Technology at forefront for school district
The Wrangell School Board met in their first open session since a June 26 special meeting on Aug. 13. The meeting was rescheduled ahead from Aug. 20 in order for a quorum of members to be reached.
According to a financial report issued by district business manager Pam Roope, the estimated ending balance of the district’s general fund budget totals $245,013.
In a report to the board, district superintendent Rich Rhodes addressed a number of issues – including lowered test scores in a core curriculum.
“The high school saw 85 percent proficient in language arts but saw a drop to 54 percent proficient in math,” his report states. “We also did not reach our minimum in high school graduation rate at 83.87 percent.”
However, the drop in the graduation rate is not indicative of a larger problem, Rhodes added.
“We had a student transfer out of the district before graduation, and because he left Wrangell with no follow up as to his next school, we dropped below the average,” Rhodes said. “But, we’re continuing to make sure every student’s needs are met and to see that they receive the best education possible.”
The State of Alaska requires an 85 percent graduation rate for its high schools.
Technology is one factor on the uptick in all three public schools in the borough, with 14 whiteboards being installed. New Wi-Fi connections are also going into place, with a quadrupling of bandwidth as well. The elementary school lab is also getting a makeover, with the middle school receiving a one-to-one laptop plan in the fall.
According to Rhodes, two projects are also in the forefront at this time.
“We continue to work on funding for the high school fire alarm system as our number one priority,” he said. “Developing a classroom into a kitchen is our second.”
In other business, the district approved the following:
- The Nutritional Alaskan Foods for Schools Grant
- Application of a Safety Equipment and Training Grant
- Hiring of Dixie Booker as the Food Services Director for the district