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Board Meeting Summary: March 17, 2021

March 17, 2021
School Board Regular Meeting

On Wednesday, March 17, the school board held a regular meeting, with several board members meeting in-person on-site for the first time in more than a year. The meeting was open to the public via live video on Zoom, audio stream, and radio broadcast on KRVM 1280-AM.

Regular Meeting

Introductory Comments

Interim Superintendent Cydney Vandercar acknowledged how good it felt to be present with board members, who were conducting their first meeting in-person in more than a year. She noted 4J has begun to welcome students back to school buildings and that district staff would provide updates on that ongoing work later in the meeting. She congratulated the district’s suicide prevention team for completing a first draft of 4J’s state-mandated suicide prevention plan and said details of that plan would be shared with the board at a future meeting.

Items for Information (no board action is expected to be taken)

Received an update on COVID-19 and return to on-site learning: District staff presented an overview of lessons and resources developed by 4J teachers and other staff to help prepare students for their return to on-site learning. They also discussed the planning for the upcoming Outdoor School, which will be conducted with hybrid students attending Outdoor School on-site and online students engaging in a virtual Outdoor School curriculum at home.

Kindergarten and first grade students began returning to school buildings this week, for the first time in a year, for transition and orientation to prepare them for on-site learning in the hybrid model. Students in grades 2–5 will attend transition and orientation starting the week of the March 29.

District staff discussed the school schedules developed by teacher and staff teams for middle and high school students, designed to provide both synchronous and asynchronous education for students learning at home and in a classroom when hybrid learning begins next month for grades 6–12.

The fall sports season is nearing the end of its abbreviated season, with families, friends and fans able to watch contests both online and in person.

The district is working with high schools to plan in-person recognition events in addition to the virtual high school graduation ceremonies in June.

District staff also outlined the changes Gov. Kate Brown has announced recently to get students back to school buildings, none of which will result in major changes in how 4J is planning to start its hybrid learning model.

Items for Action

• Approved items on the consent agenda: The board approved the resolution of a complaint and adopted the official board minutes of its Feb. 3 meeting. The votes were unanimous.

Items for Future Action (board action is expected at a later meeting)

• Considered adoption of the school calendars for the 2021–22 academic year: State law requires that the school board adopt the district’s academic calendars. The board will vote on approval of the academic calendars on April 21.

This year, school is proposed to begin with a transition day for students in selected grades on Thursday, Sept. 9. This day would support students’ shift to the new school year in-person after more than a year of distance and hybrid learning. The first day for all students would be Friday, Sept. 10.

Traditionally, the first day of school for 4J students is on the Wednesday after Labor Day, sometimes with a transition day for selected grades the preceding day. This year, the Tuesday and Wednesday after Labor Day falls during Rosh Hashanah. While the district does not close schools during the year for major religious holidays, by policy and practice the district seeks to avoid scheduling unique events on such days. The proposed calendars place the transition day on Thursday and the first day of classes for all grades on Friday to avoid this scheduling conflict.

The district is in discussion with the Eugene Education Association about the possible addition of an instruction day in October, in place of the non-contract day traditionally included in the district academic calendar on the annual statewide in-service day. This would be an additional paid contract day for teachers and licensed specialists, and it would provide instruction time not provided to all students on the opening transition day.

Public Input

The board heard live public comment via Zoom. Three speakers spoke about wireless technology, standardized testing, and experiences at a 4J elementary school in the past year.

To request to speak to the school board, community members may complete an online request form the Monday before the next regular board meeting. Community members also may send comments via email to board@4j.lane.edu.

Agenda and Materials

March 17 regular meeting agenda and materials
March 17 regular meeting audio recording


NOTE:  This is a quick summary of the topics and actions at a meeting of the school board. This document is NOT the official minutes of the school board. Official minutes are posted after they are drafted, reviewed and approved by the board. Audio recordings of meetings are typically posted within two days after the meeting. 

School Board Meeting Schedule & Information

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