Oneonta schools receive $75,000 matching grant for technology




Oneonta City Schools Superintendent Mike Douglas reported to the school board Monday night that the Oneonta Foundation for Educational Resources (OFFER) has received a grant of $75,000 to match the $75,000 it raised. The money will be used to support the system’s technology initiatives. The terms of the grant allow it to be renewed for two subsequent years if the system provides the matching amount.

After approving minutes of the last meeting and the current financial report, the board heard separate presentations from a student and teachers.

MacKenzie Adams reported on her experience using Chromebooks, tablet computers being introduced into the seventh grade, as a part of the initial effort to expand the use of computer technology throughout the curriculum. She said she liked learning through the Chromebook medium better than using textbooks, and said part of the reason was that it was well organized.

Alabama College and Career-Ready Standards

Elementary assistant principal Julie Talton presented a report on Alabama College and Career-Ready Standards (sometimes referred to generically as Common Core), emphasizing qualitative differences between the new standards and the standards previously used to guide and measure student progress. In general, the new standards focus more intensively on critical thinking and problem solving requiring deeper understanding and applications to the real world, as opposed to rote learning and memorization, which characterized previous standards, she said.

The newer standards are far more detailed, she said, in outlining specific skills students must learn, whereas previous standards were brief and generalized, allowing room for considerable interpretation from one teacher to the next.

The standards do not dictate content and thus are not curriculum-related, but identify skills and levels of skills that students must demonstrate, she said.

This is the third year for the math component of the new standards, and second year for English/language arts standards in the school system. Social studies standards will be introduced this year and science standards will be the last to be introduced next year.

Second grade teachers Kellie Dailey and Hali Bellew thanked the the superintendent and the board effusively for new desks and chairs, which they said made their lives much easier by eliminating the need for reassembly during class time.

Superintendent’s recommendations

The board voted to accept the superintendent’s recommendations as a package. They were to:

• accept bid of less than $15,000 for juice for the lunchroom.

• approve compensation supplement for volunteer softball coaches.

• approve junior high school boys’ basketball assistant coach.

• approve the high school physics/chemistry field trip to Atlanta.

• approve resolution related to self-reporting of issues to the Security and Exchange Commission.

At the request of chairman Don Maples, the board agreed to change the time of the board meeting back to 5:30 p.m. on the fourth Monday of each month going forward.