'T Day' approaching at WACO
By BROOKS TAYLOR
Mt. Pleasant News
WAYLAND — It will be “T Day” Dec. 16 or the WACO School Board.
That’s when the board is expected to receive some key technology requests. One of the big items which will be on the table is the purchase of Chromebooks for junior high and high school students. Another is infrastructure improvements to support the district’s technology program.
WACO Superintendent of Schools Darrell Smith told the board during its regular meeting Monday night to be prepared for recommendations next month. “It’s a beginning,” he said regarding technology requests. “We will be bringing (technology) stuff to the board in December. We want to settle this in December and also the infrastructure needs if we can.”
He said that thus far he has fielded requests for 140 Chromebooks and 50 iPads but noted that it is difficult to keep up with technology.
“The staff has requested approximately $70,000 in classroom technology with more requests coming this spring,” Smith said. “We do need to update our infrastructure (which may cost around $100,000), we have one quote and are trying to obtain more.
“Technology is a three to five year shot at best,” Smith continued. “I don’t think the school will ever catch up. Everything happens so fast.”
Smith suggested the school look at an annual line item in the budget for technology. He also said that if the district could find some site to acquire applications at a reasonable price, it would greatly help ease technology expenditures. “We need to find somewhere that we can get free apps because those can eat up money very fast.”
Directors did approve a couple of purchases Monday night — new carpeting for three rooms at the Crawfordsville Elementary School and a new van.
White’s Floor Covering in Mt. Pleasant was the only bidder for the carpet and its bid of $11,731 was accepted. Smith said the carpeting is for three rooms that tested high for mold and mildew content. One of the rooms targeted for new carpeting is the preschool room and carpet will be installed there over Thanksgiving break.
“We made that room a priority because of the young kids in there,” Smith said. The other two rooms will have a carpet makeover over the Christmas/New Years vacation.
Mincer Ford of Columbus Junction received the bid for a Ford ¾ ton, eight-passenger van at a cost of $23,745. Gretter Autoland and Deery Brothers also submitted bids with the cost ranging upward to $25,988.
Two school-sponsored trips were approved.
High School Principal Jeff Nance proposed taking high school students who show improvement in MAP testing to the Chicago Science Museum as an incentive. Students would have to improve in at least one subject (science, reading and math) area of the MAP testing and maintain their current level in the other two areas. If students go down in one area, they would not be eligible for the trip.
Nance is proposing the trip in late April or early May 2014. The principal is going to local businesses to fund-raise for the trip. “Unless it can be funded without district money, it won’t happen,” Smith stated.
Katherine Shindelar, high school science instructor, was given permission to take 12 students from the anatomy and physiology class to New York City to the visiting Body Worlds Exhibit.
She is planning to take the students from March 13-16. While there, students also will visit the 911 Memorial, Statue of Liberty, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the New York Hall of Science.
Cost per students would be $1,400 and to offset costs the students will be soliciting donations and hosting fund-raisers.
“This would be one heck of an experience for the students, it is not a bad trip for $1,400,” said Smith in recommending approval of the trip.
Personnel matters saw the district accept the resignation of Brad Shettler, junior high volleyball coach, and approve the contract for Andrea McBeth as junior high school assistant girls’ basketball coach. McBeth will be paid $1,344.
Smith also informed the board that instructor Anne Weir will be speaking at the 2013 National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Convention Nov. 23 in Boston, Mass. Instructor Renea Reichenbach’s master’s thesis has been nominated as Outstanding Master’s Thesis at the University of Northern Iowa.
WACO directors meet again Monday, Dec. 16, at 6:30 p.m. in the junior/senior high school media center.