Handbooks approved for 1-to-1 initiative

School Board
By: 
Pete Temple
Express Associate Editor

     Another step in the Monticello Community School District’s move to a 1-to-1 technology initiative was completed when the Monticello School Board approved the 1-to-1 Chromebook Initiative Technology Handbook.

     The approval came at the board’s regular meeting Feb. 26. District Technology Director Curt Tauke, who had gone through the handbook with the board at its Feb. 15 work session, was on hand Monday to take final questions before the approval.

     Tauke said the main points of the handbook included the responsibility of the students, responsibility of parents, costs if damages occur, and the frequently asked questions chapter.

     He also demonstrated kind of computer case the district is looking into for the Chromebook computers. Tauke said he is looking for four things from companies that make the cases: a streamlined look with no pouches on the outside, the “always-on” feature, which means when students open the case, the computer immediately is turned on; a handle, and a shoulder strap.

     Tauke demonstrated the speed in which the new computers fire up when a case is opened.

     “That downtime, waiting for students to log in, will be a thing of the past,” Tauke said.

     Also on Monday, the board approved three sharing agreements with other districts, all of which have already been in place. Those include sharing of the food service director with North Linn, sharing of a human resources director with Midland, and sharing of a Transition Alliance Program (TAP) specialist with Midland.

     The food service director and human resources director will be split 60-40, with Monticello getting the 60 percent (three days per week).

     The TAP specialist will be split 75-25 in favor of Monticello, since that is based on number of kids served rather than days of the week.

In other board business

     • The board approved the bid of School Bus Sales of Waterloo for the purchase of a new, 65-passenger, 2019 Blue Bird Vision bus.

     The bid was higher than another company’s bid, but was the only one that met the district’s specifications. It also uses a gas motor, which district transportation director Mike Wink said has lower service costs and less concern about problems with winter weather.

     • A trip to London, Paris and Barcelona, set for March 2019 and coordinated by high school Spanish teacher Mike Meshak, was approved by the board. The 10-day trip will cost about $3,200 per person. Meshak said 39 people, including students and adult chaperones, are interested so far.

     • The board approved the budget guarantee resolution, which would give the district the budget adjustment allowed under Iowa Code section 257.14. The district is not eligible for the guarantee for 2018-19, but approved the resolution in the event the Iowa Legislature, during the current session, changes the way the budget guarantees are allowed.

     • The board heard reports from each of the three district principals. Elementary principal Denny Folken discussed a PBIS training he and staff members attended, and put board members through an exercise similar to the training the school employees received.

     Middle school principal Brent Meier discussed data showing that it has had fewer referrals, or situations in which a student is removed from class. To this point last year, there were 278 such instances, and this year there have been 219, or 22 percent fewer.

     High school principal Joan Young noted that 96 students have expressed interest in Kirkwood academies at the Jones Regional Education Center for next year. She also said staff members from other districts have been visiting Monticello to learn about its Authentic Individual Work (AIW) initiatives.

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