(Posted Nov. 16, 2016)
By Linda Dillman, Staff Writer
Maintaining a house is a big project. Imagine maintaining a series of buildings and structures spread across 75 acres. That’s what Robert Hiss does for Jefferson Local Schools.
As director of facilities and transportation, Hiss oversees the maintenance of the middle/high school complex, Norwood Elementary, the administrative building, bus garage and related outbuildings. Not only is he concerned about day-to-day operations, he, along with administrators, also focuses on future needs.
During the Nov. 14 school board meeting, Hiss talked about present building and infrastructure issues, along with potential needs over the next five years. He is holding bi-weekly meetings in order to formulate the long-range plan.
“I hope to have a solid outlook in February for the next five years,” Hiss said.
Plans include door security upgrades at all three school buildings, which includes key fob access and portable, computer-controlled door locks.
“As buildings age, we’ll see more repair costs for pump and boiler systems 10 years or older,” continued Hiss. “Year one (of the plan) are short-term goals. Years two to five are long-range plans. It is not just a work in progress, but a live, ongoing plan.”
Hiss then reported on the first off-site evacuation drill held recently at Norwood Elementary. He told board members students evacuated the building within three minutes and were in place at a nearby park within 12 minutes.
“They did an excellent job,” he said. “For the first time doing it in the history of Norwood, it went extremely well.”
In other presentations, middle school Principal Debbie Omen said sixth-graders presented a petition to her, asking for permission to take their Chromebooks home. She said she was proud of them for taking the initiative to organize the petition. However, by board policy, only students in grades seven and above are allowed to take the devices home.
Omen also said instructors are using the program Go Guardian to keep a watchful eye on student Chromebook activity in and out of the classroom.
“Teachers use it to see what kids are doing on Chromebook. It also tracks inappropriate usage,” she said.
Omen said her staff is seeing an increase in inappropriate web searches in the classroom; most of the activity is happening outside of school.
“It’s a different arena…We are dealing with a lot of things on Go Guardian. Like anything, it’s a learning thing for students,” Omen said.