School follows future

Stephanie Vallez · Wednesday, January 24, 2018
The school board met last Monday, Jan. 15, at their regular time and place. Every member of the board was present, as well as several other presenters and spectators.

Jackie Henderson, TAG teacher at the Middle School, brought some students with her to tell the board what the middle school has been doing with the 3D printer.

Each board member received an ornament, either a snowflake or a nativity scene, designed and then 3D printed by the middle school students.

Terrance Salinas, an eighth grade student, demonstrated the software they are using to create the designs.

Salinas showed the board his work on creating a puzzle of the United States, using Iowa to demonstrate how different shapes can be used to create a shape that’s entirely unique.

The students sold the ornaments they made with the 3D printer. With the help of the West Liberty Ministerial Association, the Middle School students want to use the money to start a student help fund.

The fund would help cover expenses for students who can’t afford the things they need to be successful, like running shoes for track, field trip expenses, fees for participating in extracurricular activities.

Henderson asked if one of her students could explain to the board why the opportunity to use this technology is important to their education. A remarkable answer came from Marcos Rodriguez, a seventh grade student.

“It’s important because it shows that you can make something out of nothing,” Rodriguez said, “if you work hard.”

Based on the amount of time Salinas has spent on Iowa’s western border, it certainly does look like hard work, but these young people are clearly up to the task.

The school board also heard a report from Brian Rance about the district’s new website.

The board had questions about ease of use, because sometimes it has been difficult to find things like specific calendars and schedules.

The board also wanted to make sure that important news like cancellations and emergency information are obvious.

Rance assured them that all important notifications will be visible on the main page and users will have no need to go digging for information.

Rance also reported that the district has 228 new Chromebooks to work with.

Chris Martin gave the Wellness Committee update and the board spent several minutes discussing the absence of vegetarian options in our school lunches.

Board Member Lynne Sasmazer was unsatisfied with the absence of vegetarian options in school lunches. “We’ve had requests. It’s a no-brainer,” said Sasmazer, “the information is out there.”

Chris Martin agreed to continue to have that conversation with the wellness committee.

Additionally, breakfast was discussed. Breakfast will be made available to students even if they arrive a little bit late.

There has been some debate about brown-bag breakfasts being made available so that students who can’t get to school early enough for hot breakfast can eat something in the classrooms.

There was also some concern that students eating breakfasts during class would be messy and distracting. It was decided that students can go to the cafeteria and take the time to eat breakfast even if they are a little late for school.

The board also pointed out that tardiness will be permitted for the sake of a good breakfast, and if that policy is not being upheld then the board would like to hear about it.

Superintendent Joe Potts also had some meetings to discuss with the School Board.

He has been learning about teen drug abuse prevention. He would like to hold some town-hall style meetings with parents of adolescent students to talk openly about awareness and prevention of substance abuse.

The board approved the purchase of a new school bus. One of the district’s older busses is currently not running.

Rather than make expensive repairs to an old bus, the district has chosen to purchase a new bus for $80,500.

The school board meeting was adjourned to a closed exempt session and the audience and presenters were dismissed. The next school board meeting will be held on Monday, Feb. 5, at 6 p.m.
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