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By Dan Rudy 

Wrangell school board to expand computer use by students


In his monthly report to Wrangell Public School Board on Nov. 17, Superintendent Patrick Mayer said several projects are underway as the school progresses into its second academic quarter. The schools’ evaluation team recently previewed a webinar from Learning Sciences, a group associated with Marzano Center. The team was able to familiarize themselves with Marzano Framework for teacher evaluation, one of three systems adopted by the Alaska State Board of Education last year.

Mayer has also been involved in improving the schools’ use of digital technology, attending a presentation in Anchorage and also hosting a pair of technology consultants earlier in the month for the first of three planned workshops benefitting both faculty and community members. He said the emphasis is important, in light of the new electronic format of state testing.

Along those lines, in reviewing the Fiscal Year 2015 budget, the board chose to approve a $100,000 increase allowing for the purchase of tablet devices for K-8 students. High school students already receive a laptop computer, and extra funding and the receipt of Career Technical Education grant money has given Wrangell’s elementary and middle schools a unique opportunity to purchase the new equipment for their students.

A further $35,212 was approved for the high school regular instruction equipment line item, going toward laptops for the incoming freshman class and teacher computer replacement. Another $50,000 has been budgeted for replacing copy machines, which the board’s budget notes say are about seven years old.

The board also accepted the first reading of a board policy dealing with student nutrition and activity, allowing

exemptions to the restriction of snack foods on campus during school hours. Birthday parties and student events would be allowed in the policy’s rewording.

The board approved on second reading new policy regarding restraint and seclusion procedures. Board members also reviewed its policy on recognizing religious beliefs and customs, allowing religions to be covered in the classroom from a historical, cultural, or other educational perspective.

In her report, Evergreen Elementary Principal Deidre Jenson informed the board of the new hire of Maria Byford as the school’s Title 1/Migrant Aide. Her school is also encouraging students to sit next to somebody new on “Mix-It-Up Mondays,” as part of a national initiative to bridge differences in schools.


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