February 26, 2009

State finds glitch in preschool staff license

Center-Stanton Superintendent of Schools Royal Lyson informed the school board at its meeting Feb. 12 that the North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board has reported a problem with the license of the district’s preschool teacher, Laurie Thompson.

The standards and practices board is the teacher licensing entity with the North Dakota Department of Education. It notified the Center-Stanton administration this month that Thompson is not "highly qualified" according to the No Child Left Behind requirements.

CS Elementary Principal Kathy Bullinger said that the NDDE had previously given the district the go-ahead for Thompson, who holds a degree in early childhood special education, to teach preschool. However, after reviewing information the district sent in on each teacher in the fall, the state board decided Thompson doesn’t meet the requirements.

"We did what we thought was right, and then they found a glitch," Bullinger said. Lyson said that to get qualified Thompson would have to complete several courses and student teach. He added that the district could hire her as the teacher next year, and the preschool program wouldn’t be accredited by the state.

This wouldn’t be a problem, according to Lyson, since the state isn’t funding preschool. However, the district incorrectly listed Thompson as highly qualified this year, according to the board, so the district needs to make a change for the remainder of the preschool term.

For now Lyson suggested hiring retired kindergarten teacher Joletta Schmidt as the preschool teacher and offering Thompson a preschool aide position until April 30 when the term ends. He said that Thompson is aware of these developments but wasn’t certain if she would accept this arrangement. Schmidt has indicated she would be willing to fill out the term.

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