WSD hears from principals, cybrarian
June 22, 2023
The Wahkiakum School District Board of Directors heard reports from principals, got an update on Chromebooks, and approved the purchase of a vehicle and skidder at their June meeting on Tuesday.
Debby Hansen, who has been dubbed the cybrarian, gave a report on Chromebooks use at the school district in the past year, explaining how they were keeping track of them and the expectations for their use. As of today, she said, the district had 445 total working Chromebooks.
Superintendent Brent Freeman said the Chromebooks are being used in a six year cycle.
Of the new Chromebooks they had 30 repairs this year, Hansen said, but those are under warranty until 2026. Of the older Chromebooks that have been in circulation for a couple years, 48 of those had to be repaired. A total of eight could not be repaired and are being saved for parts.
Students, or their parents, owed a total of $3,528.25 this year for damaged Chromebooks. So far the district has received $2,083.25 from the families or from grants, but $1,445 still remains outstanding.
“It’s a monumental shift in costs for us,” Freeman said.
In prior years, he said, the head of IT spent most of his time repairing the Chromebooks, and Freeman estimated that was to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars. Getting on a plan, having the warranty service, and keeping to the six year cycle was saving them money.
“Our students are so much more used to using technology,” Principal Nikki Reese said of elementary students, “that they better understand how to take care of them. Teachers have upped their expectations because they are used so frequently. Debby (Hansen) noted that the elementary Chromebooks were in really good condition at the end of the year. The kids have done a great job.”
The board approved the purchase of a surplus 2016 Dodge Caravan for $17,000 and a surplus skidder for $19,000.
“We lost two vehicles this year and need a vehicle desperately. We only have one vehicle with less than 100,000 miles on it,” Freeman said.
Board members are planning for an off site two day meeting on July 13 and 14. The agenda was not ready, Freeman said, but will include a visit to school facilities in Kalama.
A group of middle school students got to visit Powells Books in Portland after completing a challenge to read 30 books, with one student finishing 101 books this year, Reese told the board. It was a neat, motivating experience for the kids, she added, and there are plans to do it again. Seventh graders visited the Marine and Environmental Research and Training Station (MERTS) program at Clatsop College, and fifth graders visited the Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria. The John C. Thomas Drama Group put on a performance of The Stinky Cheese Man, which Reese said gave an opportunity for some of the kids to shine.
She shared that there were 29 kindergarteners registered for the coming school year and expressed gratitude to partners like ESD 112 and the school counselor who helped the school meet an increase in behavior and discipline issues prompted by ongoing struggles in student mental health.
She thanked the board for their support as well.
Principal Stephanie Leitz echoed some of Reese’s thanks for the support, including from mental health and intervention/prevention people. She said that enrolled seniors graduated, including the 44 who walked in the June 9 ceremony and two who didn’t want to participate in the ceremony.
Business Manager Sue Ellyson said they were nearing the end of the audit, but still hadn’t received a report.
Freeman said they would likely talk about the audit at the July meeting.