Community Conversation Questions Answered

The following Questions were asked at our Community Conversation on October 28th.
Note: The presentation for the meeting is located at the bottom of this page.

1) Will we lose positions that we have added this year in 2017 when we project that the district might be back in the red?

It is possible that without additional state or local funding we will have to make further reductions in the future. 
We are working to make sure that any position we add is offset by reductions in other areas so that we do not add permanent expenditures to our budget.

2) How does our cost per pupil compare with the Buckeye School District?

Here is our per pupil cost history:

Here is the comaprison with Buckeye for 2013 --





3) Do Block Schedules in high schools save money? Are they better for students?

Research is varied on the benefits of block schedules in high schools. There a variety of block schedules that have been tried and each has its pros and cons. The cost increases and savings associated with block schedules is difficult to guage. The schedules themselves do not neccesarily impact costs. The number of courses, electives, levels of courses and materials, supplies and equipment to support the curriculum more directly impact costs. Here are links to some information and research about block schedules:

4) If a parent has an issue with a teacher how should the issue be handled?
1) Talk to the teacher
if this does not satisfactorily resolve the issue
2) Talk to the principal
if this does not satisfactorily resolve the issue
3) Talk to the superintendent.

5) Now that students in grade 7 and high school AP classess have Chromebooks, is texting between students a problem?
So far, this has not been brought forth as a problem by teachers. We know that texting or email can be done and that students now have more access to each other via the technology tools. Teachers will monitor the use of Chromebooks and all other technology in their classrooms and issues of inappropriate use will be addressed on an individual student basis. 

6) Why did 7th grade students get Chromebooks and not 8th grade?
This being the first year of a junior high building initiative that we hope will give all of our secondary (grades 7-12) students access to a Chromebook for instruction, we had to start somewhere. We felt it best to start in grade 7 this year, allow these students to move to grade 8 with chromebooks and then in 2015-16 distribute Chromebooks to incoming grade 7 students.

7) How are the Chromebooks maintained? Who repairs them?
One reason for choosing Chromebooks is the product's realitive ease of maintenance compared to traditional laptops or other devices. The district has insurance on the Chromebooks that allow them to be repaired or replaced in the case of damage. Students pay a $15.00 annual fee toward the insurance.

8) What are Chromebooks used for by teachers and students?
This is the document we created for the Junior High School's Technology Goal and Chrome Books In The Classroom:

Goal: To introduce and support Junior High Teachers in leading students to use technology to transform our junior high classrooms into collaborative inquiry-based learning environments that support the use of formative instructional practices.


The Jefferson Area Local School District is introducing Chrome Books and the use the Google Platform for communications in order to develop the capacity to meet the needs of all of its students in the twenty-first century. 

 

Our school improvement process is about building the capacity of teachers, administrators, students and their families to engage with the changes taking place within K-12 education in Ohio and the world of work in our nation. New levels of rigor and relevance are being introduced by way of revised standards for science and social studies, the Common Core standards in Mathematics and English Language Arts, new assessments aligned to the standards, an increased reliance on data to drive instructional and structural decisions and new levels of accountability. 

 

This is being done to meet Ohio’s goal to have all students graduate with a sense of purpose and well prepared for college, work and life.  We believe that this project will move us forward in our 3-5 year strategic goal of becoming a digital school district  where our textbooks, resources, communications tools and access to materials and data by students and parents is accessible from anywhere at any time.

 

Our technology vision is expressed as follows:

We will embrace the Technology Standards as defined in the National Education Technology Plan and the federal government's SCANS Report (What Work Requires of Schools). The standards when implemented will assist students in meeting the following goals:

·   Computer literacy is the ability to appropriately use computer hardware and software. It includes the usage of technology tools for information access and sharing, remote information access, retrieval and multimedia and hypermedia publishing.

·   Information literacy is the acquisition, interpretation, and dissemination of information. Information literacy focuses on the usage of the Internet and other electronic information resources.

·   Technological literacy incorporates problem-based learning utilizing mathematics; science, and technology principles, Technology education addresses the impact of technology on society, and includes the study of technological advances in medical, agricultural, communication, energy, manufacturing and other trades, the arts and the impact of these advances on job readiness and post-secondary preparation for students.

Technology Curriculum Program Objectives

  • Enable students to become creative and effective users of productivity tools. 
  • Use various technology to input, retrieve, organize, manipulate, evaluate, and communicate information that will enable students to become capable information technology users. 
  • Help students develop the knowledge and skills that will enable them to become informed, responsible, and contributing citizens and workers. 
  • Apply ethical and legal standards in planning, using, and evaluating technology. 
  • Investigate and evaluate the impact technology has had on society and the work place. 
  • Enhance and support the implementation of Formative Instructional Processes across the curriculum.

Alignment With District Goals

These broad program objectives align with and support the district’s curriculum and instructional goals. We believe curriculum integration is best addressed by concentrating on the regular use of technology by all students as a means of instruction, assessment and the creation of products.

What must be done (evidence of implementation)

  • Chrome Book training provided for all teachers. 
  • Chrome Books distributed to all grade 7 students.Teachers begin to develop and deliver both content and assessment materials using the Chrome Book.
  • Students trained in the use of the Chrome Book.
  • Digital resources identified and used to enhance instruction.
9) Did our school district meet its obligation to evaluate all of its teachers last year? 
Yes

10) What do evaluators look for when observing a teacher? 

11) Homework seems to take a lot of time each night. What homework policy exists?
Here is a link to the district's homework policy:

The district is currently studying homework practices at all grade levels. 

12) What is the heat and cooling controls set on in each classroom?  Can teachers control the heat or cooling in their room?
After the retro-commissioning and balancing of our HVAC systems is complete, the temperture will be fixed in each building at 68 degrees unless the professionals recommend another setting. Heat and cooling cannot be controlled in individual classrooms by teachers. 

13) What are our annual electric and gas costs for the school district?
For the 2013-14 school year:
Actual expenditure electric: $277,801.53
Actual expenditure gas: $89,330.65
Our rates are goverened by the agreements reached by the Ohio Schools Council.

14) now that the roof projects are done, how much will it cost of retro-commissiong and balancing the HVAC system going to cost?
The retro-commissioning for the district will be $38,250.00
The Balancing of the HVAC system which is a project cost is $26,000.00

15) Are the elementary libraries available for use by teachers and students?
Yes

16) Are lights in buildings controlled in anyway to assure that they are not left on after the school day and when rooms are not in use?
The lights in all classrooms and offices are controlled by built in motion sensors that turn the lights off if there is no-one in a room or office. This helps to assure that lights are not left on when not needed. Likewise the computers in our buildings automatically are shut down after school unless someone is actively using them. 

17) If the state is requiring PARCC testing on computers beginning in third grade, why is hiring a computer science teacher at the elementary level not a priority for our district? Classroom teachers do have the opportunity to schedule time in the computer lab (where often several PCs are not working) however, this is one more task to place on top of highly-qualified teachers striving to complete a wealth of other curriculum objectives and assessments within their own classroom. If we are equipping students with 21st century skills, why are we not starting at the elementary level with a class devoted to understanding computers and technology before they are given Chromebooks in 7th grade and expected to use them for academics rather than gaming?
  • It is a priority, unfortunately we could not fund the hiring of a full time teacher.
  • We have upgraded our elementary computer labs and are exploring purchasing grade level sets of Chromebooks.
  • We do expect classroom teachers to take their students to use the computer labs or use laptop labs weekly.
  • We started in the Jr. High because they had school improvement money from the State that needed to be spent in their building. 




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William Mullane,
Oct 29, 2014, 12:33 PM