Education Notes

Gibraltar Strategizes ‘Study and Review’ of Teacher Resignations

The Gibraltar District School Board met in closed session last Thursday to “understand our role” in a review of conditions that have led to untimely teacher resignations, according to board President Stephen Seyfer.

Initially, the board indicated it would conduct an “investigation” following the midterm resignation of a physics and chemistry teacher. But Seyfer said that because the board is not investigating wrongdoing, its upcoming work is more appropriately described as a study and review of best policies and practices. 

Seyfer elaborated further in an official board statement:

“The board, our superintendent and our district’s legal counsel completed a clear and frank conversation [during the closed session] regarding a study of teacher and parent concerns for the number and frequency of untimely resignations from district employment. We discussed what we know, what we think we know, and areas that we do not know enough about, and a strategy for gaining a clearer and informed understanding of our school’s professional environment. The process we envision requires time and effort, and we are committed to both. The board will discuss this strategy as an agenda item at our next regularly scheduled board meeting.”

Washington Island Referendum

The Washington Island School Board will ask district residents to boost its operational budget for two years. The board is working out details, but business administrator Sue Cornell said the referendum, if passed April 6, would increase property taxes by about $32 for an owner of a $200,000 house. Washington Island relies heavily on local taxes; she said the district is about 94 percent locally funded.

Door County’s Costume Closet

The Gibraltar School District will take over guardianship of 5,000 costumes that make up the Theatre Costume Consortium of Door County.

The Gibraltar District School Board instructed school administrators to authorize rental of a space this year to house the collection, which is  used by community and professional theatrical companies and the Gibraltar, Sevastopol and Sturgeon Bay school districts.

The Sturgeon Bay School District had provided spaces for the collection of costumes and props, such as at the old West Side School and, since 2009, at Sunset School. Gibraltar instructor and theater director Lizz Thomas asked the district to rent space for the collection this year until she and consortium tenders can find a permanent location.

Thomas said the district can recoup storage rental costs because the consortium provides costumes for a fee to theatrical programs at schools such as Algoma, Washington Island and Kewanee; and to organizations such as Door Shakespeare, Third Avenue Playhouse, the Ephraim Historical Foundation and other local historical societies. 

In addition, she said Gibraltar will save funds that are sometimes used on costumes and will have costumes handy for its plays, performances and activities. Thomas also said theater and business students can learn about running the consortium’s business.