For the past several months schools around the area have been fully focusing on ways to keep the children, staff and administrators safe while at school. At the Winfield School District, changes are underway and a new buzzer system and cameras have been installed in the primary, intermediate and the middle schools. At the meeting held on Tuesday, Feb. 19, the board of education members voted for an extra safety precaution at the Middle School. They will be moving forward with installing a chain-link privacy fence with panels between the breezeway of the “A” and “B” buildings. “The students must go outside to travel from one building to the next. This will simply help to keep them from being out in the open and out of harms way,” said Superintendent Jim Chandler. There will also be teachers at each end of the fence to watch over the students, as well as cameras. There will be a panic button and a double gate in the fence to allow the students to evacuate the breezeway in case of an emergency. If the panic button is pressed, there will be an alarm that is sounded to let the office know that someone has opened the gates.
A unanimous vote came through to renew OPAA’s food service contract. OPAA has been following the guidelines that are set for the state to prepare healthier lunches. A new guideline has been announced that by the end of 2014, OPAA will be monitoring all food services that come from the school district. This will include: breakfast, lunch, vending machines, and fundraisers. More information will be released on these choices after they are discussed. The students will also be given a survey regarding the food options. The food survey will hopefully let OPAA better understand which foods the kids prefer. This will help to cut back on the waste and keep the kids happier with the lunch options.
The Winfield School District is looking into a new policy to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) to school. This policy will allow students to check in their iPads, iPods, tablets and other electronic devices that can access the Internet to school. The students will check in their devices with the technology department and then the students will have access to the school’s Internet.
The district’s Internet has filters that block unwanted sites from all electronic devices that have been checking onto the system. This also means that social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter will be blocked from usage. By adding this policy it will allow the students to search the Internet on their own devices, allowing more students to be able to research at once. It also lets the teachers incorporate technology in their lesson plans.
All the school buildings reported to be looking into the future and making sure their students are set to end at the levels they need to be at to move forward into their next grade level. The buildings are also celebrating their attendance as the district has stayed above 95 percent even through the flu season. There are still 228 students who have perfect attendance for the year, and 600 who have missed three days or less. They are working on targeting the students who have missed 10 days or more.
The calendar for the next school year, 2013-2014, was decided on during the meeting in open session. The beginning date is set for August 15, and the last day of school will be approximately May 21, depending on weather. This will give the students 174 days in school and teachers 180 days in school.
Recognitions were: Primary – Cody Greco for outstanding performance; Kathy Bloese and Sarah Byington for outstanding support; High School – Allison Laws for dedication and commitment to excellence in the band program; Middle School – Sierra Hansen for being a model of liberty, equality, law, justice, fraternity, education, progress, honor, truth, virtue, temperance, enterprise and charity; Stacey Diederich for performing in one of the most vital roles of the building, Stacey exemplifies and fulfills the duties flawlessly; Transportation – Tina Williams for professionally handling an emergency situation; Nora Reynolds, Rene Zettler, and Dylan Harris for being outstanding bus ambassadors.
The next Board of Education Meeting will be at 6 p.m. at the Intermediate Library on March 19. Everyone is welcome to come to the meeting.