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Aurelia upgrades technology

Monday, June 20, 2005

By Ken Ross, Managing editor

The Aurelia School Board gave the go ahead for new technology purchases. This includes an upgraded server, a portable lap top computer lab and three new computers for the library. The purchases have a total cost of $19,578.

Tim Limbert, technology coordinator, gave a presentation at the Monday meeting.

The new server represents the latest generation of server. It is designed specifically for that purpose, unlike previous servers which were simply computers which used software that enabled the computer to be a central control for the district's computer network.

Limbert explained that the previous concept of a server was to simply coordinate the network and allow the individual computers to do the "heavy lifting" of computing and data storage. The newer concept is to have the server do most of the "heavy lifting" for the computers network ed to it.

The system has advanced user management, allowing the teacher to control what students have access to what information.

"Fortunately, a lot of this is really easy to do," Limbert said. He said that in choosing a server to recommend, ease of use was an important consideration.

The lap top computer lab includes 10 lap top computers, a printer and a cart, costing about $11,000.

Limbert explained that subscription to an on-line library service, would provide the school access to thousands of educational videos that can be downloaded and played later in the classroom. With the subscription, the school has unlimited copying privileges from the on-line library.

The board was informed by Dave Hickman, principal, about the possibility of obtaining kits for hands-on science study at the elementary level. The kits are available to Iowa schools through a family grant for the advancement of science education.

There is minimal cost for the district in using the kits. A few items need to be purchased fresh for use in the science kits.

There is a March deadline for applying for the grant, so it is too late to apply for the upcoming school year. The board will be informed about future plans in this matter.

Aurelia accepts resignation

By Ken Ross, Managing editor

The Aurelia School Board accepted the resignation of Mark Van Oort as head wrestling coach. He will be moving from Aurelia to accept a new position.

The school has another person under consideration for the position.

The board approved adding a staff in-service day on Aug. 18. The state legislature has authorized funding for the extra staff work day.

The state legislature has dropped a previous requirement that two days be added to staff development at all school districts.

The change in the calendar will not effect the start date for students.

The board approved payment of $1,000 to Rob Kannegieter for his work in getting a new concession stand built for the baseball field.

The board approved $1,500 toward renovation of the football concession stand. Most of the expense and labor for that project will be provided by the music boosters who operate the concession stand.

The board approved use of facilities for the all-school reunion planned for July.

Ann Sandine gave a report on the district's standardized testing program.

The board heard a report from the school improvement committee, particularly on academic goals for the 2005-06 school year.

The board approved continued membership in the Iowa Association of School Boards.

The financial report given by Superintendent Tom Vint indicated that the district is in improved financial condition from the previous year.

Both cash and total assets are up from the previous time last year. Transportation expense is down despite an increase in fuel prices.

"Over all, things are looking good," Vint said.

Aurelia increases requirements

By Ken Ross, Managing Editor

The Aurelia School Board voted on Monday to increase the math and science requirements for graduation beginning with the class of 2007, affecting the juniors of the upcoming fall class.

Tom Vint, superintendent, recommended that the requirement for science be increased from two years (four semesters) two and a half years (five semesters) and the math requirement be increased from two to three years (six semesters).

The sophomores of the just completed school year were informed before they signed up for classes as juniors that the district was considering increasing graduation requirements for math and science.

At the May school board meeting, administrators discussed a meeting they attended at which the primary speaker advocated more stringent academic standards for students. It was noted last month that Aurelia has fallen behind the average for math and science requirements among area schools. Aurelia recently increased the number of credits for graduation in English and social science.

Vint noted at the June meeting that the only downside is that it could reduce elective opportunities.

Doug Radke, board member, suggested a return to a nine-period school day, rather than the eight currently used. Radke said that the eight period day might hurt participation in band and chorus.

Dave Hickman, principal, indicated that nine periods shortened classes to the point where the class just got going before it was time to stop. He said that with the eight periods, there is not a problem with students taking courses that they want. Hickman said that he has looked into complaints about conflicts in classes. "In virtually every case, it was a conflict that could have been avoided," Hickman said.

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