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Fillmore Central discusses technology needs


Mon, Apr 30th, 2012
Posted in All Education

Fillmore Central’s technology committee met recently to further discuss options for offering more technology to the students. Superintendent Richard Keith and board member Jim Love spoke to the board at the regular meeting on April 24.

“We discussed more specifics about what to put in the schools,” said Keith. “We looked at the short term and the long term, and the funding.”

According to Keith, they are looking at getting iPads for the elementary students, around five or six for each class. They would also like to get one or two carts with MacBook Air laptops for the high school students. This plan is just the first phase of the project.

Keith added that they would probably need a full-time technology director instead of part time like they have now. There would also need to be training for staff.

Love said the estimated cost for 30 iPads, 30 computers, printers, four Smart Boards, 30 MacBook Airs for the high school, and 20 laptops for staff is around $127,000.

“That’s the minimum we would like to do to get things started,” said Love.

Board member John Torgrimson suggested they look at the option of a technology referendum. Shelly Topness was worried the taxpayers would not approve.

“I think we’ve been generous to the taxpayers these last few years,” said Torgrimson. “I think it’s something we should be really committed to. It’s something critical for the educational needs of our kids.” He added that if the district doesn’t go this route, there will be another set of challenges, such as not offering the students what other districts are offering.

“I think it’s where we need to funnel our excess dollars,” said Love.

The goal is to have a plan in place for the next school year, and to come up with some funding ideas for the future.

High School Scheduling

Principal Heath Olstad spoke to the board about a possible new schedule for the high school next year. He has been looking at options for offering math and English classes all year instead of just one semester. They would also like to keep the four-period block schedule.

One idea he mentioned was adding a sixth period four days a week that would rotate. That would mean teachers would not have a prep hour on those days, and would be working an overload. They would have to come up with a memo of understanding for the contract. Olstad added that there would be a total of 18 days less per semester for that class, which he felt was a lot.

Another option is to look at going back to an eight-period day. But Olstad feels the four longer class periods help prepare the students for college, and work better for classes that have labs. He would like to stay as close to the four-period day as possible. He told the board he was open to any ideas.

Chairperson Ross Kiehne said it was great that Olstad is looking into these options. He added the curriculum and schedule would also have to work together with the technology plans.

Other Business

The Fillmore County Historical Society needed approval from the school board to donate class photos to the Preston Historical Society, since they were on loan from the school. The board approved permanently donating the class photos.

The board also approved the following items:

•An open enrollment request

•the Special Education extended school year proposal as approved every year

•membership in the MSHSL (Minnesota State High School League)

•Aaron Jenssen as the head basketball coach

•all coaches for fall sports

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