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Butterfield-Odin Public School beginning distance learning on December 3

Arely Anaya

Butterfield-Odin Public School is changing its learning model from Phase 2, K-6 in-personal all day and 7-12 hybrid model, to Phase 5, distance learning. The state’s COVID-19 cases have spiked. Student cases have also started to rise, causing teachers to quarantine.

Administration held a meeting with MDH, MDE, and county health officials before meeting with the school’s COVID-19 taskforce team. The team was advised to transition to a stricter learning model, Phase 2 distance learning for all students. Students’ last day in the building was November 20. The advisory team met to highlight the planning for Phase 5. By the governor’s executive order, teachers are spending five days planning for distance learning. Distance learning will begin Thursday, December 3.

From the superintendent report, Steve Thomas explained the two levies placed on the ballot in early November failed.

“We were not alone in voter rejections,” said Mr. Thomas. “Only four of eighteen passed in the entire state. Covid played a huge part in the rejection.”

Previously, Mr. Thomas mentioned the school needed to focus on student enrollment, a goal of 250, or the school will need to raise taxes.

“There’s just no other way,” said Mr. Thomas. “Time is a factor when you think of our immediate need. Schools usually make cuts…we’re not in the position to make cuts.”

Mr. Thomas reminded the board Butterfield-Odin is in the third year of a five-year program as a “priority” or “improvement” school. The school’s MCA scores have been low enough where the state required an improvement plan. While state cohorts have not been able to visit classrooms because of the pandemic, Mr. Thomas and Principal Tyson Walker have been meeting with them regularly and implementing improvements to continue proper progress.

Improvements have included extending the ELD department and course initiative.

From Mr. Walker’s principal report, he informed the board about elementary conferences that took place on October 18. Parents held engaging conversations with teachers and asked plenty of questions.

“A very positive experience,” said Mr. Walker.

Mr. Walker added student schedules will be mailed out with report cards. Course additions this trimester include Career & Tech I by Head Custodian Doug Meyer, Humanities by Social Studies teacher Lauren Collier, and Literature with dual credit opportunities by English teacher Dawn Johnson.

Approved action items:

–Setting the Reorganizational Meeting for January 4, 2021, at 7:00 p.m.

–Doug Meyer to teach shop class for each of the trimesters he teaches, reducing custodian time by an hour.

The next Butterfield-Odin School Board meeting is December 21 at 7:00 p.m. in the media center and virtually following the Truth in Taxation Meeting at 6:30 p.m.