Gilbert Public Schools board approves revision to instructional time model

Dawn Antestenis
Dawn Antestenis talks to the Gilbert Public Schools governing board about the district's marketing and communications efforts. (Screen shot from YouTube)

Dawn Antestenis talks to the Gilbert Public Schools governing board about the district's marketing and communications efforts. (Screen shot from YouTube)

The Gilbert Public Schools governing board approved a revision to its previously approved instructional time model to address its remote special education preschool through Settler’s Point Elementary School.

The unanimous vote came after the board held the second of two public hearings to make the revision as outlined in a new state law passed in the spring. The first hearing was held Oct. 26.

Teaching and Learning Assistant Superintendent Barbara Newman reviewed the revision that will have remote special education preschool students instructed using a video conferencing format from Webex with a certified teacher and paraprofessional present.

Sessions include whole group, small-group and individualized instruction weekly. Students needing related services receive therapies according to the Individualized Educational Plan.

The curriculum is the same as what is utilized in brick-and-mortar preschool programs with materials provided for at-home learning, Newman said.

Students in the special education remote preschool program are enrolled at Settler’s Point and reported to the Arizona Deparment of Education as part of the school. The class includes students qualifying for special education and tuition students.

Nine students are enrolled in the class, Newman said at the Oct. 26 hearing.

Preschool students attend periods remotely while teachers lead the instruction. A classroom teacher will take attendance as though the students were in person. Students must be logged in and engaged to be counted as present.

Marketing efforts

Marketing and Communications Director Dawn Antestenis and Terri Bradford, digital media strategy and brand manager, updated the board on the district’s marketing and communications efforts, which Antestenis said are designed to grow enrollment, retain students and staff and build a trusted brand for the district.

New to the district in its effots are online reputation management, a good news initiative called Gilbert GOLD and Level Up, a package of events and efforts to support students moving up from elementary to junior high school.

Gilbert GOLD features written, video and photographic content that represents the GPS experience as a student, employee or member of the “GPS family,” Antestenis said. The work is posted on district and school websites, social media and newsletters. It is produced by former ABC15 News Producer Kailey Latham and videographer/photographer Jonason Pauley.

The Level Up campaign is meant to help elementary students with their transition to junior high and encourage them to do so within GPS schools.
By Tom Blodgett

Editor, Gilbert

Raised in Arizona, Tom Blodgett has spent more than 30 years in journalism in Arizona and joined Community Impact Newspaper in July 2018 to launch the Gilbert edition. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he served as an instructional professional in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication from 2005-19 and remains editorial adviser to The State Press, the university's independent student media outlet.


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