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Our mission is to graduate 100 percent of our students, college and career ready.

Board Report - February 12, 2024

Pictured are members of the Union Public Schools Board of Education, from left to right, President Heather McAdams, Superinte


Board Reports

Board Considers Two New Proposals For 2024-2025 School Calendar

In response to public comments, Union administrators presented two new proposals for the 2024-2025 school calendar to the Board of Education for a first reading Monday, February 12. The Board is now expected to decide on the new school calendar during a second reading on Monday, March 11.

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” said Superintendent Dr. Kirt Hartzler. “When we make these kinds of proposals, we put them out for a first read, and this one had historic levels of input. There was a dominant narrative that parents and teachers did not like the ‘every other Friday’ late-start, which they found confusing. We knew we had to make a change.”

As a result, two new options are being presented. Under the two new proposals, Union would either have Late Start Fridays on every Friday, starting 40 minutes later, OR utilize Early Release Fridays, dismissing students 40 minutes earlier on every Friday. School hours for Monday through Thursday would not be changed under either scenario.

View Late Start Friday Option 1.

View Early Release Friday Option 2.

The public may email comments about these calendar options to

Union had discontinued Late Start Fridays a few years ago due to the pandemic, but administrators want to bring the program back as a necessary professional development time for teachers.

Otherwise, the calendar proposals mirror the current school calendar. Both proposed calendars call for the first day of school to start August 15, with the last day tentatively set for May 28, with five snow days built into the calendar. Once again, there are also two virtual days – one in October and another in April – where students will complete assignments at home while teachers are involved in collaboration and training. If no snow days are used, the last day of school would be May 20.

Please share your thoughts on:

  • Which option, Late Start or Early Release Friday, you prefer for teacher collaboration time.
  • What is important about the school calendar. 

Your feedback is valuable and will help us develop a calendar that meets the needs of our entire school community. 

Please participate in our online survey. The survey will be active until Friday, February 23.


Board Members Hear Report on Union’s Strategic Plan


Dr. Todd Nelson, senior executive director of Research, Design, and Assessment, provided the Board with an update on the district’s Strategic Plan for 2023-2028.

“Union is a district known for proactive innovation, a commitment to excellence, a devotion to the needs of students and the achievement of high expectations,” Nelson said. “We have completed the objectives, actions, measures, and timeline for the new plan that is designed to keep us on course. It will present us with new opportunities for our students while supporting a strong and healthy culture among our staff. We will continue to pursue progress toward our mission of ‘100% graduation, college and career-ready.”

Nelson shared the plan’s Strategic Pursuits in five focus areas, which provide guidance for leadership policy decisions and the development of initiatives, programs and strategies: 

  1. Teaching & Learning;
  2. Partnerships;
  3. Human Capital;
  4. Business/Operations; and
  5. Culture.

Altogether, 40 strategic objectives have been combined into a single document, with organizational overlap supporting multiple areas. Strategic objectives are accompanied by actions steps and a timeline for completion, as well as performance measures to track process.

It will be updated on an annual basis and serve as a guide as we move forward over the next five years.

View Strategic Plan 2023-2028 Measures and Timeline.

Union 6th & 7th Grade Center Principals Tammy Ward and Crystal Pounds were recognized – along with nurse Amy Bustos, Shawna H

Union 6th & 7th Grade Center Principals Tammy Ward and Crystal Pounds were recognized – along with nurse Amy Bustos, Shawna Hight and Carol Samuels – for their role in saving the life of Rich Lehman, an ER2 paraprofessional.  They are pictured with Superintendent Dr. Kirt Hartzler.

6th/7th Grade Center Employees Recognized

Union 6th/7th Grade Center Principals Tammy Ward and Crystal Pounds were recognized – along with nurse Amy Bustos, and teachers Shawna Hight and Carol Samuels – for their role in saving the life of Rich Lehman, an ER2 paraprofessional.  

In late November, Rich collapsed outside the hallway of his classroom and required resuscitation. According to Ward, the two teachers, Hight and Samuels, had just dropped students off at their electives and jumped into action when they saw Lehman on the ground.

“We have a saying at the 6th/7th Grade Center that we are ‘All In,’ and that’s exactly what we are,” said Ward. “By the time I arrived on the scene, they had all jumped into action and were taking care of business” with the use of an AED defibrillator. “As we know with teachers, we are saving lives each and every day. In this instance, it truly was lifesaving.”

Board Members Revise Two Policies on Student Transfers & Student Credits

The Board of Education approved revisions to two Board policies involving student transfers and credit by exam or proficiency-based promotions.

The revisions to policy 5500 Student Transfer are based on state administrative code updates regarding the revoking of transfers and a rule change by the Oklahoma Secondary School Activity Association (OSSAA) regarding the eligibility of transfer students. 

The revision to policy 5505 Credit by Exam and Proficiency-based Promotion addresses students in rare situations, who earn credit by examination within a course that also incorporates regular instructional time.  The grade earned in such situations may vary according to the student’s performance.  The revision allows a grade other than an ‘A’ to be assigned in those situations.

In other action, the Board:

  • Approved a resolution for the sale of $33 million in bonds as part of the bond package approved by voters on February 14, 2023.
  • Approve the purchase and installation of a center-mounted, four-sided video display system, two fixed LED scoreboards, and two shot clocks for the UMAC Arena from AMAX Sign Company in the amount of $423,013.00 from bond funds.
    The current center-mounted video display and scoreboards at the UMAC are original to the building and due for replacement. The video display boards, fixed scoreboards, shot clocks, video control equipment, and software will be furnished and supported by AMAX Sign Company and Watchfire Sign Company. The equipment was sourced through the BuyBoard national purchasing cooperative.
  • Accepted a bid for $197,711 from The Watts Company to renovate the nurse’s office at the High School. The office needs updating and expansion to properly accommodate the current needs and demands of the High School. The remodel will provide for a larger student waiting area, additional patient beds, additional storage, and an additional restroom. The area will also receive updates to finishes and lighting to further enhance the appearance of the space.
  • Approved the purchase of Barracuda Sentinel and Forensics accessories from DirSec for $184,900. This purchase will continue the existing email anti-spam filter as well as two additional pieces.

The first piece, Sentinel, is designed to mitigate Spear phishing attacks. Where the existing Anti-Spam filter will help prevent known phishing attacks, it is very difficult to address Sentinel in a real-time security solution to try to prevent direct attacks while integrating directly with Office 365. Sentinel will also allow the District to automatically delete any suspected emails from all mailboxes that are viewed as suspect.

The second piece of this purchase is Barracuda Forensics. Forensics will provide the district with the ability to track the entire life of an email message. If an attack makes it through, Forensics will allow the district to identify the email and all recipients that may have received the email. Forensics will then determine what the email's purpose was, if the end user clicked on any links or forwarded emails. Forensics provides very granular detail of all transport and behavior of any email message.