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Houston Schools discuss changes for online students

Fri, Jul 19th, 2013
Posted in All Education

By Angie Rodenburg

Houston Public Schools held a school board meeting on Tuesday, July 16. Board committee updates were given; including the Online Schools Committee, Policy Committee, and the Finance Committee.

The Online Schools Committee had plenty of updates for the school board. Important information was given that will affect the online students, including the change that new students to the program will no longer receive a computer unless they are on free and reduced lunches. Computers, however, will be made available to a noneligible student upon request. Those who are given computers will no longer receive laptops, but desktops will be distributed instead. The students who are already enrolled in the program and have received a computer will still be able to keep the original computer they were given.

The committee also spoke about the testing changes that will go into effect this upcoming school year. All testing will now be done online, with the exception of writing portions. This change in method should prove to be more costeffective for the school.

The committee also sought the approval of the school board on their recommendation of five MNVA (Minnesota Virtual Academy) cohorts to be added for the 2013-2014 school year. The recommendation was approved.

The Policy Committee did not have any updates to add for the July meeting. The committee’s recommendations for new policies will be presented in August. The Finance Committee did not have any updates for the July meeting.

The school board also approved an agreement to purchase education services from the Hiawatha Valley Education District. A member of the board, Michaeleen Bonner, stated of the Education District, “It’s expensive, but they provide a multitude of services.” Some of those services include: early childhood, school psychologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, as well as teachers of the vision impaired

and hearing impaired.

The school board also recognized the efforts and achievements of Krin Abraham and Shelley Jerviss, who were able to secure grants for Houston Public Schools. Abraham worked on the grant that Houston schools will be receiving from ADSIS (Alternative Delivery of Specialized Instructional Services) for the 2013-2014 school year, as well as the 2014-2015 school year. The school will receive $103,677.78 per year for two years from the ADSIS Grant.

Jerviss worked on the grant from the ITA Foundation, which supports school reading programs. The grant will allow Houston Public Schools to continue in the ITA program that will assist their students that struggle with reading. The school will receive $104,792.00 from this grant.

The School Board held a closed meeting after the evening’s meeting to discuss negotiation strategy. The next School Board meeting will be held on August 6, 2013 at the Houston High School library at 5:30 pm.

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