Southwest reviews technology report

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Southwest R-V School Board reviewed a report on the district's technology department at its regularly scheduled meeting on Nov. 13. The report was submitted by Wes Burleson, technology director.

"There are five stated goals with eight sub-categories in Southwest's 2008-09 CSIP (comprehensive school improvement plan)," wrote Burleson. "The emphasis of the technology department will be to facilitate the goals and objectives by introducing and implementing up-to-date hardware and software resources and supporting students, faculty and administration in the use of this technology in the most effective way possible."

Many of Southwest's technology programs focus on communication and community involvement. The district has recently implemented several new programs that enhance its communications infrastructure within the school and the local community.

Some of the new programs include: a district website that features extensive information on school events, educational links, calendars and other materials; a networked gradebook; EDline, which allows parents to view their child's grades on-line; an automated phone messaging system that can be used to notify parents of school closings; and an enhanced security camera system.

Technology programs, like Reading Counts and Academy of Reading, are used by first through eighth grade students and some high school students. Beginning in the fifth grade, students are issued network user names and passwords and taught how to use shared network printers and access shared network folders and other resources.

The department also prepares older students for the business world through programs like Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

"The technology department aids the elementary and middle school faculty in assessing their students with computerized reading programs," wrote Burleson. "On-line surveys are also used for assessing our effectiveness in meeting goals and objectives."

Evaluations are conducted after each on-campus technology workshop to assess the usefulness of the workshop and determine if other workshops are needed.

"With the basic backbone of the network now upgraded, it is time to look at some of the aging computers in our system," wrote Burleson. "We are also operating on semi-outdated office software."

Burleson recommended the board purchase new computers for the middle school faculty and lab that offer the Vista Operation System and Office 2007. He also recommended using the older middle school lab computers as replacement computers in some of the district's classrooms.

"The purchase of new computers for all middle school teachers is increasingly important," wrote Burleson. "Many of them are limping along on Pentium IIIs and having an increasingly difficult time keeping up with the demands of a modern network."

Other future technology needs include: new elementary teacher computers; new computers for the high school business lab; and a transition to the on-line version of the district's current student database system.

In old business, the school board reviewed three lawn care bids.

According to a bid that was submitted by Luke Stouder, the district would be charged $600 for mowing and weed eating the school campus, $80 for mowing the ballfields, $60 for trash disposal, $30 for weed removal and $90 for leaf clean-up. Stouder would also charge $15 per hour for any additional maintenance work.

A & B Mowing submitted a $30,400 bid for all mowing maintenance work. The school would be charged $25 per hour for any additional work.

B & W Tree and Lawn Service submitted a $23,920 bid for mowing services. The company would charge an additional $30 per hour for grading driveways and parking lots over six times per year due to excessive rain and snow removal.

After reviewing the bids, the board voted five-to-two to reject all of the bids for lawn care and grounds works. The motion was approved by board members Robert Shockley, Albert Pendergraft, Jeremy Bernard, Robert Catron and Danny Dalton. Board members Bobby Stephens and Pete Rose opposed the motion.

In other business, the Southwest R-V School Board:

* Was introduced to Judith Miller, special education teacher.

* Heard administrative reports, which included information on Branco's repairs to the high school roof, afterschool tutoring, the A+ Program and a food service inspection.

* Reviewed a report on the library and media center.

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