Schools face challenges ahead |

Schools face challenges ahead

by Merrie Leininger

MINDEN – The year 2000 will usher in a whole new set of challenges for the Douglas County School District.

“I think it will be an exciting year full of a lot of hard work and challenges,” Superintendent Pendery Clark said. “I’m excited to see us actually begin the program to identify those 10th-graders who need help and which ones are well above (requirements). It will be nice to have the names and faces of those who will be the first in the program.”

She said after planning for the change to a competency-based system for about 10 years, the district will finally be able to set the plan in motion.

How grades are reported and how the schools communicate with parents is a major concern. An implementation task force is currently revamping the report card sent home with secondary students, said Roy Casey, assistant superintendent of student services.

Clark said an important part of the system is using personalized education plans for students who are behind and might not graduate. Each student will complete a plan for their high school career and through the year after graduation. Those personalized education plans will be tried this year with the sophomores.

“If a student is at risk of not graduating they can also come and meet with a counselor and develop a plan how they would get caught up,” Clark said.

Casey said the schools will also focus on providing help to students whether those students have exceeded the requirements or need extra help.

“The district did secure funding to offer before and after school labs and tutorials to students. There will also be extended activities such as Saturday and summer school. We will not only focus on credit recovery, but now focus on proficiency,” he said.

Casey said the district hopes to have school labs that will allow students to receive extra help in areas such as word processing, writing and career planning.

Assistant Superintendent of Personnel John Soderman is putting together a program to identify staff members who want to go into administration or have started coursework toward their master’s degrees in administration, Clark said.