School Board alters start dates

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 29, 2020

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RESERVE — The St. John the Baptist Parish School Board voted Thursday to alter school start dates for the 2020-2021 school year in light of orientation delays from hurricanes Marco and Laura.

Teacher professional development, rescheduled orientations and laptop distribution will take place from Aug. 28 through Sept. 2. All students who were scheduled to pick up a laptop or attend orientation from Aug. 24-27 should check their school website for rescheduled pick-up/orientation dates.

The first day of school for virtual students in first through 12th grades will be Thursday, Sept. 3, and classes will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Superintendent Dr. Lynett Hookfin suggested virtual students starting classes first so teachers can get acclimated to using the technology before balancing in-person and virtual students at the same time.

The first day for hybrid students at East St. John, West St. John and STEM will also be Sept. 3. However, the classes will take place online only from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sept. 3-8. After the first week of classes, hybrid students will have three days of distance learning and two days of in-person learning per week.

The first day for traditional students in first through third grades will be Wednesday, Sept. 9. These students will report to school five days per week.

The remaining hybrid students in first through fourth grade will return to school starting on Thursday, Sept. 10 (Gold platoon in person, green online).

The first day for pre-K, head start and kindergarten students will be Monday, Sept. 14. Dr. Juanita Hill said kindergarten evaluations will take place the week before the district’s youngest students start school.

The St. John School Board also approved the 2020-2021 Pupil Progression Plan, which included some changes from the previous school year.

Due to the COVID-19 school closures during the Spring 2020 semester, requirements for end-of-year assessments have been waived for prospective 2021 seniors only. Under normal circumstances, a 2019-2020 junior would have needed to complete these assessments to be classified as a senior for the 2020-2021 school year.

“Those who were supposed to test in the spring didn’t get a chance to test, so that was waived so those students could be classified as seniors,” Dr. Hill said.

There was also verbiage added to address nontraditional courses. According to the new Pupil Progression Plan additions, courses taught online or through blended learning must have “ongoing and regular teacher-initiated interaction for the purpose of teaching, evaluating and providing assistance throughout the duration of the course.” This may include videoconferencing, online chats, phone calls and feedback on assignments.

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