Turner creates secondary curriculum director position

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TOWN OF BELOIT - The Turner School Board approved the creation of the Director of Secondary Curriculum and Instruction position while promoting high school math teacher Brianne Allbee to serve in the newly created role on Monday.

Superintendent Dennis McCarthy said the position will be part-time, as Allbee will teach for two to three periods in the morning then spend the remainder of the day focusing on curriculum in the middle/high school. She has 17 years of local experience in education.

"We are excited to have someone with Brianne's skills and qualifications on our staff who can immediately step into this role and support our staff and students," McCarthy said.

The school board met in closed session on Monday to review two candidates for the position. Allbee will start in her new position on July 1.

Brad Boll, director of business services, said though this would be adding a part-time position to the district, the new Director of Secondary Curriculum would take over the duties being performed by the district assessment coordinator, which would mean that position's stipend will be eliminated.

"In terms of compensation, it's mitigated by duties we wouldn't have to pay someone else to do," Boll said.

McCarthy said the responsibilities of the secondary director will include: overseeing middle/high school curriculum planning and instruction recommendations; serving as lead coordinator for all district and state level assessments in middle and high school; coordinating data for test analysis and SIP support and analysis focused on programming and support for academic achievement improvement; providing staff instructional coaching; coordinating with the middle/high school administration in the planning and implementation of inservice and staff training efforts including budget management and planning and more.

"Our teachers are looking for additional support on the district's large scale initiates," McCarthy said.

One of those initiates is implementing standards-based grading. He said the system works by developing standards that are mostly set by the state. Those standards are then prioritized into learning targets. Students are then graded on how well they meet those targets. Grades are based on four or five levels of proficiency instead of a score out of 100. McCarthy said teachers were interested in having a person who could help oversee the transition from the perspective of the teachers.

He said the standards-based grading system has been used at the elementary schools for the last eight to 10 years.

"As a whole, when this is fully implemented it will align with what we're doing at the elementary level and get our middle and high school to where we want to be," McCarthy said.

With the help of Allbee, McCarthy estimates the grading system could be fully implemented district-wide in the next one to two years. A pilot group of 20-25 teachers is currently utilizing the standards-based grading system in middle/high school.

In other news, the school board approved the retirements of Randy McClellan, Townview principal and former middle school principal who was with the district for 13 years, Liz Rosenthal, Turner Middle School band teacher who was with the district for 32 years, and Julie Rath, Townview library aide who was with the district for 22 years.

Also during the meeting the school board approved 24 student applications to take college courses this fall. Turner High School principal Ryan Bertelsen said nine students requested to take classes at a technical college through the Start College Now program, and 15 students applied through the Early College Credit program, which is for courses at four-year colleges and universities. These programs were formerly known as Youth Options.

Bertelsen said though the number of students increases every year, every student won't be taking college courses in the fall as they have yet to finalize their schedules. Two of the more popular programs for Turner students in the past have been fire and social sciences.

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