Colfax 6th, 7th, 8th grade to share schedule and teachers in 2017-2018 school year

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX — Sixth graders at Colfax Elementary will have the same schedule as grades seven and eight beginning in the fall of the 2017-2018 school year and also will share some of the same teachers.

Sixth grade students will still be part of the elementary school, but the scheduling and the sharing of teachers is a slightly different way of maximizing the school district’s resources, said Bill Yingst, district administrator.

Yingst outlined the plan at the Colfax Board of Education’s May 15 meeting.

[emember_protected] Sixth grade teacher Eve Suckow is retiring, and Ryan Krall has requested moving from the fourth grade to the sixth grade, he said.

“We will try it and see how it works,” Yingst said.

A new curriculum supports the change since the reading and math are more of a sixth through eighth grade focus, he said.

The change is “a numbers driven decision,” Yingst said, noting for the next several years, larger and smaller classes will be coming through, and the school district will have to make adjustments to accommodate the different class sizes.

“We simply are adjusting our staffing by adding the sixth grade to the middle school hourly schedule,” Yingst said in an e-mail response to a question about the numbers of students.

Eighth grade is expected to have two sections with 50 students; seventh grade is expected to have two sections with 52 students; and sixth grade is expected to have three sections with 62 students.

After the next couple of years, the class sizes will stabilize at around 60 in the grade levels, Yingst said.

With Krall moving to sixth grade, that leaves a fourth grade teaching position open, Yingst noted.

As of the May 15 school board meeting, seven or eight applications had been received for the fourth grade teaching position, he said.

The middle school staff for this year includes Tim Devine, literature; Lori Halpin, English; Emilie Hudacek, science; Laura Lowe, science; Carly Rubenzer, special education; and Carl Rudi, mathematics.

In addition to Suckow, Linda Bilodeau also taught sixth grade this year.

Other business

In other business, the Colfax Board of Education:

• Approved a list of summer school staff and summer school bus drivers for the 2017 summer school program. The staff list includes more than 20 instructors, and the list of school bus drivers includes nearly 20 names.

• Approved hiring the following people as swimming staff for the 2017 summer swimming program: Vicki Seston (instructor/coordinator); Ally Heidorn (instructor); Allison Hinrichs (instructor); Melissa Nehm (instructor); Tucker Hovde (aide); Trenton Anderson and Jacob Jensen (aides and locker room supervisors).

• Approved Student Assurance Services as the student sports insurance provider for the Colfax school district. The district has had this insurance for many years, and it covers the middle school and high school athletics and also is offered to families, Yingst said. “It’s very economical for families,” he said.

• Approved WEA Trust as the health insurance provider for the school district. “Mostly because they are the only one who will bid on us, so we have no one else to choose from,” Yingst said.

• Approved Delta Dental as the dental insurance provider for the school district. “They have very good rates and good service. We have no reason to change,” Yingst said.

• Accepted the resignation of Brianne Link, high school special education teacher.

In closed session, Yingst reported, the compensation plan was approved as presented. [/emember_protected]