Pratt schools describe themselves as being a 21st century, state of the art district. Liberty Middle School students showed the Board of Education what they can do with their iPad tablets at a meeting Monday night.
Book reports have gone digital — Linda Stelzer's sixth graders created short movies based on biographies they were assigned. Pictures and drawings illustrate what a word is and is not in vocabulary lessons. An app called Pages and Integrated Projects aids them in doing research and creating a research report that can include text and graphics.
"It's really cool," Alesha Bergner said, reporting on a social studies project on Mesopotamia assigned by teacher Sandy Foster that is also an assignment for Stelzer's language arts class.
A big advantage is that the project is paperless, Stelzer noted.
She and the students also demonstrated the use of Edmodo, a secure social network used by teachers and students. Students can access the site to pick up assignments when they were absent from school. They can take polls — a recent one asked students to respond whether a recent research assignment was clear or not clear.
Stelzer also noted that students pick up their agendas and start typing as soon as they come to class and when the bell rings, "I'm ready to instruct. It really engages the students."
Superintendent Suzan Patton reported that the district has created several Facebook pages, starting with an athletic page created by activities director Curtis Nightingale. Each building and the district all have pages, with a total of 1183 "likes." The pages can be accessed through the district website, www.usd382.com.
Patton discussed the district's new teacher recruitment program that includes informational placards with a QR code linked to the USD 382 website, a video, and attendance at university career fairs. .
The goal is to let prospective teachers know what Pratt has to offer, such as 1-to-1 laptop and iPad programs, networked buildings, and answer the question, "why would a beginning teacher want to come to Pratt?"
In business items, the Board:
n approved the audit report by Steve LaPrad of Patton, Cramer and LaPrad, who told members, "you are compliant in all areas," and approved a contract with the firm for the next two school years.
n gave preliminary approval to a technical education agreement with Pratt Community College. There are some differences from past years, Patton said, but material was not available for members' packets prior to the meeting.
n learned there may be some budget issues that bear watching. Glen Davis, director of budget and finance, explained that the county anticipates collection of 80 percent of tax revenues, instead of the usual 94 percent, because of the Neighborhood Revitalization Act that rebates taxes for developing properties. It is not necessary to republish the budget at this time, and they will know more about the impact after the January distribution, he said.
n tabled decisions on the Zerger Field turf lease/purchase agreement and a contract with Foxwood Marketing, which is handling sponsorships to generate additional revenue to pay for the artificial turf.