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School board OKs school calendars

A new calendar and school day schedule for the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 school years were approved by the Fort Dodge Community School District Board of Education on Monday night.

Superintendent Dr. Jesse Ulrich told the board that his least favorite thing his job requires is the calendar.

“The reason is that there is no perfect calendar and everybody has an opinion about what the school year should look like,” he explained. “So what we’ve tried to do is garner stakeholder feedback and try to propose the best, optimal calendar to meet the needs of our kiddos.”

The start and end dates of the school year will remain around the same time as the current school year, starting in late August and ending in late May.

“The biggest change instructionally for students and families is the addition of instructional time for students,” Ulrich said.

At the elementary level, there will be an additional 25 minutes of instructional time each day, as the school day will run from 8 a.m. to 3:10 p.m. For the middle school, an additional 15 minutes will be added for a day that runs 8 a.m. to 3:05 p.m. The high school will run 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“This additional instructional time will provide us flexibility at the end of the school year,” Ulrich explained.

If there are snow days during the year, this new schedule will give the district flexibility on the number of days students will have to make up at the end of the school year.

The calendars also include professional development days and a teacher work day for staff.

In other business, the board approved the purchase of a K-4 grade Expeditionary Learning Curriculum, 5th grade language arts curriculum and a 6-8 grade Expeditionary Learning Curriculum. The board also approved the purchase of a transitional kindergarten English language arts curriculum, the first curriculum purchased for the district’s TK program.

The board passed a resolution tentatively approving the plans, specifications and cost estimate for the Fort Dodge Central Office and Maintenance Facility Project, setting a date for a public hearing and opening up bids for the project.

The project, which is a full renovation of the district-owned former Hy-Vee building at 109 N. 25th St. to be the district’s new central offices and maintenance facility, is set to start this spring.

While the plans are not yet finalized, the project is estimated to cost around $4.6 million.

Once the district’s central administration moves to this new remodeled facility, its current home, the former Arey Elementary School, will go under renovation to turn it into an Early Childhood Center.

The hearing on the project will be at 6 p.m. on Feb. 10 at the current Central Administration Building.

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