Key changes proposed for school calendar

February 25, 2012

Wednesday's meeting of the board of directors for Hood River County School District had some new faces in the audience: members of Boy Scout Troop 282, who were there to observe the school district at work.

At the end of the meeting, one of the board members asked whether the boys had any questions, and there was only one: "Are the meetings always this long?"

"This one was actually one of the shorter ones," Supt. Charlie Beck said of the two-hour meeting.

One of the main topics under discussion was the most recent draft for the 2012-13 school calendar. As parents will learn soon, the draft under consideration has two important differences from past calendars:

Almost all holidays and teacher professional development days have been moved to Mondays, leaving at least four days a week of uninterrupted class time. Most Mondays would be one-hour release days, whether as late-start or early release it hasn't been determined.

There would be no school the three days preceding Thanksgiving, so children would have the whole week off. There would still be the same number of class days in the year; the other three days would be non-contract days and conference compensation days that were moved from a different week.

Beck said that traditionally, those three days are low-attendance days and that other districts in the state have made the same change.

The changes will mean that the school year will have 29 five-day weeks in the year, compared to 26 this year.

Parents will soon be receiving information about the proposed calendar, and an advisory survey will give them a chance to offer feedback on the changes. The board will need to have the calendar finalized by April 1.

In other business, Beck told the board that he had been invited by Cascade Locks Mayor Lance Masters and city council to attend a recent council meeting.

"It was a wonderful conversation," Beck said. "I would characterize the meeting as friendly and a positive experience.

He came away from the meeting with a list of three things that Masters said the city council asks of the school board:

Consider having a school board position specifically for Cascade Locks (which would require redistricting, Beck said);

Be willing to pay for and administer a ballot asking the citizens of Cascade Locks what they thought of moving the school district attendance area to Corbett;

Give the council a written resolution that the board always intends to have a school in Cascade Locks.

Beck said those three items will be an agenda item on an upcoming school board meeting, though not necessarily the next one.

The next regular meeting will be held March 14, 6:30 p.m. at the district office.

The Hood River County School District is interested in the community’s feedback on the 2012-2013 school calendar survey. Visit the HRCSD website at and click on the Parent Calendar Survey – 2012-2013. the deadline to fill out the survey is the end of day of Wednesday, March 7.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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