BOE asking county to help fund 1:1

LEDGER – The Mitchell Board of Education is asking county commissioners to assist with funding updates to the school system’s 1:1 technology program. 

The board voted April 24 to provide iPads for each elementary student in the county and new Apple laptops for middle school students to replace the Google Chromebooks currently used. The plan includes new laptops for teachers in K-8. The payment plan is spread out over four years at $307,900 annually, which the board is requesting the county to pay. 

Elementary students currently share tablets in the classroom while the high school and middle schools issue laptops to each student and teacher. School officials say having the whole district 1:1 is a priority. 

“Technology is so important for our students to succeed in education and have job opportunities in the future,” Mitchell County Schools Superintendent Chad Calhoun said in a letter requesting funds from the county. 

Calhoun is asking the county for $94,000 for an autistic program for grades K-5. Calhoun told board members the program would include a teacher and an assistant with specialized training for working with autistic children. 

“We feel like if we had a teacher that was specifically trained in high detail to work with those autistic children along with an assistant; and then use our (exceptional children) staff along with them in that classroom that we could really make a difference in that K-5 population,” Calhoun said, adding the program may not start next year but he would like to begin talking about it. 

The program would be housed at Greenlee Primary, but would serve all K-5 students in the county, Calhoun said. 

“There’s lots of wants and needs, but we have to be realistic, too,” Calhoun said about budget planning.

Based on enrollment projections for next year, the district is facing a loss of state funding equal to two-and-a-half teacher positions and two teacher assistant positions, Calhoun said. 

The district is also asking the county to continue funding two STEM teachers for the middle schools at a cost of $132,522.  STEM courses focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

In other business:

Mitchell High school is sending 13 students to Anaheim, California, this summer for the Future Business Leaders of America, or FBLA, national conference June 29 through July 2. Students are currently fundraising for the trip. 

The board approved the district’s Career and Technical Education plan for the 2017-2018 school year. The program offers career-focused courses and training for students. CTE director Kim Hodshon said the program serves grades 7-12 and improves graduation rates. Students can earn credentials that are recognized by employers, she said.

Hodshon said Altec and BRP will hire every student who completes the CTE welding program.

Mitchell High’s graduation this year is 7 p.m. Friday, June 2. Seniors voted to have graduation on Friday instead of Saturday. Summer school runs May 5-12 with retesting May 13-14.

As of now, the first day of classes for the 2017-2018 school year is Aug. 21 for all schools except Mayland Early College, which starts Aug. 14.

Mitchell County Special Olympics is having its spring games Saturday, May 5, at Mitchell High. 

The MItchell News

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