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Columbiana Schools striving toward top spot in technology

November 12, 2012
Morning Journal News

COLUMBIANA The school district ranked no. 7 in the nation in technology is working toward achieving the top spot.

Superintendent Don Mook said the Columbiana district is creating a partnership with Youngstown-based Turning Technologies to possibly outfit 18 middle school classrooms with a remote response system that gauges student learning in the classroom.

"You can get some real quick formative assessments on what is going on in the classroom. A teacher can quickly collect data on what a student or class as a whole understands" based on what is discussed in class, he said.

Company representatives John Wilson and Chuck Reigrut presented information to the board of education this week. The men are looking to showcase some of their technology in districts across the nation, and Mook said he'd like for Columbiana to be the one selected.

"They think it makes a lot more sense to be an Ohio company and showcase an Ohio school, and we certainly want to work with them to be that school," he said.

Through the partnership the district will work on grant funding opportunities to purchase the technology that will be offered at a discounted rate. The company will also provide matching grant funds for additional technology, Mook said.

Some of the company's technology is already being used by district teachers.

Mook said that prior to the company's presentation to the board, he and Reigrut sat down and "had a very good meeting on what their strategy is to market an Ohio school and our strategy to see that we are marketable with 21st Century schools."

He is hopeful that as more technology is embraced in the district it will result in the top ranking nationwide.

"Maybe we'll reach that point of no. 1," he said.

The district earned the no. 7 ranking in U.S. News and World Report for being "most connected" after implementing a 1:1 initiative that provided netbooks to every student.

In other business, the board approved:

- An increase in the substitute support staff hourly rate, effective Jan. 1, to $7.85 an hour to match the new minimum wage rate effective the same date.

- Participation in the National Purchasing Cooperative at no cost for membership.

- Accepting the resignation of Joe Carbon, South Side Middle School tutor, effective Oct. 10.

- Shirley Ferrand and Vicki Garrett as tutors at a rate of $25.25 per hour; Mary Alice Hawkins, Stacey Pavlik as substitute teachers, and Tabitha Gravalt and Harrold (Jan) Winnale as substitute support staff.

- Contracting with the parents of nine students for payment in lieu of transportation services for the 2012-13 school year.

- Six people as girls skills development basketball volunteers, one as assistant wrestling coach volunteer and 24 as elementary school volunteers.

- Awarding supplemental contracts to Jodi Taylor, girls track head coach; Greg Kibler, boys track head coach; Alexandra Marsco, science fair advisor; and Holly Ferguson, detention monitor.

- Jerry Beltempto as softball head coach, and Larry Gilbert for sixth grade boys skills basketball development. Also, Amanda Moore as district concert accompanist and Don Groubert as meet manager, and Jeffrey Heaton to operate the scoreboard.

- Contracting with the Mahoning County Educational Service Center for student enrollment in PACE, alternative program at a cost of $80 per day. The contract is awarded annually.

The board also approved the September and October financial reports and section 125 of the Flexible Benefit Plan Adoption Agreement.



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