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JAMES FARRELL; Fremont Tribune 

River Stoffregen-McKelvey stands before family and friends of the Fremont Learning Center's 2018 graduates. The Learning Center will be seeing some schedule changes next year.


Education
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Learning Center, Middle School to see schedule changes next year

Next year, Fremont Public School’s Learning Center and Middle School are changing their formulas, introducing some significant scheduling changes that administrators hope will create new opportunities for students.

The Learning Center will offer full-day programming for the first time. And Fremont Middle School will be moving toward a common bell schedule and expanding coursework in coding and reading.

The changes were discussed at Monday night’s FPS Board of Education meeting. The board unanimously voted to approve the changes to the Middle School schedule. And while the board was informed of the changes to the Learning Center, its approval was not required.

“I think the Learning Center changes are going to be really good because it’s going to really allow us to personalize the learning plan for all students,” Scott Jensen, Fremont’s executive director of secondary operations and federal programs, told the Tribune. “I think the biggest thing with the Middle School is that, with the plan, we’re decreasing the class size of the core classes. So our math, English, science and history will all see a reduction in average class size, and that will allow our teachers to give more attention to individual students.”

Fremont’s Learning Center offers alternative education options for non-traditional students—such as students who are juggling full-time work, families, personal issues or health issues. The program boasts a flexible, individualized approach to education that caters to students with a diverse array of needs, according to the program’s head instructor Lea Adler.

Historically, the Learning Center has offered its students programming in the mornings, with many students filling the other half of their day with work experience. In lieu of working, some students are dual-enrolled, taking electives at the high school or at Metropolitan Community College in addition to core course work at the Learning Center. Others still are only attending classes in the morning and nothing else, Adler said.

Under the new scheduling, the Learning Center will offer both morning and afternoon courses that students can decide between, with the expectation that students spend the other half of their day working or attending high school courses.

“For the kids that don’t have jobs, it’s a change for them because we are pushing them into a full day,” Adler told the Tribune. “We will be pushing for them to do Learning Center in addition to the high school if they’re not already working so that they can get extra credits every quarter.”

She added, however, that “there are always exceptions,” and that the program’s emphasis on individualized learning will remain. A student struggling with anxiety, for instance, may continue to attend classes for a half day and work up to a full day’s work.

“The programming has become a lot more flexible—we do goal setting with students and we’re looking to make sure that we’re meeting those goals and we’re always adapting,” Adler said.

The district will also provide new, mid-day transportation between the Learning Center and the high school in the form of buses or vans. Students who previously took classes in both buildings had to find their own transportation.

The scheduling change is meant to create more flexibility for students, allowing them to choose between morning and afternoon classes at the Learning Center depending on what best fits into their schedule—whether they are working or otherwise.

For instance, Learning Center students interested in taking courses at the high school that occur in the morning could now attend the Learning Center’s afternoon session to better customize their schedule. And the Learning Center’s afternoon session is more accommodating to students pursuing work experience who may work night shifts—allowing them to attend classes on a full night’s sleep.

“It’s a lot more flexible for individual need,” she said.

Changes at the Middle School are geared toward reducing class size, Middle School Principal Lavonna Emanuel told the Board on Monday.

“We were really looking at how our class sizes, especially in our core areas—math, English science and social studies—were creeping up and continuing to do so,” Emanuel said.

Under the current arrangement, each grade follows its own schedule, moving between classes as instructed, a system that Emanuel said “gives constraints and it limits our flexibility with staffing.” The new schedule would put the Middle School on a bell-based schedule that’s consistent across the grades.

The new schedule will allow teachers of those “core” subjects, like math and English, to teach five sections instead of four, Emanuel said, helping to better spread out the class size. Jensen told the Tribune that those teachers will be able to focus more on teaching those core subjects, and in turn “won’t be teaching as much in some of the other intervention and enrichment areas.”

Under the new schedule, class periods would be 60 minutes, compared to 66-minute long core classes and 50-minute long “explore” courses that are currently offered, Emanuel said.

Additionally, the schedule will allow for the addition of new “explore” courses for students. The first would be a new Reading Intervention course for selected students, which aims to help kids read on grade level by the time they reach high school.

The second course is Introduction to Computer Science/Coding. That course has already been offered to selected students, but beginning next year, will be available for all seventh and eighth graders.

“Coding is a class that’s aligned to the college and career-ready student that we want to put out,” Emanuel said, adding that there are ample opportunities for employment in the computer science field.

Jensen said that he was excited about the coding class, adding that he believes it will “put a little pressure on the high school,” to expand its own opportunities for computer science courses that would allow students to continue their computer education. He told the Tribune that the high school is offering a computer class that is being revised this year, and that the district is working with the school’s business and math departments to assess how to prepare students to meet needs in the field.

Jensen added that, aside from “nominal transportation costs” incurred by adding the bus route between the Learning Center and the High School, the changes will bear no additional costs to the district.


Local
Wednesday calendar

Today

Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, noon, Chapter 5 Club, 136 N. Main St., Fremont.

Spaghetti feed to benefit Cedar Bluffs teacher LuAnn Soderling, 4:30-8 p.m., Todd’s Tavern, 102 W. Main St., Cedar Bluffs. The cost is $10 per person. The event also will include a raffle, bake sale and freewill donations. The tops of the art room tables are being cut into squares and also will be sold. All proceeds will go to support Soderling, who recently was diagnosed with bone cancer. For more information, contact Joni Hegy, Julie Roumph, Lorri Callahan or Shelly Woita at 402-628-2080.

Shoulder pain seminar, 5 p.m., third floor of Fremont Health’s Health Park Plaza. Dr. Eric Samuelson, board certified orthopedic surgeon from OrthoNebraska at Fremont Health, will share information on common should issues and treatments. A light dinner will be served. To register, call 402-727-3882.

Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, 5:15 p.m., Chapter 5 Club, Fremont.

Narcotics Anonymous Library Group, 7 p.m., Keene Memorial Library East Building, 1030 N. Broad St., Fremont.

Alcoholics Anonymous, 8 p.m., Chapter 5 Club, Fremont.

Thursday

Alcoholics Anonymous big book study, 10 a.m., Chapter 5 Club, Fremont.

Storytime, 10-10:30 a.m., Keene Memorial Library auditorium, Fremont.

Fremont Area Art Association’s Third Thursday Luncheon, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Gallery 92 West, Fremont. To make luncheon reservations, call 402-721-7779 or email gallery92west@92west.org.

Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, noon, Chapter 5 Club, Fremont.

Fremont Kiwanis Club, noon, Presidential Dining Room, Midland University.

Garage and bake sale, 1-7 p.m., Fremont Friendship Center, 1730 W. 16th St. Proceeds will go towards entertainment expenses for the seniors at the Friendship Center.

City of Fremont Building Code Advisory and Appeals Board, 5 p.m., Fremont Municipal Building, 400 E. Military Ave. The meeting is open to the public.

Community CPR class, 5 p.m., third floor of Fremont Health’s Health Park Plaza. Cost of the class is $50. For more information or to register, call 844-437-3666.

Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, 5:15 p.m., Chapter 5 Club, Fremont.

Hamburger night, 5:30-7 p.m., Fremont Eagles Club. The soup will be chicken noodle. Everyone is welcome.

The Banquet, 5:30-6:30 p.m., First Lutheran Church, 3200 E. Military Ave., Fremont. The dinner is for those who dine alone too often, are new to Fremont, are far from family and friends, or are simply hungry. The dinner is free.

Narcotics Anonymous It Works Group, 6:30 p.m., Good Shepherd Lutheran Church East Building, west of the church, 1440 E. Military Ave., Fremont. Enter through the rear door.

Bingo, 7 p.m., Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8223, 742 N. Main St., North Bend. Everyone is welcome.

Civil Air Patrol, 7 p.m., 1201 W. 23rd St., in yellow hangar at Fremont Airport.

Fresh Hope Support Group, 7 p.m., Dunklau Gardens Conference Room, Fremont. The faith-based support group is for those suffering from mental illness or family members and/or caregivers.

Storytime, 7-7:30 p.m., Keene Memorial Library auditorium, Fremont.

Tally Ho Toastmasters, 7-8 p.m., Midland University’s Anderson Building, Ninth and Clarkson streets, Fremont. Everyone is welcome to learn skills in communication, self-confidence and leadership. For more information, call 402-936-3479.

Community First Aid Class, 7:30 p.m., third floor of Fremont Health’s Health Park Plaza. Cost of the class is $50. For more information or to register, call 844-437-3666.

Alcoholics Anonymous big book study, 8 p.m., Chapter 5 Club, Fremont.

Narcotics Anonymous open meeting, 8 p.m., First Evangelical Lutheran Church, 201 N. Davis Ave., Oakland.

Friday

Cosmopolitan 100 Service Club, 7 a.m., Fremont Eagles Club.

Garage and bake sale, 8 a.m. to noon, Fremont Friendship Center, 1730 W. 16th St. There will be a $3 bag sale beginning at 10 a.m. Proceeds will go towards entertainment expenses for the seniors at the Friendship Center.

HomeStore, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., 701 E. Dodge St., Fremont. The HomeStore sells donated items at discounted prices. Proceeds support the mission of Fremont Area Habitat for Humanity.

Airport Advisory Board meeting, 8:15 a.m., Fremont Municipal Airport, 1203 W. 23rd St. The meeting is open to the public.

Rolls to Remember, 9-11 a.m., Nye Square, 655 W. 23rd St., Fremont. The event will honor local veterans and support the Fremont Veterans Memorial Park. Coffee, juice and cinnamon rolls will be served. Freewill donations will be accepted.

Al-Anon meeting, 9:30 a.m., Chapter 5 Club front room, Fremont.

Community Closet, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Uniquely Yours Stability Support, 240 N. Main St., Fremont. The cost is $5 to fill a bag. There is no limit of how many bags you can buy. For more information, call 402-727-8977.

Fremont Community Breastfeeding Support Group, 10-11 a.m., Three Rivers Health Department conference room, Fremont.

Storytime, 10-10:30 a.m., Keene Memorial Library auditorium, Fremont.

Baby and toddler time, 11 a.m. to noon, Keene Memorial Library auditorium.

Alcoholics Anonymous 12x12 study, noon, Chapter 5 Club, Fremont.

Fremont Rotary Club, noon, Fremont Golf Club, N. Somers Ave.

Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, 5:15 p.m., Chapter 5 Club, Fremont.

Beef stroganoff dinner, 5:30-7 p.m., Fremont Eagles Club. The regular menu also will be available. Down Memory Lane will be playing from 7-11 p.m. with a special performance by Beat Street at 8 p.m. Everyone is welcome.

Al-Anon meeting, 8-9 p.m., Chapter 5 Club back room, Fremont. This support group is for families and friends of alcoholics.

Narcotics Anonymous Point Of Freedom Group, 8 p.m., Good Shepherd Lutheran Church Education Building, west of the church, 1440 E. Military Ave., Fremont. Enter through the rear door.

Alcoholics Anonymous candlelight meeting, 10 p.m., Chapter 5 Club, Fremont.