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Charles City School Board approves elementary math curriculum and takes steps to revise middle and high school English

By Travis Fischer,

With the 2022-23 school year all but over, the Charles City Community School Board took actions to make improvements in the curriculum for next year during their regular meeting on Monday, May 22.

Curriculum Director Dr. Jennifer Schilling was present to recommend to the board that the district purchase the Bridges math curriculum for next year.

Throughout the semester, teachers and students have been testing out two potential new math curriculum programs, “Illustrated Mathematics” and “Bridges,” to determine which one is best for the K-5 classes. Having piloted both programs, the consensus among them was to go with “Bridges.”

“The teachers by far were more receptive and the students were more receptive to the ‘Bridges’ curriculum,” said Schilling.

Along with a new math curriculum, the board also approved a contract with Dr. Angela Peery Consulting to work with English teachers in the middle school and high school to revise the district’s English Language Arts curriculum. Working with Schilling and the district’s teachers, Peery will review the English curriculum across different grade levels to minimize redundancy so that students are building on what they learn as they advance from grade to grade.

In personnel matters, the board approved the renewal of Superintendent Dr. Anne Lundquist’s contract for the 2023-24 school year. Lundquist has not asked for a salary increase, noting the budgetary considerations the district has previously dealt with, and stated that it is her preference to have a yearly contract over a multi-year contract.

Lundquist will also be taking on the position as the district’s educational equity coordinator at no additional salary increase.

The board also approved the appointments of Lydia Klinkel as a summer school paraeducator, Phoebe Pittman to manage the National Honor Society, Isabella Ragsdale as a middle school paraeducator, Sarah Larson as a middle school special education teacher, Wesley Johnson as an elementary teacher at Lincoln Elementary, Michelle Sweet for concessions and Austin Rekward as the district’s new strength and conditioning physical education teacher.

Rekward’s hiring is noteworthy as it will bring the district into compliance with state guidelines for the first time in years. The district’s physical education program has been understaffed for several years, requiring the school to ask for a waiver from the state.

At the same time, the board also accepted the resignations of Evan and Carly Marten, who serve as the district’s Director of Finance and Washington Elementary Lead Teacher respectively. Evan Martin has accepted a position in Fairfield, prompting the Martins to move.

In other personnel matters, the board reviewed the district’s practice on substitute teacher pay when it comes to half days. Noting that at some point a previous administration set a policy to pay a flat rate for substitute teachers by the day, regardless of the length of school day, it has been recommended to revise that practice to account for half days for next year.

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