District to go with hybrid plan

School Board
Pete Temple
Express Associate Editor

     Both brick-and-mortar and online options will be available for students of the Monticello Community School District when school begins Aug. 24.

     Superintendent Brian Jaeger announced, during the regular meeting of the Monticello School Board June 22, that the district has chosen this “hybrid” option and submitted that as its mandatory Return to Learn plan to the Iowa Department of Education, which was required by July 1.

     Another announcement came to light at the end of Monday’s meeting: Bud Johnson, a board member for seven years, has decided to resign, effective Aug. 24. Johnson cited his desire to spend more time with family in Arizona as the reason for his resignation.

     The hybrid plan for the 2020-21 school year allows flexibility for families during the COVID-19 pandemic to either send their children to school, keep them at home to learn online, or a combination of the two.

     Jaeger said the plan is in draft form for now, and that a complete plan will be brought to the board for possible approval at its July 27 meeting.

     The decision was formed through meetings with nurses, counselors and building leadership teams in the district. An important element, Jaeger said, will be to use the first week of school to teach students how to use the online instruction options in addition to traditional brick-and-mortar learning.

     “We don’t know how many kids will be brick-and-mortar, and how many will stay at home. We’re trying to be really flexible,” Jaeger said. “We want to teach them how to do this, so if we are shut down for a period of time at any time of the year, they can continue learning online.”

     Jaeger added that students will be required to wear masks on school buses. In the classroom, they will have the choice of whether or not to wear a mask.

     Meanwhile, Johnson’s resignation came in the form of a letter he handed to Jaeger to read aloud near the end of the meeting. Johnson’s last meeting will be Aug. 24.

     “My desire to spend more time with my daughter’s family and grandson in Arizona have made it increasingly difficult to be an active member of the board,” Johnson’s letter read in part.

     The letter listed several changes that have taken place in the district in his seven years on the board, but he wrote, “Looking back, my proudest achievement is having Dr. Jaeger be the leader of the Monticello district.”

     “I wasn’t going to be here much next year, and that wasn’t fair to the district,” Johnson said later.

     Jaeger said the district will have 30 days after Johnson’s final meeting to appoint a replacement.

In other board business

     • The board appointed Callie Smith as interim dean of students, continuing a plan that began a year ago.

     • The board approved the staff handbooks for district teachers, administrative staff, support staff, and Panther Academy staff.

     • As part of the consent agenda, the board approved the resignation of Joe Steen from the following positions: alternative high school teacher, varsity girls golf coach, middle school girls basketball coach, middle school boys basketball coach, and middle school cross country coach.

     • As part of the consent agenda, the board approved the appointments of Darren Reade as alternative high school teacher, Pat Kelly as summer food service director, Clarence Goedken as custodian (through August), Sheree Doyle as summer custodian, Brooklyn Steiner as summer Panther Academy associate, Bret McDonald, Tim Lambert and Doug Ries as drivers education teachers; and Caleb Gillmore, Luke Lambert and Riley Norton as summer maintenance workers-mowing.

     • The board approved Portzen Construction Change Ordre #09 in the amount of $2,940.31.


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