Seeking a new replacement

Evart High School principal candidate pulls out prior to board approval

By Emily Nummer Special to the Herald Review

EVART — One of the items on the agenda for a special meeting of the Evart Public School board Monday was the approval of the new principal for Evart High School. Instead of a vote, however, the board received a disappointing report from Superintendent Shirley Howard.

“Jonathan Good called me at about 8:30 this morning to tell me he’s not accepting the position now,” she said. “So our search goes back to the drawing board.”

Alan Bengry, school board president, was present in the administrative office when Howard received the call that Good would be accepting a position on the other side of the state, closer to where he grew up, instead of starting work for the high school effective Monday evening.

“It was highly disappointing to be here when the phone call came,” he said.

The search committee met for an emergency meeting Tuesday to discuss whether they will select another candidate from the existing pool of applicants or begin the process of searching for a new principal again. Ultimately, the decision was made to select from the existing pool of candidates following another round of interviews, according to Howard.

“We are going to re-interview some candidates,” she said. “Hopefully, interviews will begin by the end of the week.”

In other business, Howard discussed the calendar for the 2016-17 school year, which will soon be released to the public.

“I’m very happy to report that we do have a calendar for the coming school year,” she said. “I appreciate the teachers’ cooperation in getting one together.”

One of the changes this year is that the district will be starting school before Labor Day, Howard said.

“Actually, our first teacher day will be on August 23 with the open house,” she said.

In addition to the changes to the start dates, the district is moving away from the use of late starts and switching to early releases instead.

“We are not having late starts this year; we are going to the early release like the rest of the ISD,” Howard said. “It’s one Friday a month that we will be doing that”

The district also will have more half days this year, Howard added.

“The legislation was passed that we have to have 180 student days, but they did not change the number of hours, so it’s still 1098 hours,” she said. “Why? I don’t know. I think you’re going to find that all of the districts in our ISD will have quite a few half days to get in.”

Even with the required 180 days of school, students can look forward to enjoying more of the month of June, according to Howard.

“The great thing about this calendar is that we will be out on June 2 barring any unfortunate snow days, which would be great,” she said. “Graduation would be on the May 21, which would be the third Sunday of May”

Howard noted that the third Sunday of May was the traditional day for graduation prior to the district’s switch to trimesters. Now the school has returned to semesters, graduates of Evart High school will once again carry on the original tradition.

High school students aren’t the only Evart Public School participants who can look forward to the new calendar.

“With this calendar, I was able to get five more minutes of instructional time at the elementary level. They will have a longer day. The teacher’s days are all the same amount of hours and minutes but they will be with their kids a little bit longer in the morning. But we are going to add more recess time,” Howard said. “That was something that I kept hearing – Fifteen minute recess for elementary students just simply wasn’t enough, and so now we’re going to be able to increase that to approximately 30 minutes. So that’s a great thing.”

The calendar still makes allowances for some of the dates that are important to students and parents.

“I’m pretty excited about this calendar. I think it’s a good calendar. Some days are different but we still have deer hunting off,” Howard said. “And something that’s really different too is that Good Friday will be a half a day. It’s considered a half-day but we’ll be dismissing at 11:30. I understand there’s a church service at noon so anyone who’d want to attend that still can attend that, but it gives us a day of instruction.”

Changes to the calendar:

  • Starting before Labor Day
  • More half days
  • More instruction time for elementary students
  • More recess time for elementary students
  • Half day on Good Friday