GBEMS report on technology upgrades
The board of education traveled to Green Bank Elementary-Middle School Monday for the 2010-2011 LSIC (Local School Improvement Council) meeting.
GBEMS Principal Ruth Bland gave a report on the technology upgrades the school has received and the set backs the school is facing in that same area.
"I wanted to give you an idea of what we have in the way of technology and I also wanted to discuss with you briefly concerning some issues with technology that we have here," Bland said. "Most of all, our Radio Frequency Interference which is called RFI and the fact that we are prohibited from having wireless technology here in the school."
In her best Vanna White impersonation, Bland showed the board all the new equipment GBEMS purchased with money from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA).
"All of the classrooms now have a mulit-media station cart with projectors and laptops, as well as an Elmo," she explained. "The Elmo is a document camera. You can actually put a book underneath the Elmo and it will be projected on the screen. It kind of takes the place of the old overhead projector."
Other technology the school has purchased includes Flip video cameras for each teacher.
Bland projected a video she took at the Fork Warwick archeological dig with the Flip camera.
Other technology added to the school, which was purchased by the state department of education for Reading First schools, include Asus Eee PC tablet laptops for the Kindergarten through third grade teachers to administer Dibels tests and a mobile lab of 20 laptops to be used for techSteps.
Although Bland is thrilled to have all the new technology for her students, the school has been stunted by being in the National Radio Quiet Zone.
"The only difficulty we have with this situation is we are the only school in the state of West Virginia prohibited from having wireless because of the Radio Frequency Interference," she said. "This [the mobile lab with 20 laptops] was to be a wireless lab where they would go in the classroom and call up the internet."
Bland assured the board that she is in no way complaining about their proximity to the National Astronomy Observatory Radio, she is just explaining the schools situation and the steps she is taking to work around the restrictions.
"I had the opportunity to talk to representative Bill Hartman on Thursday and he's going to look to see if we can find a little bit of funds from the legislature to maybe designate this as a special school," she said. "I would actually like to petition the state board of education for special consideration for Green Bank Elementary-Middle School. The state department will only give you as many drops as you have computers in your room and they are recommending three computers per room."
If the mobile lab is to be used in classrooms, Bland said each room would need 20 drops to accommodate the laptops.
"There are only four outlets in each room. I need more wiring," she said. "We're looking at perhaps having wiring overhead with electric in the ceiling with retractable cords. We would have to see if it was to fire code, but we need something to eliminate our cord confusion because there is quite a bit cord confusion right now."
Bland informed the board that the music department was a recipient of a special grant through West Virginia Wesleyan College which purchased an electric piano, a laptop, a digital recorder and a projector for the music room. Music teacher Danielle Ullman is utilizing the equipment in class and Bland said, "the elementary kids are really getting wild, they love it."
Students in Thomas Boothe's eighth grade classes attended the meeting and reported on their new stream project and the success of the Golden Eagle Project they participated in last year.
The students set up a "bait site" with deer carcassesﾠ at the NRAO to lure the eagles and placed cameras around the area to track their progress. As the students reviewed the video material, they didn't attract any Golden Eagles but they did capture images of hawks, coyotes, black vultures and many more members of the wild kingdom.
All the data the students gathered was sent to the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and the organization was so impressed with the students' work that they partnered with GBEMS for the Golden Eagle migration mapping project for three years.
The stream project, also at the NRAO, will have students testing animal life and pH levels of the streams at the NRAO.
Bland presented awards to students who received mastery, above master and distinguished on the WESTEST2 assessment.
Those receiving awards were: Jacob Jones, Logan Woodruff, Brady Jones, Caleb Mullenax, Drake Warder, Jenna Bryant, Mikalan Holder, Clay Sexton, Laura Baudler, Marilyn Creager, Heather Pritt, Robert Galen Sexton, Patrick Collins, Miles Goodall, Phillip Green and Sarah Lambert.
Board president Kenneth Vance recognized GBEMS classroom aids, cooks and school secretary for their years of dedication to the school and the students. Classroom aides are Donna Gragg, Anna Hayes, Sarah Sanders and Ella Taylor. Cooks are Peggy Carpenter, Stephanie Lore and Jean Taylor and school secretary is Lori Wayne.
Eighth grade student Travis Taylor asked the board why second lunch rates were raised to $3.25. The board, as well as Superintendent C.C. Lester reported that the State Board of Education made it a policy for students to pay the full cost if they chose to eat a second lunch.
Bland provided the board with binders of information including calendars, a Respect and Protect BIF [Behavioral Identification Form] report and writing assessment samples.
The board reviewed the data with Bland and thanked her for the information. They also thanked the students in attendance for good behavior and their interest in the meeting.