DALLAS — Interim superintendent for the Dallas School District, Andy Bellando, will stay on the job a year longer than originally planned. Bellando also reported that the district may need to update its human sexuality education to reflect current standards.
On Jan. 28, the Dallas School Board voted to extend Bellando’s contract with the district through the 2020-21 school year. Bellando was to serve through the current year while the district searched for a permanent superintendent.
Bellando said he is looking forward to serving the district for another year.
“Thank you for your vote of confidence in me,” he said.
Board Chairman Michael Blanchard said the board came to a consensus that it would like to work with Hank Harris, of Human Capital Enterprises, on his proposal to conduct a search for a permanent superintendent. He said Harris broke up this proposal into separate components, so the board could choose to continue working with him or stop after any stage during the process.
Blanchard said planning for the search would start soon with meetings with the board and employees to establish a candidate profile, and to conduct a survey of the community. That work should be completed by June.
Blanchard said the board needs to declare the position vacant as of July 1, 2021, and then hire a consultant to assist with a search. That will be on the agenda for the board’s next meeting on Monday.
Sex ed standards
Bellando reported to the board at the Jan. 28 meeting that the district needs to do further investigation on whether it is out of compliance with Division 22 standards in its sex education curriculum.
Division 22 standards are education standards for elementary and secondary schools established in Oregon administrative rules. Districts give an annual report to their school boards and the public in February of each year. The report also is submitted to the state.
“This, from a school standpoint, includes compliance related to instructional hours to curriculum … there are a variety of things that are specific to the operations of a school,” Bellando said.
Bellando said the district may be out of compliance with a specific part of its human sexuality education standards.
“As a component of this standard, we are required to provide four age-appropriate instructional sessions per year on child sexual abuse prevention to all students ages kindergarten to grade 12,” Bellando said. “Our review this point determined at this component may not be fully instructed at all elementary grade levels. As a plan of correction, which we are required to do, the district will undertake a review of our human sexuality education curriculum to determine any missing instructional requirement related to child sexual abuse prevention.”
He said any additional sessions, if needed, will be added to the 2020-21 school year curriculum.
Bellando said the district is in compliance with guidance counseling standards, but the district doesn’t meet an optional recommendation of having a 250 to 1 student to counselor ratio.
“While this ratio is a recommendation only, I believe it to be an important consideration during the 2020-21 budget development process,” Bellando said. “I think that we’re in a pretty reasonable position to do that considering our efforts towards mental health supports and addressing the needs of historically underserved populations.”
Board member Dave Hunt asked how close the district was to meeting that recommendation.
“We are pretty close at the high school level,” Bellando said. “We are a bit further off at the middle school level and we are no where near it at the elementary level.”
Bellando said the recommendation relates to licensed school counselors who could teach classes, not the counselors currently provided through a contract with Polk County. He said while the relationship with Polk County is valuable, counselors provided through the county are not required to be licensed teachers.
“Our school counselors will oftentimes do other maybe school-specific, career-based type guidance that would not be within the natural offerings that we expect from Polk County,” Bellando said.