudson Music Department will present the musical “Beauty and the Beast” […]
Submitted by Joletta Yoder: The Hudson Journalism Program continued its tradition of excellence by winning numerous awards from the Iowa High School Press Association. In the annual On-The-Spot Photography Competition held at the state journalism conference, Hudson once again took […]
Submitted by Anne Britson: If you get a chance, you are encouraged to stop up and see the Sir Readalot Castle book fair in the 2nd floor multipurpose room. The decorations are outstanding and each classroom decorated banners for their classroom. […]
Voss Blog Log
Educational Issues in Iowa Public Schools.
The administrators in the district along with the faculty and staff are used to asking a question and then me saying something like, 'let me think about that'. I believe that rushed decisions can often turn out to be the wrong decision. The bigger the decision, more time is usually necessary to ensure the right decision is made. This same principle holds true for the Board of Directors. It is a rare occurrence when issues (other than items of routine business) come to the Board with an expectation that a decision be made right then at the table. Many times, these issues are discussed and debated for months before the vote is finally cast. When pressed for an immediate decision, I will often say, 'I can give you an answer right now, but you are probably not going to like what I decide'. That's not to say that you won't like my ultimate decision, but I will have had the opportunity to carefully think through the implications!
For those reasons, it would be wise for our state policymakers to use the gift of time themselves, and remember that we need this gift of time in order to ensure that the decisions made in our local districts are properly vetted with input from multiple perspectives. Let me give you an example where local school districts are being rushed to make decisions they may not otherwise make.
The recent (rushed) decision by the Department of Education to change the way that early start waivers are granted in regard to each districts academic calendar is problematic on multiple fronts. It is the middle of December, and we just learned that this is changing! If school districts haven't already made decisions on the start of the 2015-2016 school year, then they are most likely already working on their calendar. Just to be clear, the Hudson Board of Directors has not seen any drafts of our academic calendar for the 2015-2016 school year, but we have already started those discussions. Over a two week period, I asked for input from our faculty, staff, and administrators for the 2015-2016 school year. Using that input, I crafted 4 different calendar scenarios for the 2015-2016 school year. All will require an early start waiver, yet with the announcement that came on December 12 will prove to be an exercise in futility and an incredible waste of time. Apparently that input from stakeholders and the work already put in doesn't seem to matter. Normally, those draft calendars would be presented to the Board for input and discussion in January. After receiving direction and input, a public hearing would be set for February where final action would be taken. All of that will be on hold until at least January when additional guidance comes out from the Department that identifies what constitutes a 'significant negative educational impact'.
Even though this will result in a loss of precious time, we are probably not as frustrated as some. Think about those school districts who have completed the process! Those who have already adopted calendars for the 2015-2016 school year will now have to start over completely from scratch! Talk about an incredible time waster!
If it is necessary to re-examine how early start waivers are granted, why not delay this until the 2016-2017 school year? Not only would this honor the time that local districts have already invested in calendar development for the 2015-2016 school year, it would also allow the Department of Education to use the gift of time and gather input from local school districts on how best to grant these waivers. Usually when a new administrative rule is proposed, local schools are given the opportunity to provide input into that rule making process. Remember what I opined above about the importance of taking time to make decisions, thus ensuring the decision that is made is properly vetted with input from various stakeholders?
To me, this most certainly seems like a rushed decision.