New passing period to add one minute

By Chad Koenen


If every minute counts, Henning School students will have a chance to catch their breath and make the most of an additional minute of passing time during the day.

During its regularly scheduled meeting on Monday night, the Henning School Board approved a pilot program for the second semester that will allow for a four minute passing time in-between classes. The students currently have three minutes to get from one class to the next and each class is 47 minutes long. 

The new class schedule will feature 45 minute class periods with four minutes of passing time in-between classes. There will also be a second chance breakfast/snack time from 9:47-9:58 a.m. every morning. The goal was to provide students a chance for a late breakfast or snack, which could be free if the students did not already eat breakfast that morning. 

The new bell schedule was discussed last month after a group of students brought forward a concern over a lack of time to get from one class to the next. They also brought up the idea of bringing back a healthy snack option during the morning, similar to what was done several years ago.

Henning Principal Thomas Williams said the extra time in-between classes will be good for students and staff members alike, to allow them time to go to the bathroom and more easily get from one class to the next.

“If we look at the students I think this is good for them,” he said. 

While several school board members said they struggle with shortening the time of each class period, the proposal ultimately passed on a trial period for the second semester by a 5-1 margin. School board member Kim Haugen voted in dissent of the proposal. 

World’s Best Workforce

In addition to the change in passing time for high school students, the school board heard its annual World’s Best Workforce report. 

As part of the report the district identified several goals that is would attempt to meet. While the COVID-19 pandemic created challenges for school districts across the country last year, Henning School did receive some positive news from its annual report.

The district met both of its goals in regards to closing the achievement gaps in reading and math proficiency on the MCA tests between the special education and general education students. The district met its math proficiency goal gap which dipped from 37 percent to 24.4 percent, but narrowly missed its reading proficiency goal, which dropped from 49 percent to 45 percent. The district’s goal was to have a 44 percent gap.

For career planning, 96 percent of students took either the ACT or ASVAB test last year, while the district’s goal was 100 percent. A total of 75 percent of the senior class met with the school counselor at one point during the school year.

Another goal was partially met in regards to graduation. The district had a goal of having 100 percent of students graduate last year. A total of 97 percent of students graduated, but the goal of having a seven year graduation rate average of 95 percent was met as the district’s seven year graduation rate was 97 percent. 

Henning School Superintendent Melissa Sparks said the pandemic did affect the students and staff members last year with so much uncertainty regarding distance learning, students and staff members being out for long periods of time due to being in quarantine and the difficulty of dealing with the pandemic itself. As a result, the district narrowly missed out on several other goals as part of the World’s Best Workforce report. 

For example, the district had a goal of having 70 percent of all students entering kindergarten in the fall will meet proficiency levels to signify they are kindergarten ready. The district had 69.23 percent of students meet that goal. 

Another goal was that 70 percent of all third grade students enrolled at Henning will score proficient or exceeds proficiency on the MCA reading tests. The district had 55.2 percent of students meet that goal. 

In other news

• Heard a report from Lori Christensen from ICS regarding the upcoming facility planning study and process at Henning School. 

• Approved the hiring of Hunter Haggenmiller as a long-term substitute teacher. 

• Approved the final 2021 payable 2022 levy in the amount of $1.019 million. That amount was increased 7.6 percent from last year. 

• Approved setting the school board’s reorganization meeting for Monday, Jan. 10 at 6:30 p.m. with the regular school board meeting to follow at 7 p.m. 

• Heard that the district received 8.1 percent more revenue than anticipated, while under spending its budget by 2.9 percent last year. The finding came as the school board received its annual audit. The district also learned revenues exceeded expenses by just over $250,000, but board chair Reed Reinbold cautioned that the district had just a part-time superintendent last year and received additional funding due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He said without that additional funding and a full-time superintendent like they currently have, that number would have been closer to a break-even amount.