May 12, 2022

Gilbert Public School Board Approves Instructional Time Model Review

Dawn Antestenis speaks to the Gilbert Public Schools Board of Trustees about the district’s marketing and communications efforts. (Screenshot from YouTube)

The Gilbert Public Schools Board of Trustees has approved a revision to its previously approved instructional time model to cater to its distance-learning special needs kindergarten through Settler’s Point Elementary School.

The unanimous vote came after the council held the second of two public hearings to make the review, as outlined in a new state law passed in the spring. The first hearing took place on October 26.

Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning Barbara Newman reviewed the revision that will allow remote special education preschool students to be instructed using a videoconferencing format of Webex with a certified teacher and paraprofessional in attendance.

Sessions include weekly whole group, small group, and individualized instruction. Students in need of related services receive therapies according to the individualized educational plan.

The curriculum is the same as that used in physical preschool programs with materials provided for home learning, Newman said.

Students in the Special Education Distance Preschool Program are enrolled at Settler’s Point and reported to the Arizona Department of Education as part of the school. The class includes qualified special education students and tuition students.

Nine students are enrolled in the class, Newman said during the Oct. 26 hearing.

Preschool students follow periods remotely while teachers lead instruction. A class teacher will take attendance as if the students were in person. Students must be connected and engaged to be counted as attending.

Marketing efforts

Director of Marketing and Communications Dawn Antestenis and Terri Bradford, Head of Digital Media and Brand Strategy briefed the Board on the district’s marketing and communications efforts, which Antestenis said are designed to increase enrollment, retain students and staff, and create a brand of trust for the district.

New to the district are New to the District efforts are Online Reputation Management, a good new initiative called Gilbert GOLD, and Level Up, a collection of events and efforts to support students transitioning from elementary to middle school.

Gilbert GOLD offers written, video and photographic content that represents the GPS experience as a student, employee or member of the “GPS family”, said Antestenis. Work is posted on district and school websites, social media, and newsletters. It is produced by former ABC15 News producer Kailey Latham and videographer/photographer Jonason Pauley.

The Level Up campaign aims to support primary school students in their transition to lower secondary school and encourage them to do so at GPS schools.