MCS looks to the future in budget session
Friday, August 23, 2013 11:00 AM
Administrators gave the Madison Consolidated School Board a look at future plans for the district during a public budget work session Thursday.
Superintendent Ginger Studebaker-Bolinger asked members of her staff to give "state of the union" style reports to the school board, detailing where their departments are and what improvements they're looking to make.
Lisa Cutshall, director of eLearning, and Katie Jenner, director of learning, made a presentation detailing the school's curriculum and how technology is tying into the classroom.
The two reported that iPads have been distributed to all kindergarten through eighth-grade students and iPad parent information nights have been planned to answer frequently asked questions by parents at the elementary schools. Jenner also said the kindergarten through second-grade Spanish curriculum has been implemented in the elementary schools.
Cutshall and Jenner also have plans of implementing project-based learning in literacy and mathematics courses at the elementary schools and an expansion of Project Lead The Way courses, which are currently in the high school, to the junior high school. They also plan to expand Project Lead The Way classes at the high school with a biomedical class.
Jenner said they plan to implement a high-ability assessment test to be taken in first-, fourth- and seventh-grade classrooms. The test is meant to create a bell curve of students across the grade, so curriculum can be better tailored to the students.
"It will make it so we can created a grade-level norm and so we can actually target and serve our students better in our classrooms."
Angie Vaughn, the school's special education coordinator, told the board that recent research suggests students with special needs shouldn't be put in their own separate classrooms, but be exposed to regular classes.
"Right now, we are doing a lot out of the general education classroom, and it's the right of the student to be in the classroom," Vaughn said.
A teacher has been added to the high school so that special needs students can attend classes.
"Overall the message right now is for our students to be in the classrooms," Vaughn said. "Pulling children out of the classroom and giving them this service out over here, was viewed as helping. But what the research tells us is that that's not helping students. That what helps them is being exposed to the general ed curriculum and that curriculum being supported in their specific needs."
Vaughn said her department was awarded a special education improvement grant from the state Department of Education, which will be used to purchase Apple TV's for classrooms. Vaughn said they will help teachers interface with students, and create lesson plans.
The school district's director of operations, Mike Frazier, used much of his time to discuss a maintenance plan for the district's buildings.
Under Frazier's plan, all of the school's roofs would be inspected one year, while the school's interiors would be examined another year and the exterior a year after that.
"It's cheaper for a company to come in and bid on all of those at once," he said. "That makes it cheaper in the long run."
Frazier said he was still working on the plan, and would eventually take it to the board, who would have to vote on it.
School Board President Todd Bass said he first asked about a maintenance plan years ago, but the school didn't have one.
Frazier also discussed installing a key card system in the schools for security reasons.