The Duneland School
Board approved prescheduled eLearning days for the first time at its meeting
days, where students are expected to work from home with online lessons and
assignments, are as follows: Tuesday, Sept. 11; Wednesday, Oct. 17; Tuesday,
Nov. 6; Wednesday, Dec. 12; Wednesday, April 3; and Tuesday, May 7.
eLearning applies to all students, K-12, but participation in the first two
days will be optional, according to Superintendent Dr. Ginger Bolinger.
Two of the
eLearning days-- Nov. 6 and May 7--are election days. On the remaining four
days, employees will still be at the schools participating in professional
development. Teachers will be given dedicated time during those days to
check their emails and be available to answer questions from students.
Board Secretary Ron
Stone asked how students with no internet or unreliable connections can
complete their work on the eLearning days. Duneland Schools IT Director
Kevin Wilson answered that lessons and assignments will be prepopulated onto
students’ devices before the students leave the day before. Assignments also
won’t be due on the eLearning day. “There’s a little bit of a grace period
to work with some of those technical problems that arise.”
“I’ve always liked
the idea of having it on a snow day,” Stone said. Unexpected eLearning days
probably won’t be called this year for inclement weather, but it could be
possible in the future, Bolinger said, though snow days can be made up with
eLearning days. Bolinger gave the example that the first day of spring break
could be scheduled as an eLearning day instead of bringing students in for a
make-up day following a closure.
Wilson said he is
preparing various forms of communication to provide parents with information
on eLearning days. He’s working on scheduling open houses that focus on
eLearning at each school, and two of his employees are working closely with
principals to coordinate those efforts.
Kristin Kroeger was unsure of holding separate open houses in addition to
parent teacher conferences and the regular open house. “Speaking as a
parent, we go to the CHS open house, but to have to go back and talk about
eLearning? I’m not sure that’d be high on my to do list.”
Wilson said he
hopes to eliminate the burden of making it to an open house by recording the
open houses and posting videos online so parents can watch at their own pace
at any time and refer back. Kroeger thought that was a good idea.
“Despite our best
efforts, no matter how well we communicate, this is the first year. We’re
gonna have problems. There’s gonna be an adjustment period,” Board President
John Marshall said.
“We’re gonna play
this and make sure that we take good notes and make good decisions for the
following year,” said Bolinger.
The Board also
talked about several financial matters Tuesday. Bolinger recommended, and
the Board subsequently approved, a two percent pay raise for all Duneland
administrators and classified employees starting in the 2018-2019 school
Employees must have
worked 65 percent of the 2017-2018 school year and received an effective or
highly effective rating on their evaluations to benefit from the raise.
Administrators who started over the summer will start at the new rate. A two
percent raise is a change from last year, when employees received a flat
The Board will save
money on its Liberty Mutual insurance premium, managed by Anton Insurance.
Anton Insurance was able to secure a reduction of $24,721 in the annual
premium. The savings prompted the Board to invest in cyber liability
coverage for $16,059.
Vice-president Brandon Kroft said the additional protection was a “no
brainer” since buying it still leaves Duneland with a reduction of over
$8,000 on the premium. Bolinger said the new coverage is an added layer of
protection for Duneland’s data. “I’ve heard of schools in other states
having their data held hostage. We’re doing our best to mitigate those
The Board opted to
renew its vending contract with Pepsi, with one change. Cafeteria water
sales will not be governed by Pepsi, as water can be bought and sold at a
cheaper price. Bolinger said cafeteria sales were excluded from the contract
because it “directly impacts students,” noting that bottled water from a
Pepsi vending machine is two dollars. The sponsorship from Pepsi nets
$9,030, which Bolinger says is disbursed to the schools and used to “do a
number of things for faculty and students.”
Bolinger made a
reminder to the community that school for all students begins Monday, August
13. She asked that residents be mindful of students walking to school and
patient with bus traffic as the school year begins.