Higley USD board hears update on high schools’ late start Wednesdays

Higley USD, Higley USD governing board
The Higley USD governing board conducts business Dec. 4. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Higley USD governing board conducts business Dec. 4. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)

Higley USD’s high schools plan to gather more feedback and refine the district’s pilot program for late start Wednesdays that create some professional development for faculty, officials told the governing board Dec. 4.

The late starts move the first hour back from a 7:25 a.m. to 7:40 a.m. The time has been used for beginning-of-the-year mandatory trainings; staff meetings that include team building, celebrations and a review of upcoming events; site-specific development topics; professional learning community time with department and instructional coaches; timely data conversations and common assessments; and ongoing collaborative curriculum work.

Dawn Foley, the district’s assistant superintendent of K-12 educational services, said the district has found it important that the time allotment is consistent and the time is intentional and targeted in its usage because of the short time involved.

Transportation is unaffected by the schedule, so students who are bused arrive on campus with spare time before their first class. Superintendent Mike Thomason said going into the program, the lack of supervision for that period was a concern to him, but Higley High School Principal Alan Fields and Williams Field High School Principal Steve Tannenbaum said it has not been an issue.

Students have used the time for events, club meetings, peer tutoring, study hall, or attending college and career opportunities provided by counselors, the principals said.


In response to a question from board member Jill Wilson, Fields said tardiness is down slightly on Wednesdays.

According to a survey that received 50 responses, 25 respondents find the time devoted to these meetings is just about right, while 22 found it to be too little. The survey also found 26 of 50 find the meetings very or somewhat productive, with another nine saying it was neither productive nor unproductive.

Foley said the district hopes future refinements address the mixed responses.

Tannenbaum said he appreciated the district letting the high schools try the program.

Sherry Richards, executive director of elementary curriculum, also presented about the elementary schools, which are using a calendar of early releases for site-based professional development. Richards said she is proud principals are being intentional in using the sessions for professional development and not just conducting school business.

Governing board Vice President Amy Kaylor said that as a parent, the differing calendars of early releases among the elementary, middle and high schools is “messy” and needs to be cleaned up. Wilson agreed with her.

Other business

  • In another work-study session, Human Resources Executive Director Mum Martens recommended that administrative salaries for the district range at the 45th to 50th percentile among neighboring and like-sized districts. The salary structure throughout the district will be under review this spring in the wake of an eight-district salary study that HUSD was part of.

  • The consent agenda, which passed on a 5-0 vote, included approval of an intergovernmental agreement between the district and Chandler Gilbert Community College to provide an embedded counselor from CGCC to students in dual enrollment with the community college. Also included was approval of Dec. 23 as the effective date for a new support staff wage schedule.

  • The board approved on 5-0 votes high school and middle school course guides for the coming year.

By Tom Blodgett
Raised in Arizona, Tom Blodgett has spent 30 years in journalism in Arizona and is the editor of the Gilbert edition of Community Impact Newspaper. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he now serves as an instructional professional in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and editorial adviser to The State Press, the university's independent student media outlet.


MOST RECENT

County health officials are seeing a slower rise in hospitalizations. (Graphic by Community Impact Newspaper)
County health officials say social distancing efforts 'appear to be working' to slow the spread of COVID-19

County health officials say efforts to "flatten the curve" appear to be working.

Gilbert Town Council
Mayor 'very concerned about this community' after Gilbert Town Council fails to fill vacancy

Gilbert Mayor Jenn Daniels expressed her frustration April 8 with the Town Council’s failure to fill a vacant seat the previous evening.

Nora Hahs
Gilbert girl gets moment in spotlight with her coronavirus song

A 5-year-old Gilbert girl captured the hopes and hearts of Valley residents with her song about the coronavirus pandemic.

Gilbert Town Council
Gilbert Town Council fails to find consensus on final appointment

After spending nearly two hours in executive session, the Gilbert Town Council failed to reach consensus April 7 on an appointment to replace former Council Member Jordan Ray

Perry High School, a Chandler USD school in Gilbert, is turning on its stadium lights nightly to celebrate the senior class. (Courtesy Perry High School)
Perry High School finds a way to celebrate its seniors: turning on the stadium lights

Local high schools are looking for ways to celebrate the class of 2020.

Coronavirus testing in Arizona has grown by the thousands week to week. (Graphic by Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Here's what coronavirus testing looks like across Arizona

Here is a breakdown of what coronavirus testing looks like in Arizona.

The city of Chandler headquarters is in downtown Chandler. (Alexa D'Angelo/Community Impact Newspaper)
Read 4 Chandler, Gilbert stories from this week

Get the latest Chandler and Gilbert News here.

Gilbert Town Council
Deadline to file nominating petitions passes with 10 candidates for four slots in Gilbert

Gilbert elections could have 10 candidates on the ballot covering the mayor and two four-year council seats and a two-year seat.

Jordan Ray, Brigette Peterson, Eddie Cook, Aimee Yentes, Gilbert Town Council
Jordan Ray resigns from Gilbert Town Council

Gilbert Town Council Member Jordan Ray turned in nominating petitions April 6 for justice of the peace in the Highland Justice Court, then promptly submitted his resignation from council to Gilbert Town Clerk Lisa Maxwell

O.H.S.O. Brewery & Distillery is delivering hand sanitizer it has made to Banner Health in five-gallon kegs. (Courtesy O.H.S.O. Brewery)
See what Chandler, Gilbert locals are doing to help stop the spread of coronavirus

See what area residents and companies are doing to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

People across the state are stepping in to make masks for health care workers. (Courtesy Mask Making for Arizona Healthcare Workers)
April 6: 4 coronavirus stories Chandler, Gilbert readers need to know

Catch up on some of the latest coronavirus updates for the Gilbert and Chandler areas below.

COVID-19, coronavirus
Here are the latest coronavirus updates for Gilbert residents

Here is what Gilbert residents need to know right now about the coronavirus outbreak.