By JEROD CLAPP
A slightly longer school day, new policies tied to computer initiatives and an agent of record contract renewal are all on the agenda for Greater Clark County Schools’ board of trustees meeting on Tuesday.
AGENT OF RECORD
Edward Culpepper “Pepper” Cooper, the district’s agent of record, is scheduled for a one-year contract extension under similar, if not the same, terms as his last one-year contract.
Kevin Satterly, board secretary, said after changes were made to the contract a couple of years ago, he’s pleased with the results Cooper has given to the district in terms of service.
“Pepper has been there for every issue that has come up, attended all our meetings, [and] the contract was renegotiated the year before last to almost half [its original amount],” Satterly said. “... if we weren’t happy, we were going to go with a [request for proposals]. But right now, he’s built our reserve up to a point where I can’t fault the man. If something’s not broke, don’t fix it, don’t go for an RFP just because.”
Nancy Kraft, board member, said she hopes Cooper stays on in his role because it’s nice to have an agent of record who works locally.
“That person is here and can be contacted, whereas someone who comes in, tells you what needs to be done and leaves, really isn’t as effective,” Kraft said. “The state has said he’s doing a good job, so we’ll probably keep him on board.”
Cooper is the uncle of board president Christina Gilkey. On past votes to renew his contract with the district, she has not abstained from voting.
Computer use policies, as well as phone use policies for teachers and students, will also go under consideration as part of their 1:1 initiative rollout at Tuesday’s meeting.
The policies set parameters for appropriate use of computers — specifically the district’s new Chromebooks for students and teachers.
While the policies expand the use of personal technology in the classroom, it also lines out what students may not do on computers and phones in class.
Satterly said while it’s important to push the use of the Chromebooks, it’s also important to make sure students don’t spend the whole class on YouTube.
“You still have to have these releases in place if a kid does something unacceptable,” Satterly said. “That way, we can hold them and the parents responsible for it.”
Kraft said she thought the Chromebooks would expand learning opportunities for students, but she’s glad to see a thoughtful approach to managing them.
“There have to be rules and regulations, you can’t just give them a computer and let them go,” Kraft said. “But it’s going to be wonderful for them to contact other teachers and other classes, and I think it’ll have a big impact on their learning. We all really hope it works out.”
JUST 10 MORE MINUTES
The board is scheduled to vote on a policy that extends school days by 10 minutes.
Tied in with GCCS Superintendent Andrew Melin’s IMPACT initiative — which employs a three-tiered learning and behavioral intervention system — is aimed at giving teachers the time they need to reach students who need extra time.
“There are some children that really do need a little extra time; I really don’t think parents will object to it,” Kraft, said.
The extra 10 minutes will be tied onto the end of the day, delaying bus pickup by the same amount of time.
Satterly said though the move would affect pick-up times for parents and buses at the end of the school day, it won’t affect union-negotiated time for teachers. The proposed move by Melin will keep the 7.5 hour day for teachers intact.
IN OTHER BUSINESS
The board will also consider changes in bus routes. Satterly said the new routes are more efficient with at least three of them reduced. He said there were instances where students were passed up by buses that weren’t theirs, but shared parts of the same route.
The board will also reappoint a library board representative, as well as hear an annual financial report. The district will also publish the report on Aug. 2.