Despite issues raised by the district’s teachers union, the Sun Prairie Area School District (SPASD) is continuing to proceed with its pivoting strategy by inviting more challenged students back to district facilities to be part of Student Support Hubs.
The strategy was outlined Monday Oct. 12 during the Sun Prairie School Board meeting, when board members heard a report from the district administrative team.
“These are students that are meeting the criteria that indicate to us they are not able to access education,” Stephanie Leonard-Witte, Assistant Superintendent of Teaching, Learning & Equity, told the board during the meeting.
The enrollment target — which will still bring the district facilities to 10 to 15 percent of student population — includes students experiencing housing insecurity, no access to electricity, are at the lowest level of engagement in Spring 2020, English Leaners, students with a pattern of needing intervention and kindergarteners.
SPASD Student Services Director Jennifer Apodaca said Phase 3, set to start Monday, Oct. 19, will bring 74 special education students with individual educational plans (IEPs) for a total of 394 students in all district facilities.
Those students will still be in groups, or cohorts, where they alternate attendance days with another student group, or cohort, so that only half of the 394 are in the buildings at any one time. Each group attends either Monday-Tuesday, with Wednesday a non-instructional day and Thursday-Friday virtual, or attends Thursday-Friday with Monday-Tuesday virtual. Roughly 15 percent of the district’s kindergarten students are already attending school the same way.
Leonard-Witte said the district is also progressing on bringing more early childhood through grade 2 students into a hybrid instruction, but more planning remains to be worked out.
The team presented its plan despite a letter to the board from the Sun Prairie Education Association.
“As current Phase 2 plans stand, we fear they will have detrimental impacts on the health and well-being of all stakeholders especially marginalized student and faculty populations,” the SPEA wrote in the letter, which said access to high quality education “will decline as overloaded classrooms and instructors struggle for their lives and livelihoods.”
SPASD Director of Student Policy and School Operations Nick Reichhoff said with 1,555 students and staff on-site in district buildings, fewer than 10 people have tested positive since staff have returned Aug. 24, with just one active student case and one active staff case of COVID-19.
The SPEA argued in the letter that as students return to classrooms, the number of teachers infected will increase, therefor overburdening remaining staff and reducing the quality of education received by students.
Individuals with questions about the Student Support Hubs and the transition to hybrid (partially at home and partially in the classroom) for early childhood to second graders, or virtual instruction, may contact Superintendent Brad Saron by phone at 608-834-6502 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Electors meeting set to discuss purchase
During a special meeting held Oct. 12 just before the regularly scheduled board meeting, the board agreed to accept the offer to purchase a blue Cape Cod home at 323 W. Main St., but set a Nov. 2 special electors meeting to seek permission to purchase the home for $214,000.
The new Bank of Sun Prairie Stadium at Ashley Field is located directly behind the property, and the district intends to raze or relocate the home working in conjunction with the City of Sun Prairie’s plans to redevelop the area near the stadium along West Main Street.