KANKAKEE — About 40 percent of students so far who have registered to attend Kankakee High School in the fall have indicated they want a non-traditional schedule, Superintendent Genevra Walters said during Monday’s Kankakee School Board meeting.
Walters said she wanted to emphasize the efforts to get students registered at the high school, as fewer than 300 have registered so far.
Students that have already registered include sophomores, juniors and seniors, as the rollover of incoming freshmen from eighth grade won’t happen until around the first week of July, she said.
“It looks like 40 percent of the families that have registered are asking for a non-traditional schedule, whether it’s remote or blended, but we really would have a better idea if at least 1,000 of our families registered,” she said.
Walters noted that having more students registered will help administrators to make decisions around scheduling.
If the trend continues at 40 percent, the high school would have about 500 students on a non-traditional schedule, she said.
Walters also emphasized that a traditional scheduling option will be available at the high school in which students arrive on the school bus and are in school from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
While there will be a weekly flexible day, or Kay Day, students will still have options on those days.
“‘Flexible’ doesn’t mean that a student that wants to be in full-time instruction will not have that opportunity,” she said. “It does mean students that would like to have a project or spend a little more time with JROTC or go on a college visit will be able to do it on that flexible day.”
At the May board meeting, high school administrators discussed plans to organize students’ schedules into “flex mods,” which are similar to college schedules. For students that choose this non-traditional option, their school day will be broken up into increments, or mods.
Walters also said Monday that kindergarten through sixth-grade buildings will have a day once per month in which students are fully remote, a practice which some schools already had in place pre-pandemic.
“There may be some activities with the students, but for the most part, teachers will have planning, data review and professional development,” she said. “Going back before the pandemic, that was already in place on Wednesdays.”
These remote days, also called Learning Anywhere, Anytime days, are still considered attendance days in which students are expected to work; dates will include Sept. 20, Oct. 18, Nov. 15, Dec. 13, Jan. 24, Feb. 28, March 21, April 25 and May 16.
K-6 buildings will plan for any students whose families need them to attend school in-person on these days, according to board documents.
Also on Monday, the board approved a contract for preventative maintenance on the district’s mechanical equipment and the purchase of 10 new 15-passenger vans.
Rob Grossi, assistant superintendent of business services, said the preventative maintenance will help to maintain the life expectancy of equipment, including boilers and HVAC systems.
Having updated knowledge of what works and what doesn’t will also be useful when making decisions on future construction projects, he noted.
“We need to be able to continue to upgrade our buildings, while also making sure that the shell and the mechanicals of the building are safe, stable and secure,” he said.
The approved contract is with Precision Control Systems, Inc., for $62,400 per year.
Grossi added that the price was based on the district’s current mechanical systems, and as they are upgraded, the cost of preventative maintenance will decrease in subsequent years.
“It’s just really constantly keeping an eye on our equipment so we don’t have any unexpected surprises,” he said.
The purchase of 10 new 15-passenger vans will help to expand the School on Wheels program and assist with transporting students for extracurriculars and field trips, Grossi said.
The vans will be 2022 models from Country Chevrolet in Herscher and cost $35,199 per vehicle, or $357,550 total, and take six to seven months to be produced and delivered to the district.
They will be paid for using the second round of federal COVID-19 aid (ESSER II funding), he added.