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School district to offer new transportation option for in-town elementary

By Travis Fischer,

The Charles City Community School Board approved a new bus route plan to ease the transportation burden for parents of small children, during its regular meeting on Monday, July 8.

Earlier this year, as part of a budget reduction plan, the district announced that it would no longer offer in-town pick-up for students.

The elimination of corner pick-up raised concerns among both the community and school board, who asked Director of Operations Jerry Mitchell to explore transportation options for at least the district’s younger students.

At the meeting, Mitchell presented his solution, establishing four drop-off/pick-up locations at Charles City school buildings for PK through fourth-grade students, along with a drop-off/pick-up point at Washington Elementary for middle and high schoolers.

In addition, Mitchell has been working with the city and Circle K to arrange for additional transportation seats through Charles City Public Transit.

“They’re doing everything they can to help,” said Mitchell.

With the new plan approved by the board, a communication will go out to parents later this month with exact details about drop-off and pick-up times and locations.

The board also received a presentation from English Language Learners (ELL) teachers Megan Nyberg and Jennifer Mohs, who explained how their department works with students who come into the district without a functional grasp of English.

“It’s the fastest growing student population in the U.S.,” said Nyberg.

While the percentage of ELL students in Charles City is well below both the state and national averages, with only 3.6% of the student population classified as ELL students, the district has still seen a rapid growth. Since 2021, the ELL population has nearly doubled, with roughly 60 students speaking five unique native languages. It is estimated that number will grow to 70 students next year.

Most of the district’s ELL students are native Spanish speakers who can communicate with the school’s Spanish speaking interpreters. For the rest, the ELL department does their best with Google Translate.

As the number of ELL students in the district continues to grow, the ELL department is working to develop graduation paths to help ELL students get the education they need, particularly for those that may come into the district without an academic record.

In other business, the board went over bookkeeping and contract renewals for the upcoming school year.

The board authorized the transfer of $18,670.25 from district’s general fund to cover deficits in the district’s athletic fund, prompting a discussion about how activities are budgeted and how spending is authorized between the different athletic accounts.

The board also approved contracts for an administrator mentoring program, the renewal of the Character Strong social-emotional learning program, the FastBridge and MAPS assessment tests, and the online curriculum for high school Earth Science.

Finally, it was noted that a special meeting may be scheduled for Wednesday, July 17, to approve a contract for Levi Miller to come on as the district’s new high school principal.

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