Manila School Board approves proposed technology plan

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Manila School Board reviewed the proposed technology plans presented by Jason Baltimore, technology coordinator, at the Thursday, Feb. 16, meeting. Baltimore explained the plan has to be in place to qualify for any E-rate funds available to the district. E-rate funding is reimbursement on phone bills, internet, etc.

Jason Baltimore, technology coordinator, speaks to the Manila School Board members presenting a technology plan for the district.

Baltimore reviewed the list of needs listed in the proposed technology plans over the next few years including more work stations, Front Row microphone systems in the classrooms where they are not installed; Smart Board training and Smart Boards in all classrooms.

He said the district has done a good job over the last three years.

"Three years ago we did not have any Smart Boards and now 85-90 percent of the classrooms are equipped with them," Baltimore said. "I would like to see Ipads in every student's hands. Future testing will be web based and I want us to be ready."

Superintendent Pam Castor commented the Front Row microphone systems are very popular in the classrooms.

Baltimore also gave an estimate of $33,000 to increase the wireless capacity throughout the campus.

He updated the board on the present number of computer labs and computers in all of the buildings including the high school business lab, computer lab, learning lab and 13 computers in the high school library; 10 in the Middle School Library, a business lab in Middle School and a computer lab in elementary. He said most classrooms have two work stations.

The board asked Baltimore what his top three priorities would be. He said the infrastructure has to be first; one on one Ipads, and the Front Row sound systems in all of the classrooms would be three he would suggest.

"This is a working document," Baltimore said. "We will submit it to the state but we can make changes if we see other things we need or as the technology changes."

Board member Tommy Wagner made the motion to accept the technology plan as submitted by Baltimore. The board voted unanimously, 7-0, in favor of the plan.

Principals Dale Case and Robin Baugher and Connie Adams, program coordinator, spoke on the Rigor in Curriculum Common Core.

Case talked about elementary and middle school and the challenges ahead.

"As a district, we are sitting where we need to be," Case said.

He said they are moving in the right direction. This year is Common Core K-2 and next year 3-8.

"It is going to rock some worlds," he said.

"The Common Core will take fifth grade level to the third grade level," he said.

Case praised the teachers for their work saying they have been working hard and working together. He said Connie Adams has been helpful and taking the school in the right direction, as has Ginger Baltimore, literacy coach.

"Elementary staff amazes me," he said. "Every conversation is what is best for the kids."

He talked of incentive programs he would like to see started including accelerated reading programs, sample flexible grouping for a portion of the day; and scheduling different enrichment programs for the benefit of the students.

"We have people on staff who can lead the enrichment programs," he said. "I think we need to look at our Gifted and Talented program. I think Tim Bassing is doing a good job and I think we can utilize his skills and redirect the program. Maybe we can look at the Odyssey of Minds and meeting the challenges for our top level students."

Principal Baugher talked about the high school.

"I echo what Mr. Case said," Baugher said. "It is all about the students. When we talk about rigor in high school it is called AP. These are tough classes and less than 10 percent are enrolled. The pass rate is not high but it is a little above the state average in English and a little below in calculus. It is hard work. We have added ACT prep in distance learning and it has improved scores. We are getting students ready for college but not life skills. We want them to be ready for employment, also. We are going to be ready for the Common Core. My concern for Common Core is the roll out. We will not reap the benefits for awhile. We are being pro active."

Ms. Adams talked about Rigor and said it would be for all students.

She distributed two Common Core lesson plans she had received.

"It is not Manila that is not rigorous," she said. "Through the state and No Child Left Behind we are just answering the questions to the test but now it is time to go back to learning and using it to solve world problems."

The board went into executive session to consider principals' contracts.

Superintendent Castor recommended renewing the contracts of Dale Case, Robin Baugher and Connie Adams for the 2012-13 year. The board voted 7-0 to renew their contracts.

In other business:

*The board voted to grant the leave request from first grade teacher Emily Despain for the remainder of the school year.

*The board voted to adopt the 2012-2013 school calendar with the most votes from the teachers and staff.

*Graduation will be Monday, May 14.

*After a discussion on the product the board voted to purchase mulch (made from shredded wood) bid in the amount of $15,641.32 for the elementary playground.

*The board voted to go with a three year extension with the Sunrise Soft Drink Co. contract. The company will add an additional score board on the football field.

*Superintendent Castor said the high school is in the process of forming a track. Thirty students have signed up and she is expecting more.

*Superintendent Castor said there would be an educational meeting next month before the regular board meeting starting at 6 p.m.

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