Local education — ODE approves the ?district's request to delay the installation of a new high school schedule for one year

In completing its Division 22 report this spring, the Newberg School District uncovered that its high school schedule did not meet the state standard of 130 classroom hours.

But because student forecasting had already been done in January and there was not enough time to involve parents and students in crafting a new schedule, the district requested a waiver to keep its current block-scheduling format for the 2014-2015 school year.

The State Board of Education informed Super­in­tendent Kym LeBlanc-Esparza, who filed the request May 23, via email June 20 that the waiver has been granted.

In the request, LeBlanc-Esparza explained that a large committee, which was headed by Blue School principal Dan Malone, was convened to explore potential schedules that would bring the high school into compliance with state standards.

The committee met for more than 10 hours and identified possible schedules that would comply, but did not feel comfortable moving forward without input from parents and students.

“Given the history of high school schedule change in the Newberg School District” it would be disrespectful and politically insensitive to leave these important stakeholders out of the decision making process,” the letter states. “There simply is not enough time to provide them the opportunity to participate and still execute a major change in schedule that ultimately may impact staffing, student forecasting, contracts, etc.”

The letter also notes that the high school will transition away from its current leadership format during the 2014-2015 school year, having hired Mark Risen to serve as the lead principal with three assistant principals.

“The staff, the Newberg School District Board of Education and I all believe that the school needs more time to design an appropriate bell schedule that allows us to rebuild class structures to best meet the needs of our students as well as state requirements effectively,” the letter stated.

District spokeswoman Claudia Stewart said work on building the new schedule will begin in the fall, but that the district is not required to submit their plan to the state.

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