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West Fargo Public Schools: Week-long spring break 'worth a try'

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West Fargo students have cause for celebration - and may want to consider planning ahead for a longer-than-normal spring break.

With only a slight adjustment, the West Fargo School Board unanimously approved recommendations by the Calendar Committee regarding scheduling of the 2011-12 school year.

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The committee was comprised of Assistant Superintendent Louise Dardis, board member Angela Korsmo, a school administrator, three teachers and two parents.

Based on the group's findings, one of the areas of biggest discussion during Monday's meeting was the addition of a week of vacation Feb. 27-March 2.

According the Dardis, the committee settled on the lengthy stretch compared with the normal two-day break for several reasons, but specifically to better align West Fargo's schedule with that of the Fargo School District.

One benefit of the schedule, Dardis said, was to West Fargo teachers who may live in Fargo, and vice versa. With alignment, it's easier to coordinate vacations, she said.

But Board Member Patti Stedman questioned the reasoning behind a week-long vacation. She wondered if the week vacation would hinder parents who may not be able to take time off, and instead would need to find baby sitters or some other arrangements.

Also, Stedman wondered if the timing was off, especially since one of the biggest absentee rates occurs during North Dakota state basketball tournaments the second week of March.

"I would think a three- or four-day weekend would be much less disruptive," she said.

On the contrary, West Fargo Education Association President Joan Connor said. A week of vacation is "much less disruptive" than short vacations and abbreviated weeks, she said.

Dardis said the decision-making process for the 2011-12 school calendar revolved around when students typically are in school. Because many families already plan vacations sometime in late winter, the week-long vacation hopefully "will entice parents to take their long family vacations then," she said.

The plan was "heartily endorsed" by the West Fargo teaching staff, Korsmo said.

"It's worth a try," Board Member Ben Koppelman said.

The school board unanimously approved the plan, 7-0, with one change. They proposed a professional development day scheduled for March 9, instead be moved to Feb. 24, so that students and families could actually have a full 10 days off to plan vacation. Also, basketball coaches who also teach would be able to utilize that professional development day, instead of having to miss it for postseason tournaments.

Bids approved for terrazzo tile flooring at WFHS

Also Monday, the West Fargo School Board approved two bids for the addition of terrazzo-tiled flooring at West Fargo High School.

The low bids approved came for general construction by MinKo Construction, Inc. for $33, 450, and the terrazzo flooring by WTG Terrazzo and Tile, Inc. for $238,000.

The bids came in nearly $54,000 under budget from the original budget of $325,000, Business Manager Mark Lemer said.

With that said, Board Member Dave Olson wondered if working a logo into the terrazzo floor would be a good idea. But Lemer cautioned against the action, specifically because the district does not have an official, trademarked logo.

Demolition and construction is expected to begin sometime this summer.

Uetz honored with blog

Melissa Uetz, a special education teacher at Cheney Middle School, was recently chosen as one of four educators across the nation to start a Council for Exceptional Children blog.

Uetz is the Autism Spectrum Disorder Teacher at Cheney, and her blog follows her day-to-day activites.

As part of her perks for winning the right to blog, Uetz will get an all-expenses paid trip to the national CEC convention in Maryland.

To view Uetz's blog, visit cecblog.typepad.com.

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