Co-principles here another year

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The interim principals at Paris High School will be returning for another year, the Paris Cooperative Board of Directors announced Monday, Dec. 10.

Co-principals Carol Jones and Lorraine Bailey were each awarded a one-year contract to continue at the high school. The two women — each retired from administrative posts in Paris 95 or Crestwood — were hired as shared administrators following the resignation of principal/director Dave Meister.

Jones reported on the new state law redefining a school day, noting the Illinois State Board of Education previously required five clock hours. Jones said the state still requires a school calendar to total 185 days with 176 being instructional. Paris 95 and Crestwood currently have 175 instructional days, she said. “There will have to be some adjustments made,” Jones noted.

Perhaps the best thing regards scheduling for Paris High School, Jones said. “We will have a lot of flexibility with at risk students, especially those who have to work,” she noted.

Any changes in the calendar requires approval by the high school teacher union, Jones reminded the board. “I think in the long run it’s going to be a good thing,” she said.

Crestwood Superintendent of School Danette Young cautioned board members the state could still reverse its position to require five clock hours. “There’s a new governor coming to Springfield,” she said.

Paris 95 Superintendent of Schools Jeremy Larson said the purpose of good attendance is good academic outcomes. It is important to coordinate all experiences for students whether it be online or at home. “Students must be actively involved in learning,” he said.

If students aren’t present at school, they are not learning. “We need a good model for instruction,” Larson said. “At the end of the day, our goal is to teach kids.”

Larson also reported the high school has received preliminary approval from the ISBE to establish an Alternative Learning Opportunities Program (ALOP). “We need something different,” he said, noting there are presently PHS students who must work to pay rent. “They shouldn’t have to drop out,” he said.

The program will likely be an expansion of the APEX learning program, he said, and hopefully will start second semester. There are 32 school districts in Illinois offering the ALOP program.

“This will allow a flexible schedule,” Larson said, noting a student who works early morning can attend in the afternoon or those who work in the afternoon can attend in the morning

The basis of beginning the ALOP, Larson explained, began simply by answering the question, “How do we support students who are not academically at risk but are dropping out because of work responsibilities,” he said. Those students who already have dropped out could join the program and recover credits for graduation.

PHS assistant principal Mark Cox added it is likely the new program will also free up space in the current APEX program.

Larson said the program can handle 10-20 students overall.

In other business, the board:

-Heard the high school is working to re-bid insurance contracts.

-Accepted the resignation of teacher Landon Stewart effective December 20.