03/14/11 As the search continues for a replacement Director of Athletics and Activities/Dean of Students for LaVille Jr.-Sr. High School, Superintendent Dr. Terry Barker and Principal Chuck Phillips are taking a close look at the job description for the position. At the regular school board meeting on Thursday night, the board voted unanimously to change the number of work days from 233 to 235 days per year. At the last meeting of the board in February, the board accepted the resignation of Brian Stults as Athletic Director and Head Football Coach.
Phillips said the person in the position handles much of the discipline and they are seeking a candidate with an administration license. When questioned by the board if the duties would stretch someone in the position too far, Phillips said, “We’ve all had to do more with less.”
Barker asked for approval of a revised version of the 2011-2012 school calendars Barker indicated that there were too many days for the month of April listed in the original document. The board did vote in approval for the calendar that will have teachers starting on August 15 and students beginning the year on August 16. According to Barker, there are days built in for school closings that will allow the end dates of May 24 for teachers and May 23 for students.
Dr. Barker had a change order on the board agenda to discuss the installation of the well water cooling piping and control to replace the cooling tower at the elementary school. The matter was brought up during the December, 2010 meeting. At that time, it was noted then that the current cooling tower was in need of replacement. The board asked for cost figures for the project before making any decisions. On Thursday night, Barker said the estimate for plumbing would be $65,282; however, he has not received estimates for moving earth, electric work or laying of pipe. Barker indicated that there have been concerns noted that has prompted him to study the project further before making a recommendation.
Barker said, “I don’t have an abundance of confidence.” He then pointed out some oversights that they had experienced during the renovation of the LaVille Jr.-Sr. High School such as that of the sound system. He said, “I’ve been very pleased with the sub-contractors and the work that they have done.” He said the contractors have pointed out problems to both he and Phillips since they seem to be approachable. He also said that pole lights were omitted on design drawings for a new driveway.
Barker said, “We are looking at other alternatives at the elementary.” He added, “I want to emphasize that it will still stay within the bond amount.”
Speaking of Skillman, the company overseeing the renovation projects, Barker said, “For the most part, they have done their job. I’ve had to take them to task on a couple of points.” He said, “I have had more of an issue with design from the architectural engineer.”
Another discussion item included in the agenda was the idea of moving from text based to technology based curriculum. Principal Phillips and Technology Director Mike Sumpter showed the board and the audience a PowerPoint presentation on what they see as a vision for the future.
Phillips said, “What we’re going to get to is one-to-one learning.” Phillips said LaVille is in competition with other schools in the area. In sharing exactly what the change could entail, Phillips said, “One student-one computer-one interactive personalized experience with highly qualified educators.”
He expounded on how access to iPod casts from teachers, email access to teachers, unlimited resources at their fingertips and flexible learning opportunities could benefit the students.
He said, “Do we want to lead, follow or get out of the way?”
He said the use of technology would allow students to stay connected an engaged every hour of the day. He added, “It increases student accountability for their education.”
Of course, change would not come without a price tag. Sumpter said there would be professional development costs, up front costs, and some hidden costs such as possibly expanding the band width of their system.
Phillips used a coined acronym of “BYOD” (bring your own devise) as one possible way to curtail cots. One scenario would allow students bring in their own electronic devises for use in the classrooms.
Dr. Barker said, “It is teacher a facilitated learning experience. We have the potential to do some really great things with this.”
Sumpter said they have 850 devices that he oversees currently, not including the servers, etc.
Board member Dave Grenert said, “I think this is a way for kids to be energized for school.”
Carol Anders Correspondent