Castelli heading to Smithton

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The Columbia School Board approved the resignation of assistant superintendent Courtney Castelli at Thursday’s meeting. 

Castelli, whose resignation is effective June 30, has accepted a position as superintendent in the Smithton School District. 

“We wish her well,” Columbia Superintendent Chris Grode said. 

Castelli became assistant superintendent in May 2019 after serving as an administrator in the Columbia School District for 11 years, most recently as Columbia Middle School Principal. 

“I feel incredibly blessed to have spent the past 13 years of my career in the district,” Castelli said. “I feel a sense of pride when I reflect on the accomplishments of the staff. Most of all, I cherish the relationships that have been built with staff, students and families.”  

The board also unanimously OK’d the 2021-22 school calendar, with the first day of school set for Aug. 18 and last day scheduled for May 23. That final date is dependent on the district not using emergency days such as snow days. 

At the February board meeting, the board tabled a vote on calendar approval to give Grode more time to consider using e-learning days instead of snow days. 

The fact that this calendar includes emergency days does not mean Grode has made a decision. 

“We haven’t decided if we’re doing the e-learning days,” he stressed. “Snow days will always exist. Emergency days will always be there for the possibility of doing snow days.”

“It’s something you want to look at and explore, but nothing has been decided and we’re moving slowly,” Grode added.  

E-learning days would be similar to remote learning, though there would be some differences like it taking an asynchronous approach. 

Grode said the district may use some snow days and some e-learning days in the future. 

He said he plans to continue the process of getting permission from the state to use e-learning days, which includes holding a public hearing on the matter. 

“We’re still going to go through the process of listening to all the stakeholders’ inputs in e-learning days,” he explained. “We’re trying to do what the community desires as we educate their children. It’s good to get public input, and that’s why I think going through the process is a good thing to do.”

Following a Republic-Times article about the possibility of e-learning days instead of snow days last month, Grode said he heard from a few people who were against that idea. 

If that trend continues, Grode said the district may continue without e-learning days. 

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