School board hears back-to-school reports
The Greencastle-Antrim School Board given the back-to-school status of technology, special education and building projects during Thursday’s meeting.
In addition, Dr. Kendra Trail, superintendent, said that signs closing Tayamentasachta, the district’s environmental center, and the track at the stadium to the public from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on schools days were expected to be in place by last Friday.
She announced the new policy earlier this month, closing the district campus to the public except for people dropping off and picking up students or visiting a building after reporting to an office. The new superintendent said the previous “open campus” for the track and Tayamentasachta raised safety concerns.
Dwight Bard, director of technology, said that teachers are excited about the interactive white boards that have been installed at the primary school, which also has 120 new iPads.
Elementary desktop units have been replaced thanks to Keystones to Opportunities funding. The old desktops have been repurposed for computer labs at the primary and elementary schools, as well as the high school library. Desktops also are being replaced and repurposed at the middle school.
There is a new digital sign at the high school thanks to a class gift and it offers announcements, videos, weather, calendar and other information.
There also were district wireless upgrades over the summer.
“We’re getting ready to go for day one,” said Bard, who lauded the maintenance personnel who have been helping with the installations.
JoAnn Papoutsis, director of special education, said moving a learning support teacher from the high school to the middle school really helped alleviate a caseload approaching the maximum allowed by the state that she brought to the board’s attention in March.
“Overall, moving two teachers around put us in a reasonable place to start the school year,” Papoutsis said.
At the primary school, the K-1 teacher has six students (30 percent of the state maximum) with individual educational program, while the second-grade teacher has four (20 percent of the state maximum). Papoutsis said those numbers typically double or triple during the school year.
Four teachers cover the three grade levels at the elementary school. Two of the teachers have 16 students (77 percent), one has 18 students (87 percent) and one has nine (24 percent). As students are identified in need of learning support, they will be placed in the smallest class.
“We looked at who the students were and what their needs are,” Papoutsis said. “Overall, we’re off to a good start.”
Trail also pointed out that students are not all in the learning support classroom all day long — some go in and out.
The middle school numbers were lower than projected in March. Papoutsis said six students moved from the district, however there was paperwork for 10 students on her desk and most are middle-schoolers. The four middle school classrooms have 14 (49 percent), 19 (62 percent), 21 (72 percent) and 12 (36 percent).
The high school numbers are higher, but the students are in the three learning support classrooms for less time and many are enrolled in Franklin County Career and Technology Center, Papoutsis said.
The high school numbers are 28, 27 and 27.
Jolinda “JC” Wilson, chief financial support services officer, provided a construction update. The bulk of the work was done at the primary and elementary schools this summer.
“We are promised we will be functionally ready and that’s where we’re at,” she said. “It’s not detailed or fine-tuned.”
Virtually all the classrooms have carpets, but not the halls, according to Wilson, who said she anticipates evening and weekend work.
She was very pleased with McClure Co., which has overseen all the district’s ESCO (energy savings projects), including this summer’s work at the primary and elementary schools.
Wilson also praised the district’s facilities staff for this summer’s hard work.