Chromebooks and curriculum

School board approves pursuit of chromebooks, K-6 math curriculum discussed

Marshalltown third-, fourth- and seventh graders are set to get new chromebooks and tablets in the near future.

“This has been a labor of love,” said Marshalltown Schools Director of Technology Joshua Wesley at Monday’s Marshalltown School Board meeting of the pursuit of 1,805 chromebooks, with appropriate licensing, as well as 17 carts to accommodate those units.

With the board’s approval, requests for proposals (RFPs) will be sent out to bidders today for the new units. The total budget is set at $570, 275.

“These chromebooks are now running Android apps, so that’s a new improvement,” Wesley said, adding some of the units will have touch screens and others will not.

Additionally, students in preschool through first grade will see their tablets and computers replaced with new touch screen chromebooks at a two-to-one ratio. Units used by second graders are set to be replaced by Dell units passed down from the 12th grade level.

Also discussed at Monday’s meeting was a new math curriculum for K-6 students at the district. After months of discussion, the district Math Leadership Team of instructors decided the Houghton Mifflin Go Math curriculum would best meeting students’ needs and align with state standards.

“They looked at a variety of products, looked at how those products aligned with the Iowa math standards,” said district Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson. “They chose Go Math over a different product called Eureka … based on 12 different criteria.”

About 36 math instructors from the district’s elementary schools and Lenihan Intermediate School have been using Go Math materials in their math classes as a pilot group, she said.

“We’re looking at that [Go Math] as our core math resource,” Stevenson said, adding a second program, Spacial-Temporal (ST) Math, would be used to supplement the core curriculum for students who struggle or need more of a challenge.

In all, if approved, the proposed budget would be $320,280.31 for a 6-year subscription for all of the district’s 1,942 students. That cost would include professional development for staff related to the curriculum.

Though no action was taken on the item at the meeting due to it being labeled “discussion” and not “action,” a decision is to be made at a later meeting.

In other business

Salary settlements were approved for district food service employees and paraeducators. For those in food service, wages are set to increase 3.42 percent at a total cost of $29,891 for next year.

Paraeducators will see a wage increase of 7.54 percent at a total cost of $200,778.

The board approved a 3-year agreement with Forecast 5 Analytics at a total cost of $31,600.

Marshalltown High School Dean of Students Dan Terrones and reading instructor Laurie Rink, among others, presented the high school’s PIER program for students at risk of not graduating. They said about 86 percent of students in the program are now definitely going to graduate with their senior class or are on-course to do so. The other 14 percent, they said, have a chance to catch up on their credits and graduate with their class.

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. June 5 at the Central Administration Office, 1002 S. 3rd Ave.

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Contact Adam Sodders at (641) 753-6611 or asodders@timesrepublican.com