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West Hancock High School

BRITT | The West Hancock Community School Board may consider an alternate to parent-teacher conferences at the high school due to low participation this fall.

That comes after Superintendent Wayne Kronemann and High School Principal Dan Peterson voiced their concerns about the turnout during the school board meeting on Monday, Nov. 19.

“I think people just don’t see the need to do it anymore because there’s so much communication that goes on,” Kronemann said. “(Parents) have a direct link to their teachers now.

“I don’t know what the answer is, but we have good rates at the elementary and middle school level, so maybe that’s something to think about in the future.”

During the two-day parent-teacher conferences on Oct. 29 and Nov. 1, 35 high-schoolers, or 20 percent, attended with a parent or guardian, which makes its participation the lowest in the district.

Participation at the elementary school — preschool to fourth grade — was about 96 percent, while participation at the middle school — fifth to eighth grade — was 70 percent.

“We were happy with the overall attendance missing only a few parents,” Elementary School Principal Michelle DeHart said.

Peterson said the district has tried different formats at the high school, including one-on-one conferences in classrooms, group conferences and conferences where all the teachers are relocated to the gym, to improve attendance, but it’s remained “pretty consistent” in recent years.

“It’s not a great use of time or district resources,” he said, noting the conferences held between students, teachers and parents are beneficial, but oftentimes, the ones whose academic performance warrant a parent-teacher conference, don’t attend.

Kronemann said the district spends $14,000 a day on teaching staff, and if one-third of the staff sees 20 percent of their students over a two-day period, it’s not a “very good bang for your buck.”

Peterson encouraged school board members — many of whom are parents of children in the district — to speak with others in the community about their thoughts.

“If the feeling from our parents is we don’t really need it, then we owe it to them to find a better use of taxpayer dollars for those six and a half hours they spend at conferences,” he said.

Peterson said if sought, the earliest a change in the parent-teacher conference schedule could be made is the 2020-2021 school year because the school board is holding a public hearing on the 2019-2020 school calendar on Dec. 17.

Also during the Nov. 19 meeting, the school board:

  • Approved the resignation of Kassondra Robinson as co-head volleyball coach.
  • Approved volunteers Stacey Goepel and Jeremy Barnes for middle school girls’ basketball and high school boys’ basketball, respectively.
  • Set the public hearing for the 2019-2020 school calendar for 6 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 17, at the West Hancock Middle School in Kanawha.
  • Approved applying to the School Budget Review Committee for increased modified allowable growth for three items based on certified enrollment: one-time funding budget adjustment for increased enrollment, $46,648 for open enrollment out students who were not on our 2017 certified enrollment count, and $14,847 for excess costs of educating ELL students.

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Reach Reporter Ashley Stewart at 641-421-0533. Follow her on Twitter at GGastewart.

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