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Lanesboro School Board learns about Plato educational software


Fri, Apr 25th, 2014
Posted in Lanesboro Education

Lanesboro special education teacher Jim Gladis was at the school board meeting on April 17 to discuss the Plato online software the district currently uses. The online curriculum Plato offers is used for a variety of things. Gladis said the number one reason he uses it is for credit recovery.

Gladis explained if a student is struggling and not making the percentage needed to get credit for a class, they can use Plato to help. They take a look at where the deficit is and what the student needs, and he can make up a “prescription,” or a personalized curriculum to help them get the grade they need.

According to Gladis, if they get 80 percent on the Plato course, the grade can be changed.

“It gives them another option,” said Gladis. “It had worked well, and not just in special ed.”

Another way Gladis uses Plato is a replaced physical science class for grades 9-10. The students can work at their own pace for the class, and must get 80 percent to pass.

Gladis said a benefit of Plato is it can be adjusted to ability levels, and the students will still meet the educational requirements. This helps them see more success.

Another way Plato is used is for online school. There are currently two students enrolled full time in online school, and Plato works well for them.

The question came up about sending kids to the alternative school in Dover to make up for lost credits. Principal Brett Clarke said the numbers are getting smaller since they have started using Plato.

The Plato program can be used by anyone to help boost MCA scores or to improve grades.

Technology

Clarke updated the board on technology issues at the school, including the 1:1 laptops kids in grades 9-12 are using. Clarke said the warranty runs through next year. He would like to purchase new laptops for one grade level next year so they are not buying new ones for all grades at one time.

There was some discussion about getting laptops for students in grades 7/8. Boggs spoke about the trend of moving toward digital textbooks, and how expensive it is. He explained with many of the textbooks, they do not get a hard copy or a pdf file, but a subscription for access to the book, which they must renew every year. There are benefits to the digital textbooks, such as links and some interactive features. He said he and Clarke have been going back and forth about the pros and cons.

Board member Dave Lawstuen said he would like to see the 7th and 8th graders get the laptops eventually.

Clarke said the students use eBackpack and Google Docs to save their work so it can be accessed from anywhere, whether or not they have access to the Internet. They have also recently purchased two new Smart Boards for classrooms.

Property Committee

Dave Ruen spoke to Terri Klaehn and Steve Snyder, who are on the property committee. He suggested before the next meeting they walk around the property to get a sense of what needs to be done or talked about, including the yard, and areas where snow removal is difficult.

Ruen also mentioned a request from Kim Charlebois, who rents a home that is owned by the school district. She would like to put in a removable fence to prevent children from getting out of the yard. She would like the school to purchase the fence.

“I think it’s our responsibility to keep the house updated, like shingles and things like that, but not fencing,” said Snyder.

Ruen felt it was a topic for the property committee to discuss.

Park Board

Steve Snyder and Dave Ruen attended the Lanesboro Park Board meeting in which they discussed the new playground equipment. They explained to the board the school’s decision to contribute $45,000 toward the cost of the project. They also expressed to them their desire to have the equipment professionally installed rather than using volunteers. The park board accepted the donation and thanked the school. The project will begin the Monday after Art in the Park, which is on Father’s Day. It will be finished before the 4th of July.

Other Business

The board approved membership in the MSHSL (Minnesota State High School League).

The Awards Banquet is scheduled for April 27 at 6 p.m. with speaker Lynn Graner, a graduate of Lanesboro Schools.

Jeff Boggs announced his son, senior Garrett Boggs, was accepted into the Naval Academy.

The May board meeting was changed to May 13 at 7 p.m.

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