School is in full swing; awards, technical woes and all

By Melissa Huber, I-O Reporter

It was apparent from the chatter before the school board meeting was brought to order on Sept. 10 that there had been a great amount of technical grief the first few weeks of school. The fantastic technical crew for Conrad Public Schools, however, had been working tirelessly to iron out all the kinks and quirks.

Staff presentations were given after old business was approved, and CHS science teacher, Steve Lockyer, got up to introduce Kaylea Killion who had participated in MedStart Summer Camp this year.

For her efforts, and for creating a skin cancer awareness public service announcement that impressed the directors, CHS was awarded a new digital microscope from Area Health Education Center that Killion was present to demonstrate. The new microscope can take video and pictures, and has a 1,600 magnification ability. It has settings for different colors which are sometimes needed to see various things better.

The floor was then passed to the school principals so that they might introduce their respective new staff. All new employees, save two, were on hand for the introductions, which accounted for the larger than usual amount of attendees.

A break was then taken so that anyone who wished or needed to leave was able to do so. The Morris’, both new teachers at UMS were especially grateful for this opportunity, as their young children were also in attendance.

The meeting was then brought back to order with considerably less in attendance.

Principal Tara Thielman spoke about the new teacher orientation they had this year. New staff was given a wealth of information and resources during the orientation so that they would be better equipped to find, access, and know things they might have had to figure out themselves. They met with all school principals and secretaries, and Technology Coordinator Jill Swanson taught them about the school software and technology.

Swanson also mentioned that the iPad lab was not up and running yet but would be soon. East Helena has had an iPad lab for some time now, and Jerry McDermott, who has essentially been spearheading the iPad lab project, visited there to see how it was progressing.

CHS Principal Ken Larson made mention that you really don’t know what you can do with an iPad until you actually have one. Superintendent Craig Barringer agreed, commenting that students could be working on various different things all in one room, and even gave an example of children working on a lab, learning Spanish, and creating a video, all in one room.

Swanson finished off her report by mentioning the various technological bumps the technology team has had to navigate since the beginning of school, and went on to say that things were beginning to run more smoothly now.

Jim Carroll reported that the buses were all getting fixed up for the new year. Bus driver training and evacuation drills will be starting soon, he said.

He then moved on to sports, mentioning the concussion testing that has been implemented this year for football players. All players must take the test once a year.

Some changes to the Leveled Behavior Plan in the current Meadowlark/Prairie View School Student/Parent Handbook were requested that would help all staff be consistent in discipline and also make terminology more understandable and pertinent for younger children. The changes were later approved.

During this presentation questions were raised about whether Infinite Campus could be integrated into Silverback. Swanson said that was the plan, but that it would happen in the future.

The second grade teachers requested that their grade be included into Infinite Campus, which would require changing their report card to an A through F style. This request was approved by the board.

Principals then gave an account of the first few weeks of school. Principal Greg Jensen announced that Jennifer Schlepp and Kim Hofstad would be co-lead teachers at Prairie View this year, and McDermott and Trish Taule agreed to be co-lead teachers at Meadowlark. All lead teachers volunteered for the position.

Principal Thielman mentioned that magazine sales for UMS were coming up soon. Also noteworthy was that UMS had earned silver status, and there would be a Silver Celebration to commemorate the occasion.

Principal Larson mentioned a new policy at CHS wherein parents were notified when their child got a D-grade. Apparently this has confused some parents, but they are reassured it is just a courtesy notification so that you are made aware. He commented that CHS has a twitter (@Conrad_High) and facebook account (search Conrad High School, Montana) to aid in giving announcements to the community.

New teachers assigned to extracurricular positions were Wendy Hansmann, assistant UMS tennis coach; Willy Mello, National Junior Honor Society advisor for UMS; Lynsi Morris and Raysha Neuman as co-advisors for UMS Student Council; and Ruth Fladstol as co-advisor for CHS National Honor Society.

The next school board meeting will be Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. and will be the first month for student recognitions.