Published On: Thu, May 8th, 2014

School feasibility study meeting to be here on Thursday

A community meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 8, to share information on the five-school merger feasibility study. The meeting will take place in the school gym at 7:30 p.m.

A merger among five schools — Creighton, Osmond, Plainview, Bloomfield and Wausa — has been designed for study. A number of scenarios in grouping the schools are in the plan.

A committee meeting was held in Osmond on April 23. The group visited with Dr. Michael Chipps of Northeast Community College (NECC) in Norfolk on possibilities in which that school could provide benefits to the high schools.

Dr. Chipps expressed the interest of NECC being involved in the process from the beginning.  He explained the mission of NECC, and how that fits with the possibilities being considered by the five districts.  It was stressed that the process should be approached as providing opportunities for students. The curriculum needs to be in place on the front end and commended the boards for inviting NECC in so early. Mary Honke discussed providing all students opportunities to develop the career path appropriate for each one, and that all career paths need to be equally valued. The curriculum should be developed to meet the needs of all students. John Blaylock discussed curriculum development and how NECC is already partnering with these districts to provide dual and college credit classes to students through the early entry program. He discussed how this could continue and be improved, including stackable credentialing which provides education and training in an area and includes multiple exit points along the way. There was some discussion of the early entry credits transferring to other two- and four-year colleges, not only to NECC.

Several board members from the five communities expressed excitement in the involvement of NECC and the opportunities it could represent for students as well as for economic development.   Mr. Marks expressed the need to do the process correctly.  It is a big endeavor and needs to be handled in the right way.

The board agreed that they wanted NECC to be involved in the process from the beginning.  And NECC expressed their interest in being a part as well.

There was discussion of informing the communities in order to help them understand the process and to keep our focus on students.  How to keep communities informed and how to present a uniform message to all communities was also discussed.

It was suggested that a list of questions and answers be developed to help in communicating with the communities.

There was discussion about looking into finding a facilitator or consultant who has been through this process somewhere else to help identify the necessary steps and appropriate timelines.

There was discussion of putting together a group of administrators and teachers this summer to begin to look at curriculum and developing outlines.  NECC would host this meeting.

It was decided that at the June board meeting each board would decide whether or not to invest $10,000 to continue in the process. The language for the use of the funds would be general and could include curriculum work and looking for a consultant to assist with the process as well as any other expenses that may be incurred in carrying out the process.  All five boards would make the same motion at the June meeting.  Each district plans to hold a community meeting before that June meeting in order to inform the community of the process so far.