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Brookfield Board of Education approves allowing virtual learners to return to classrooms

Angie Talken

By Angie Talken

The Brookfield Board of Education met recently to discuss long-range planning, Clarence Cannon Conference Participation Standards and approved allowing virtual learners to return to the classroom as soon as the start of the second quarter.

Dr. Kyle Collins, Brookfield R-II Superintendent, said in 2017 the then-board approved a long-range plan. At the recent meeting, the board discussed what had been completed and projects going forward. Projects on the long-range plan that have been completed include converting the district to LED lighting district-wide, remodeling of classrooms, a complete remodel and new room for the early childhood center, installation of a security camera system campus-wide and foundation repair. Collins said all of those projects were completed using reserved and local funds. 

“The largest project is the one we are getting ready to start, which is the construction of the restroom, concession area, completion of lighting on track, construction of baseball/softball field and parking lot improvements,” Collins said. Funds front he recently passed Proposition 2 will pay for the new construction and repairs.

The project is currently out for bids. The district will host a pre-bid meeting on Nov. 2 at 5 p.m., at the school district office for contractors interested, bids are due at school on Nov. 10 at 2 p.m. Collin said the board hopes to have a contractor selected shortly after.

The long-range plan was developed by a group of school personnel, community and board members.

“I always look at it from a five-year standpoint and what needs to be done in that five year period,” Collins said. “We are always reevaluating that to make sure we are addressing any new issues or concerns.”

Collins presented Mary Farrenkopf with a retirement bell and thanked her for her 22 years of service as a paraprofessional in the district.

The board also approved the use of the Clarence Cannon Conference Participation Standards for this winter.

Standards state participants will receive four tickets each for family and friends. There will be no pep band or student sections. Cheerleaders will be allowed to attend away games at the schools’ discretion.

“The intent is to reduce the capacity since we are indoors,” Collins said. “We know everyone loves to have a crowded packed gym and that environment,  but in reality we know we have to make adjustments so kids can play and keep the school open and not have any major outbreaks or contribute the spread of COVID-19.”

Collins said that over the course of the school year there have been about 100 students and staff who have been quarantined due to COVID-19. Most of those students have staff have returned, he said. 

According to meeting minutes, the board approved allowing students who were doing virtual learning to return to classes for the second quarter.

“Dr. Collins and the administrative team asked the board to consider opening up a very short time period, perhaps two days, at the beginning of the second quarter for students who chose virtual learning over learning in person the opportunity to switch to learning in person immediately due to the fact that a large percentage of students attending virtually are currently failing their classes. This is happening in all grades in large percentages,” according to meeting minutes. “Originally students and parents were informed that whatever type of learning they chose at the beginning of the school year would last a full semester, with no opportunity to switch to the other option until semester 1 was completed. The administrative teams would like to amend this portion of the Return to School Plan in hopes of helping more students to achieve academically. Discussion followed. The board voted unanimously to allow students who are currently enrolled as virtual learners to change to in-person learners for the second quarter, as soon as possible for the next few days, with administrators notifying parents and students immediately.”