The Havre Public Schools’ Board of Trustees like to see what’s happening in the schools, and this year they’re getting a better view than usual, from the students’ desks.
In place of an annual bus tour, called the Yellow Bus Tour, the trustees have begun a new program, Big for a Day, in which each board members follows a student’s schedule at a particular school.
“We’ve been doing the Yellow Bus Tour for quite some time, ” Superintendent Andy Carlson said. “I think it was a really good idea, however I think it kind of ran its course. ”
The new program came from conversations Carlson had with the board, where they said they knew the buildings but wanted “to spend more time in the classroom. ”
“They get a lot of questions, ” Carlson said. “I think it would lend some credibility to their answers when they can say, ‘I’ve been in the classroom. I’ve seen the instruction. I know what’s happening. ’”
Trustee Cindy Erickson spent Thursday at Havre Middle School, following her niece’s sixth-grade daughter. The Havre Daily News caught up with her, sitting in Richard Brown’s social studies class.
“There are always some new things going on up here, and I haven't spent enough time up here, ” Erickson said. “Things have changed a lot since my kids were up here. There's so much more interaction. Teacher-student talking, more talking. It used to be, the teacher hands out a test, and it was quiet. It's so much more informal. And I think that's a good thing.
“They learn together a lot. I think that's pretty cool. ”
Even her visit to the cafeteria earlier in the day offered insight to modern school life.
“You missed lunch, ” Erickson said. “It was like Black Friday. ”
Board members Mark Magelssen and Theresa Miller have also spent days in the schools earlier this semester, at Sunnyside Intermediate School and Havre High School.
Harvey Capellan and Darlene Bricker are planning on visiting Havre High on Dec. 18.
Carlson spent a day in Havre Middle School.
“It was fun to participate as a student, ” Carlson said. “It confirmed what I believe to be true, that Havre Public Schools are a good place for kids. Our staff and kids are working hard.
“I did hear that the students were not asking questions as much as usual. I think they were just wondering who the old guy was. ”