(Posted Jan. 14, 2022)
Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Madison-Plains Local Schools is rolling out a 1:1 (one-to-one) initiative to put laptop computers in the hands of each student in grades 7-12.
Students will receive Chromebooks to use inside and outside of school for the remainder of this school year. The purpose is to enhance the instruction students receive in the classroom, providing them with online resources, stated Superintendent Chad Eisler in a message to parents on the district’s Facebook page.
At the school board’s Jan. 11 meeting, Kyle Huffman, principal at the junior high and high school, said the next step is to move teachers onto the online Google Classroom platform. The setup benefits teachers, students, and parents/guardians, he said.
Using Google Classroom, teachers can conduct video meetings, create and manage assignments, post grades, add materials to assignments, give feedback to students, and post announcements. Students can track classwork, submit assignments, and share resources and interact. Parents can get summaries of their child’s work and review announcements and activities.
“I’ve seen as a parent how beneficial it is for our kids to have that 1-to-1 ability,” said Huffman, whose son goes to school in a district where 1:1 is in place.
Eisler noted that Madison-Plains is not distributing the laptops due to any impending plan to go to remote learning. He did acknowledge that the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the district has increased, especially among staff. Three days after the school board meeting, he used a calamity day to cancel classes for Jan. 14 due to staff shortages.
“Hopefully, we will be able to keep our students in school,” he said. “We’re doing everything we can to be able to keep our doors open… Should we have to go remote, (1:1) is something that will help us with that.”
Federal COVID-19 relief funds are covering the cost of the Chromebooks. Over the past six to eight months, the district has purchased 1,087 devices for students and 135 devices for staff, reported district Treasurer Todd Mustain. Should the district need to go to remote learning, the district can equip every student in grades K-6 with Chromebooks, along with the students in grades 7-12, Eisler said.
• The school board approved a rate increase for substitute teachers. They also approved a temporary extension of miminum requirements for substitute teachers, effective through the end of this school year. The measures are designed to increase the district’s substitute teacher pool.
“We are very thin there,” Eisler said.
The minimum requirements, as allowed by this extension, are: must be four or more years out of high school, have a clear criminal records check, present three positive letters of reference, and have a temporary substitute teacher license through the Ohio Department of Education.
• This year’s senior class plans to gift a boulder to the school district to serve as a spirit rock. Moving forward, each year’s seniors will paint the rock which will sit at the front of the school building.
Elections and appointments
As part of their annual organizational tasks, the board elected Mark Mason to serve as board president for 2022 and Thoula Xenikis to serve as vice president.
The board also approved the following appointments:
• Legislative liaison to the Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA)–Bryan Stonerock; alternate–Kelly Cooley;
• Student achievement liaison to the OSBA–Xenikis;
• Tolles Career and Technical Center board representative–Mason;
• Academic advisory team–Xenikis;
• Policy review committee–Stonerock and Becky Rheinscheld;
• Superintendent’s communication committee–Cooley and Rheinscheld;
• Facilities and grounds–Mason and Stonerock;
• Treasurer’s finance committee–Mason and Xenikis;
• Insurance committee–Rheinscheld;
• Athletic council–Xenikis.
The board’s regular meetings will take place at 7 p.m. the third Tuesday of each month in the board meeting room at the elementary school. The next meeting is Feb. 15.