DECATUR — School district officials say they are working out issues with a new information system to get student class schedules at Stephen Decatur Middle School sorted out.
Superintendent Paul Fregeau first acknowledged the issues in an interview Tuesday night. Speaking Wednesday, he said he had no immediate update on the situation, but a Stephen Decatur student had told him things were getting better at the school
“I apologize to the parents, students and staff for not meeting their expectations and I thank them for their continued patience,” Fregeau said Tuesday.
Officials said last week that the new software, as well as a rush of late registrations, created hiccups with scheduling across the entire district. Several parents contacted the Herald & Review in the past week about their children not having class schedules at Stephen Decatur, which has merged with Thomas Jefferson Middle School this year.
The move, and related renovations to allow Stephen Decatur to accommodate students from both schools, is in the first phase of the district’s wide-ranging BOLD facilities plan. Middle-school students are to be divided into one of three academies — agriculture, public service and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) — based on their interests. Officials also have said the merger means more elective courses would be available.
Stephen Decatur Principal Matt Fraas said about 900 students had been placed in their academies, and about 30 did not have proper schedules as of Tuesday.
Parent Jamie Johns said her child was initially placed in the wrong academy and was not placed into the correct academy until Friday.
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“This has been a nightmare for students and parents,” Johns said. “It wasn’t just the first day of school that didn’t go well. It has been every day since.”
Fregeau said the new information system is complex and there are a number of problems the district is working to remedy. “We are working to fix several issues with the new information system,” he said.
Josh Peters, the director of curriculum and instruction, said the district’s counseling staff was offered a six-hour training course on the software, three of which were focused on how to use the program for scheduling. The staff had the option to use online videos and a practice database for further scheduling education.
The district’s Building and Grounds staff is still working to complete classroom renovations. Before school started, the employees were working seven days a week to try to prepare. Fregeau said the construction should be completed in the coming weeks.
The district’s board approved in a 7-0 vote of purchasing $35,000 in cafeteria furniture for Stephen Decatur Middle School on Tuesday. The board accepted a $25,000 bid from Lincoln Office for makerspace tables and a $10,000 from Krueger International for eating tables.