Answering questions at this meeting were: John Glenewinkel, Superintendent of East Valley; Barb, Principal of WAAT (East Valley’s umbrella ALE program); and Mitch, President of the East Valley School Board.
Q: How many students do you “need” to start a program?
A: 20 students = 1 teacher. We will start a program with any number of students. To have a program that looks and feels like DP Homelink, we will need about 300 enrolled students.
Q: Where will classes be held?
A: We are currently looking for a facility on the north side of Spokane, Mead, or Colbert areas.
Q: How quickly can you get a program up and running?
A: We can have a bare-bones program within a month. Other WAAT programs took 1-3 months to get started. We already have teachers and classes lined up, but will focus on making sure those needing academic credits are being served, then work on enrichment schedule. (The following classes are already staffed and being scheduled: Ballet, Martial Arts, Art, Drama, Leadership, Government/Civics, Football, Wrestling, Cooking Class, Academics, Auto Mechanics, Small Engine Mechanics, K-1 Track-like class, Other Elem. High Interest Classes.)
Q: What is available for academic track?
A: Classes will be created to meet the needs of students, but we also have a robust online program utilizing Compass, Aventa, and K12 programs.
Q: What will our curriculum allotment be, and how will purchasing curriculum work?
A: East Valley is prepared to offer $500/student for curriculum allotment. The state is pushing for more oversight through the use of purchase orders in all ALE programs, and it is not in our best interest to start looking for too many loopholes. Rainbow Resource and similar vendors are not a problem. Local vendors (i.e. Homeschool Book Shop, Hobby Lobby) would have to be approved by the district accountant. There will be no reimbursement for religious curriculum, and according to new state legislation, curriculum must be listed in the student’s learning plan. You may still use whatever curriculum you choose as long as there is progress toward graduation, but no faith-based curriculum will be paid for with the allotment money.
Q: If parents switch, they will have to return all of their non-consumable materials to DP Homelink, will anything be done to help overcome this curriculum “deficit”?
A: With the current DP Homelink program enrollment, there is about $500,000 in the budget to play with (this is being used to offset contract obligations for teachers in other buildings). East Valley would use this amount to help parents get started, form a resource library (East Valley does not currently have one), and for other start-up costs.
Q: What about lessons (music, dance, etc.)?
A: There are some new, very rigid, state restrictions on providing lessons. East Valley is looking for ways to follow the laws and still offer lessons, but it’s tricky. On-site classes and instruction is completely allowed. Off-site is a little harder, but possible if it’s a group lesson open to the public. Off-site, private (one-on-one) lessons are going to be nearly impossible to offer.
Q: Do online class costs come out of a student’s allotment?
A: Historically, East Valley has not charged for these, it has always balanced out with students using online courses not using much of their allotment on other curriculum, and those that use all of their allotment typically don’t enroll in many online courses. If too many families start using both resources there might have to be an adjustment, but at this time there is no charge for online courses.
Q: What about state testing?
A: We offer state standardized tests for students, but we will not require testing to receive your allotment. East Valley does not offer MAP testing at this time.
Q: Can parents enrolled in this ALE with East Valley utilize the other ALE programs under WAAT (Aviation program, online program, etc.)?
A: Yes. A student enrolled under WAAT can access any of the WAAT programs.
Q: If I enroll in East Valley, but live in Chattaroy and don’t want to drive my kids to the valley for sports, what are my options?
A: The district you live in (that collects your property taxes) is required to provide “ancillary” services such as sports and other extracurricular activities. You are free to be involved in those services in your home district while enrolled in an East Valley academic program.
Q: What if I’m transferring a high school student?
A: East Valley has a 23 credit diploma. Transferring from an accredited program to an accredited program is simple, all credits transfer completely.
Q: What about Running Start or CLEP (College Level Entrance Placement)?
A: East Valley has many Running Start students, and historically has paid for AP courses if a passing grade is achieved.
Q: What will be the hiring process for specialists, and will there be someone familiar with Special Ed?
A: Recommendations from parents will be considered. East Valley does not have a problem hiring specialists who will continue teaching at DP Homelink. As for Special Ed, East Valley has many students with IEPs and is committed to providing for the needs of ALL students.
Q: What does East Valley gain from this new program?
A: The type of program that exists at DP is a moneymaker. East Valley currently has programs under WAAT that are operating slightly over budget, like the teen parent program. We believe that these programs need to be run, but it works better if we have other ALE programs that provide the vibrancy and flexibility within the WAAT budget to help other community-supporting programs to continue operating. We do not “scaffold” our district programs on top of each other; our WAAT program is financially independent of our traditional school buildings. But, under the WAAT umbrella, we use the administrative expense budget to level out the services offered in each ALE program.