ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CYNTHIA GOERZEN
In the wake of several recent incidents of violence in the nation’s schools, Goessel administrators updated the board of education at its Oct. 9 meeting on local security measures.
John Fast, Goessel superintendent and elementary school principal and Curt Graves, junior/senior high school principal, both discussed student safety with the board.
Graves said an assembly was called to present the school’s crisis plans to the junior high and high school students. He said plans were to conduct a practice lock-down and a practice bomb threat evacuation, just like students practice tornado drills and fire drills.
He said the emphasis is on being prepared, not living in fear. He said the hope is to never need to use the knowledge gained by the practices.
Fast said security procedures had also been practiced at the grade school.
According to Fast, “The board and administration are committed to the safety of every student and every staff person.”
Fast said some schools lock all their entrances and use a system of security cameras and buzzers for visitors.
Graves mentioned specific doors at the junior high/high school building that have been unlocked during the day in the past but will now be locked.
However, some doors will remain unlocked because students need to use them. Graves noted that students need to exit the school building to get to the shop.
Also, some students go to the elementary school to help as aides.
Upon the recommendation of Lee Buller, computer technician, the board approved the purchase of 40 computers for a total cost of $30,760.
The money will come from capital outlay and from a small schools grant.
“It’s an appropriate investment,” board member Dan Miller said.
“Computers are…commodities right now,” Buller told the board. “It’s a huge market right now.”
Buller said he considered building the new computers himself since a “white box” can be built for $667. It would take about two hours for him to build each computer.
However, Buller said the school could get mass-produced computers for more value. Each computer would have two processors, and “the video is absolutely amazing.”
Buller advised buying computers from ByteSpeed in Sioux City, Iowa. ByteSpeed was the only company that offered a five-year warranty.
Also, Buller said he could get a “parts machine” to use for repairs. He had checked with other school “techies,” and ByteSpeed was their recommendation.
The computers would be used in the junior high computer lab, art, music and library. Graves said that students in grades six through 12 will benefit from them.
Graves told the board of the “great Goessel GPA (grade point average) competition.”
He said students are encouraged to form teams of four or five students. Team members will hold each other accountable for school work.
Cash will be given to the group with the most improvement. The first-place team will split $100 among the members. However, if the winning team improves by one whole percentage point, Graves will add $50 to the total.
If teams cheat, they will be disqualified. He said he is looking for a minimum of six teams.
In other business, the board:
— listened as Joel Hesed, junior high English teacher, demonstrated a “smartboard,” which is mounted at the front of the classroom.
A computer is connected to the smartboard. A projector sends an image from the computer to the smartboard. The teacher can write on the smartboard. It can be used to control the computer or to watch movies that relate to the lesson.
— approved the FFA trip to the national convention in Indianapolis later in the month. FFA sponsor David Graham will attend, as well as one student who is one of four finalists in the national competition.
Board member Dan Miller said he is “proud and pleased” for the student’s accomplishment.
Graham said the convention conflicts with other school events that week, such as the choir concert, football game, volleyball, and state cross country.
— heard Graves report that the Elbiata vocal group performed with the Heart of America League vocal honors program that was held at Friends University.
“Elbiata was outstanding,” he said. “It was nice to see the diversity of our students.”