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BPS reaffirms district's safe return plan

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Eric Trusty assumes position as president of the BPS School Board. He replaced Jon Zimmerman as the leader of the Board during the Monday, Jan. 10 meeting.

The Beatrice Public Schools Board met to appoint officers, discuss an ESU 5 instructional specialist partnership and reaffirm the district’s safe return plan during its regular meeting on Monday.

The board discussed plans to partner with ESU 5 to support incoming teachers with instructional specialists.

“We know there are an increasing number of retirements occurring, but there’s also a diminishing hiring pool," Nielsen said. "…And we all have to figure how do we help our new teachers that are just coming on board. How do we ensure that they are going to be successful moving forward and that they are successful with everything they do within the classroom?

“So one of the discussion points we have had as a superintendent team at ESU 5 is what are some steps we can look at putting into place. One of the pieces that have come up with this brainstorming session is looking at instructional specialists. And how do we collaborate to do this?”

Nielsen said the plans are still in early stages, and she will bring them before the Committee of the Whole work session later in the month.

“We wanted to bring this up that we are having these discussion,” she said. “… Right now, we do not have a lot of information, but we wanted to just make sure you were aware, that it is in conversations of how we can work together to put in supports for our new teachers across ESU.”

The January meeting, per federal and state requirements, called for a review of the district’s COVID-19 safe return plan. Alexander said the administration is monitoring COVID cases, especially with the rise of Omicron, but called on the Board to reaffirm the plan from last fall.

“We don’t have any recommendation for change in protocols at this time,” Alexander said. “Our numbers as of today show that we have 15 total positive cases in the district that we’re aware of. We recognize that Omicron is spreading quickly, and we’re monitoring it, We have daily conversations with the hospital. We also have weekly conversations again with public health solutions. So they are anticipating an increase in numbers in the next two weeks... We will monitor those numbers.”

The Board approved Alexander as the district’s federal grant and financial representative. It also approved the district’s depository banks as Pinnacle Bank, Security First Bank, First National Bank of Omaha-Beatrice branch and Bank of the West.

The board also elected new officers for the year. Eric Trusty replaced Jon Zimmerman as president of the board. The other three officers were re-elected to the same positions they held last year, with Doris Martin as vice president, Jackie Nielsen, assistant superintendent, as secretary and Jason Alexander, superintendent, as treasurer.

The next regular School Board meeting will be on Monday, Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. in the BPS Administration Building. The next Committee of the Whole meeting will take place on Jan. 27 at 6:00 p.m. in the same place.

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