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District plans partnership with Providence St. Joseph

March 18, 2015

Berl Tiskus | Valley Journal - Ronan, MT

Polson, MT—Alternative education opportunities for Polson High School students were on the Polson School Board of Trustees meeting agenda March 9. Some students have trouble with the regular school experience, so Polson High School offers on-line classes, such as the Montana Digital Academy; credit retrieval programs; alternative schedules and independent study classes.

One of the latest efforts of the alternative education committee involves students working with Providence St. Joseph Medical Center. The hospital is offering opportunities for job shadowing, internship and eventually a nursing program.

The model they are looking at is a certified nursing assistant program, according to Rex Weltz, PHS principal. Stepping stone occupations such as Certified Nursing Assistants, emergency medical technicians and pharmacy technicians all are service-related career fields society will need and might lead “from CNA to RN.”

“It’s a cool opportunity to partner with the hospital, then Flathead Valley Community College and the Office of Public Instruction,” Weltz said. “I’m excited about this program. We have a CEO at the hospital who wants our kids there.”

In other business, trustees voted to approve a memorandum of understanding regarding the completion date of the evaluation system.

Last year the teachers union approved a new pay scale similar to Ronan’s, which requires teachers to do projects and professional service to work themselves up the pay ladder replacing automatic pay raises.

A committee of teachers who are union members, all the administrators and a school board member have been meeting almost weekly on the issue.

The memorandum will allow the district to run a pilot year during the 2015-16 school year to work out the kinks. since many questions have come up during their meetings.

Trustees approved another new program, the veteran’s work assessment program. Under its umbrella, local veteran Cody Staley, who served in United States Army Airborne Infantry, will work as a technician/trainee in the district’s IT department for six months.

The school board’s next regularly scheduled meeting will be held April 12 at 5:30 p.m. in the district’s conference room.