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Van-Far School District establishes dean of students position

Posted on Wednesday, March 29, 2023 at 8:40 pm

By Woodrow Polston

During the Van-Far R-I Board of Education meeting last week, a new position was proposed on the agenda for the 2023-24 school year. The position—dean of students—would include job duties such as assisting the elementary and high school principals with daily tasks and overseeing general operations. Superintendent John Fortney said that other districts start the salary for this position around $65,000.
“Most districts that are adding this position are single building districts,” said Fortney. In having conversations with other superintendents, we are looking at an 11 month contract with administrative certification, which provides us legal liability protection that we want to have, as this person will be dealing with student behavior, the juvenile office, providing support to administrators for attendance and making home visits. This person would work as a liaison between the children’s division and the school resource officers, and being the administrative manager in the absence of the principals,” he added.
Essential duties and responsibilities for the position include assisting administration with the day to day operations and running of the schools in both PK-6 and 7-12 buildings, overseeing day-to-day disciplinary issues, working closely with administrators and faculty to ensure compliance with school policies and effective communication, keeping accurate records regarding disciplinary infractions and consequences, monitoring and organizing students’ attendance.
Additionally, the dean of students prepares letters, calls parents, and attends meetings as needed. Regarding absent or tardy students; the dean provides leadership for attendance improvement efforts, working collaboratively with school counselors and the nurse to support student needs, referring potential counseling issues to the school counselors and medical issues to the nurse, participates as needed in Individualized Education Plan meetings and roundtables, supervises students on campus before and after school; monitors students during lunch, passing periods, and other activities, instructs students in appropriate behavior; disciplines students in accordance with established guidelines, provides direction to a variety of faculty, staff, and student programs and services, participates in formal and informal classroom visitations and observations, provides recommendations and suggestions for improvements as appropriate, attends district team meetings, facilitates restorative conversations between students and staff members, communicates with the Juvenile Office, Children’s Division and other community organizations and resources, assists in the coordination of academic support for students, upholds security procedures and protocols, advocates for students, conducts home visits, and other duties as assigned.
Elementary Principal Brian Hummel said he was in favor of adding the position.
“I think it is a good idea and will be helpful in may ways,” said Hummel. “There are so many different things that require someone to be at the principal’s office. I think that this person would be good for filling that role while the principal is in the classrooms and observing what is going on in the school. So I believe that adding this position has many good benefits for our district,” he added.
A motion was made and seconded to approve the opening of the position. All voted in favor. A salary was not decided during this meeting.