Galion BOE updated on One-to-One Program, Professional Development
By Matt Echelberry
Galion Board of Education held a regular meeting Sept. 12. Updates on the 2012–13 school year and the One-to-One Technology Program were provided, along with details for this year’s Professional Development.
Before the meeting, sample cups of ice cream were passed out that came from the new frozen yogurt machine the district purchased recently. The yogurt is now being offered to students in the cafeteria.
It was Terri Day’s first meeting as treasurer for Galion City Schools. She was hired by the Board in July and attended the August meetings to bring herself up to speed. Day presented the financial report for August, which was approved.Dr. Sandy Powell, director of curriculum, presented the “Professional Development Focus” for the 2012–13 school year. She explained that the emphasis was development for the One-to-One technology program that the district started this school year, by incorporating project-based learning for students and new instruction practices for teachers.
Dr. Kathy Jenney, superintendent of the district, added that she had been meeting with parents recently about the One-to-One program to inform them of the district’s plans. There was a delay in getting computers out, but the 8th graders were set to get their laptops on Friday (yesterday). Other grades to follow in the coming weeks.
Powell also said there is still no state report card for the district due to the Ohio Department of Education’s investigation of some school districts that allegedly submitted inaccurate data. However, Board President Dennis Long noted that some preliminary information should be released soon.
During a meeting last month, Powell explained the 3rd grade guarantee to the Board, in which students in grades K-3 will be required to have their reading skills assessed each year. She said the district will need to create intervention tools for students in each grade who do not meet the requirements. (Third grade students who fail the assessment will be retained, starting with the 2013–14 school year.)
Parents of failing students in all of those grades will be notified after students are assessed. ODE is allowing individual districts to use whatever means of intervention they choose this year, but beginning next year there will be set guidelines.Jenney commented that all of the school buildings had a smooth start last week, even with the cuts that had to be made. She provided an update on enrollment numbers for this year. The primary and intermediate schools both had a slight increase and the middle school was up 26 students. Jenney reported there were 58 more students altogether in the district this year.
She discussed issues like class sizes and student scheduling with the Board. Both issues are at the middle school, and come because of a larger student population as well as the staff reductions. Some high school teachers also teach at middle school to accommodate the smaller staff.
Jenney also said that about 15 families took advantage of the revision to the transportation policy that was implemented this year, in which students could be picked up or dropped off at one alternative address.
In personnel recommendations, Josh Riggle (elementary teacher) was reinstated and Janice Tuscan (educational assistant) was recalled. The following extra duty assignments were approved: Bryce Lehman as 7th grade girls basketball coach, Fred Beachy as 8th grade girls basketball coach and Cara Yaussey as a home instruction tutor.
“We need to look at numbers again to see how much we’re actually saving now,” Board member Bob Zeisler said. He was concerned that the amount the district saved as a result of staff reductions has been significantly reduced because of all the employees that have been brought back.
In financial recommendations, the new health and dental insurance premium rates were approved, effective Nov. 1. The new insurance broker for the district is SuperMedPlus Medical and the rates were a 14.7 percent increase for district. Final appropriations for fiscal year 2013 were approved and the treasurer will submit them to the county auditor by Oct. 1.
The Board approved contracts with Apple Lane Transportation to provide students with disabilities transportation to Mansfield Middle and High schools, and with AVID Center for membership and professional development services at the middle and high schools in the amount of $16,325.
An agreement with K12 School Consultants was also approved for address verification services. The company checks the addresses of Galion residents who go to school at other districts. Jenney explained this eliminates fraud and ensures proper district responsibility.
A final agreement with Northwest Ohio Juvenile Detention, Training and Rehabilitation Center was also approved to provide Galion resident students with education. Jenney explained that there have been some students in the district placed there by the courts, but they are still responsible for paying.
In a final order of business, the Board passed a resolution with the administrative support staff to increase employee contribution to insurance premiums by 10 percent. The Board then entered executive session to consider the appointment, employment, dismissal, discipline, promotion, demotion or compensation of a public employee. No further action was to be taken.