The Board of Education is reviewing the amount of time teachers who double as coaches spend on the road and out of the classroom to determine and mitigate potential impacts on student learning.
Board member Lynn Hohl requested an administrative analysis on Jan. 5, which was submitted during a board meeting on Sept. 7, by Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Director of Finance Laurie Olson. In total, staff from 16 district schools used 428 days of Extra-Curricular Leave during the 2015 fiscal year, which began on July 1, 2014, according to the report.
“Effective instruction occurs through intentional planning, intentional teaching and intentional assessments to meet the individual learning needs and abilities of the student,” Hohl wrote in her request, quoting an excerpt from Board Policy. “I believe by intentionally focusing on these known recurring absences throughout our district, we can positively impact student learning both for students remaining in classrooms when teams travel and those who travel.”
No board discussion has taken place regarding the report yet, Hohl said, but through her request, she wants to initiate the conversation.
“As a parent of four former student athletes in a relatively small school (Seward High School) with high participation numbers, I am well aware of the benefits and impacts of athletics,” Hohl wrote in her request. “I regret that I never really thought of many ways to offset the negatives.”
Hohl cited concerns she heard from the parents of Seward Elementary School students whose teacher coached two high school sports.
“Although wonderful for the high school athletes who benefit, these parents believe their kids are missing important instructional time,” Hohl wrote in her report.
The parents requested having a consistent substitute who can step in whenever the teacher is scheduled to leave, Hohl wrote. She suggested the school district look into finding substitutes who can provide “effective instruction during absences,” and incorporating those factors while choosing coaches.
“I’m confident we’re all aware there is a financial and instructional cost whenever a substitute replaces a classroom teacher, whatever the reason,” Hohl said in an interview.
School district spokesperson Pegge Erkeneff said administration completes an analysis of Extra-Curricular leave use annually, but it is not generally shared with the board “with this level of detail.” Extra-curricular leave is generally used when an employee travels as a coach or chaperone, she said.
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