By David Meade
During their regular Monthly meeting Tuesday, Anderson School District One Board members were updated on the start of school and the new Digital Initiative and technology rollout. Superintendent David Havird said the District had 9588 students enrolled as of last Friday and more than 9600 by Tuesday. Havird said the District had 156 new students enroll last year and expects 160 to 200 this year.
He said a steady improving economy is allowing people to relocate to the area and the District’s new Digital Initiative are factors of the increasing enrollment. “We offer access to good teachers, good schools and new technology,” he said.
Havird said he has had to turn down numerous out of district tuition requests.
During his report to the Board, Havird said the district has 63 new certified teachers with 25 of those being Induction teachers. Induction teachers received training in classroom management, professinalism and iPad initiatives during a three day training session, he said.
District One also hired 27 classified employees to offer support to teachers and students, he said.
Havird said the District has 130 substitute teachers and will be training 30 new substitutes over the next month. He said the District has implemented a new calling system for substitute teachers called AESOP, which hopefully will reduce the amount of time administrators have to spend calling substitutes.
Havird said the District has upgraded bandwidth from 200 mg to 1 Gig. The internet upgrade required core equipment changes including adding a Dell SonicWall which replaced older hardware and saved the District thousands of dollars that would have been spent on hardware and renewal costs.
Email has been migrated from an on-premise Exchange server to Office 365 e-mail in the cloud. Microsoft offers free Office 365 accounts to students and staff of educational institutions, he said. Student and staff data is also being migrated to the cloud and will be accessible from any device with internet capabilities.
Older PowerSchool Student Information system servers were replaced with VRTX servers, saving the district thousands of dollars for replacing hardware.
Havird said the Finance Department has adjusted to transitions in the department well. Debit cards of $250 were disbursed to teachers early so they could begin preparing for the school year. and the first payroll of the new school year was successful, he said.
The Special Service Department is serving aproximately 1200 students in 51 special needs classes with 13 support programs in speeech, occupational therapy and physical therapy. Havird said the District had more than 70 transfer students who are being placed in the District. A new state IEP program, ENRICH is being implemented and teachers and staff have been trained in using “this extremely complex but exciting program.”
The academically Gifted and Talented program has five teachers and are fully engaged and serving approximatly 400 students in pull-out programs at the elementary schools.
Havird said the Maintenance department did roof repairs on the majority of schools, painted across the district and worked on existing classrooms that needed updating including the art department at Palmetto High School.
An old electric boiler at Palmetto Elementary was replaced with a gas boiler and tankless water heaters which Havird said are more efficient and will save on energy costs.
Havird said the District is in the process of the iPad deployment and getting activity busses ready for fall sports.
Havird also said the District had a graduation rate in 2014 of 90.79, graduating 601 students out of 662.
Havird presented the board with a list of items being presented as part of the local options sales tax referendum later this year. The board and public will be asked for input on the list, he said. Sessions will be announced to allow the public to get more information.
The Board unanimously approved a Revised Instructional Staff Evaluation Policy and personnel recommendations including:
Recommendation – Amber Greer, LAUNCH teacher (.50 Cedar Grove Elementary.
Resignation – Debbie Cox, Resource, Concrete Primary.
Request for Leave – Cindy Gibson, Grade 3, Hunt Meadows Elementary; Jamie Harrison, Grade 3, Powdersville Elementary.