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Board approves elementary assistant principals

The West Fargo School Board unanimously approved a request Monday night for an additional elementary assistant principal to complement the one currently employed on a two-year contract that ends at the end of the upcoming school year.

As a part of the request, the present elementary assistant principal will become a continuing position, and the two assistants will be shared among four elementary schools (two buildings each).

The assistant principal positions are supposedly needed due to rapid growth, government mandates, increased student needs, ongoing initiatives, and overall workload of the elementary principals.

"There has been a need for several years now," elementary assistant superintendent Beth Slette said. "They have been requesting these assistants. My mission was to get a rubric together so we would have something to measure where we would start."

According to a study presented by Slette, the average elementary principal works 54 to 80 hours a week, including evenings and weekends.

"(I work from) 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., with five minutes or so for lunch," South Elementary principal Loren Kersting said. "That is when we don't have a meeting or an evening activity."

With the assistance of these two employees, the board hopes to provide principals with time to spend in the classrooms and provide guidance to teachers.

"We have very conscientious leaders who know how to do their jobs," Slette said, "but don't have the time to be in the classroom to the extent that they should. As a teacher, it is hard if you don't have your principal around when you need them for whatever reason. As time goes on, it is becoming more and more the case because they are being pulled in so many directions."

"There is a tipping point," superintendent David Flowers said. "If you do not have adequate leadership and adequate support for that leadership, you harm the classroom worse than you would if you brought another teacher in and deferred the capacity that allows the principals to do their jobs effectively."

Assistant principal placement will be evaluated after registration.

During Monday's meeting, the school board also:

  • unanimously approved the proposed budget, presented by district business manager Mark Lemer, for the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

The district's total revenue budget for the upcoming school year is $89,188,340.

  • unanimously approved various changes in administrative positions, including reclassifications to the role of district technology director, middle school assistant principal and assistant director of special education, among others. The proposal also called for a new "assistant director of special education" position.

Perhaps the biggest change -- at least on paper -- is that of the role of the Community High principal, who also oversees the ELL Welcome Center (formerly the Newcomer Center), and adult education.

This existing position has been revised to include the following duties:

  • oversee daily operations and supervision/evaluation of the ELL Welcome Center instructional staff.
  • coordinating and overseeing all adult education programming, including GED and ELL. This includes both school-year and summer programs
  • conduct general administration of the Lodoen Center physical plant safety and security functions.

The 12 changes will be phased in over the next two years.