- Mrs. Sue Hipple, custodian extraordinaire at Central Elementary, was honored as the corporation's first "Employee of the Month." This award will recognize an outstanding classified employee (those who aren't teachers or administrators). Mrs. Hipple is a cheerful, efficient, hard-working presence at Central, and the recognition is well-deserved.
- Will Pullins reported on LHS SAT results. Seniors from the class of 2009 scored an average of 64 points higher on the SAT than the previous year's group. This is a great gain, in a year when statewide scores were flat. We're seeing fewer LHS students take the SAT, but more are taking the ACT.
- I asked Kevin O'Rourke to report soon on LHS student results on the AP (Advanced Placement) exams, which can earn college credit for high school students. Bryan Passwater, the LHS calculus teacher, told me that 26 LHS students took the AP Calculus exam last Spring, and 22 of them scored high enough to qualify for college credit.
- Superintendent Bob Taylor reported that a fence is going to be installed around the playground at Harney Elementary, starting this week. The green space at Harney borders Camp St., which carries plenty of traffic. The fence is a safety precaution, and is being paid for out of capital projects funds.
- The board approved Dr. Taylor's recommendation that we purchase "Skyward," a web-based student data system that will replace the aging STI next year. Skyward was chosen after a two-year review of various options. It will expand on the features of STI, and will also integrate functions for food services and the school alert system. Parents should be able to check student grades, attendance, and discipline, and also look at their students' lunch account, e-mail teachers, and update their own information through this one portal.
- Dr. Taylor recapped the situation with President Obama's speech to American school children last Tuesday. The schools did not get much information about the talk from state or federal sources until the Thursday before, leaving little time for planning going into the three-day weekend. The talk took place at noon, when many students were at lunch. After watching it, Dr. Taylor thought it was excellent, and encouraged teachers to have students view it at their discretion. Central Elementary showed the speech as a school event; several other teachers have shown it to their classes as well. Parents have the choice to opt their student out of viewing the president's talk. Community feedback on the decision to delay showing the speech has been mixed. I heard from people on both sides of the issues as well, but more people indicated they wanted their children to see it. If you'd like to view it, here's a link to the video at the White House web site:
- My colleague Dave Herr asked about class sizes in the elementary schools. Dr. Taylor reported that the 4th-grade classes at Harney are a concern, with 29, 29, and 30 students in them, and that the kindergarten classes at Central are in the high 20s, although each of these classrooms has a full-time aide. After Friday's official state count of students (called the ADM), which has a great deal to do with how much funding we get from the state, the corporation can make some decisions about the need for more aides or possibly more teachers.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
"Skyward" at the September meeting
Last night's monthly meeting included the final budget approval and plenty of other news. Here are some highlights: