Board of Education discusses changes, reflects on past year

Bella Greenspan

On Oct. 19, Stevenson’s Board of Education held a board meeting in the administration building to discuss a multitude of changes for the next school year and reflect on Stevenson’s past year.

In an effort to better accommodate the needs of the students, the Board of Education presented the possibility of a major change in the schedule and calendar.  

The new bell schedule would start school at 8:35 a.m. instead of the usual 8:05 a.m. Each period would consist of 47 minutes, with first period being 51 minutes to count for the morning announcements.

In an unanimous vote, all board members were in favor of the changes on Stevenson’s schedule and the change concerning the calendar, which moves finals to before winter break. After the vote, principal Troy Gobble further explained what the new schedule and calendar would mean for the school and students.

“We’d only be losing about less than two minutes a day,” Gobble said. “We won’t have a second day of the week schedule anymore, but there still will be activity, assembly and late arrival schedules. I think we will definitely be able to get work done in this amount of time.”

The new schedule not only gives students more free time in the morning, but it also provides an opportunity for teachers to meet with their respective teams as well as students.

The other major change is the Three Year Calendar Plan, which implements numerous changes to the school calendar.  This includes having finals before winter break and starting school three days earlier than normal. In three years, the board would reflect back on the calendar change and decide if it’s something that should be a permanent change.

“The real reasons why we’re doing this is to give kids a full and real break where they have time off from their classes,” Gobble said. “We know kids lose knowledge over breaks, and we wanted to change that.”

These new changes in the daily schedule and yearly calendar will be set in place during the 2016-2017 school year.

These public board meetings occur every month and are always open to any members of the community. Board members stress how important it is to them that people come to watch these meetings not just for the experience but to know what goes on in the community.

Members on the board include Merv Roberts, Sunit Jain, Gary Gorson, David Weisberg, secretary Terry Moons, superintendent Eric Twadell, vice president Steven Frost, Director Bruce Lubin and Troy Gobble. Together, this group of people make important decisions regarding Stevenson.  

“We have a wonderful board,” Gobble said. “They’re so thoughtful, and they ask a lot of great questions. I always learn something everytime I go.

In only two hours, these meetings have to cover a lot of presentations and information. The first thing that always occurs during these meetings is a student reflection from the Student Council.

A member of the Student Council, usually a senior, comes to these meetings and informs the board on what’s been happening with students at Stevenson. At this particular meeting, the Student Council representative reflected on Homecoming, talked about a new idea being implemented to endorse school spirit and gave some overall student feedback on the new AP Government class.

Next, the board moved on to honor nine students with the Ambassador Awards.

“Our Ambassador Awards are an opportunity for us to recognize some of our students for outstanding achievements,” Superintendent Eric Twadell said. “They’re the highest honor our school and school board can give in recognition of a student’s success.”

At this meeting, the nine student’s receiving the award were being honored for receiving a perfect score on their ACT.

Every month, the board has an opportunity to hear from one of Stevenson’s curriculum teams. This month, the Board of Fine Arts came to discuss the shift they’re taking in their classes from formative assessment to social emotional learning.

“We feel that this is something very natural, and just an inherent part of our curriculum,” said Director of Fine Arts, John Grice

Along with the implementation of Evidence Based Reporting (EBR) and Social Emotional Learning (SEL) , the Fine Arts team was excited to introduce a new class called Music Industry and Production, which Gobble liked to call the “school of rock” class.

After the presentation by the Fine Arts Department, Anthony Reibel, Director of Assessment, Research, Evaluation and Curriculum, gave a report on student achievement, educational planning and assessment tests Stevenson was planning on implementing for the 2015-2016 year.

This presentation led directly to the anticipated vote for the new schedule and three year calendar which includes having finals before winter break.