App a new communication tool

Briefs from the School District 51 regular meeting Feb. 9.

(From left) Hutton Elementary School teacher Tammy Jacobs talks to the school board about a new app program she is using called FreshGrade. Also speaking to the board about the app were Keira Angus

Presentation

Hutton Elementary teachers Tammy Jacobs and Keira Angus spoke to the board of trustees at the regular board meeting of School District 51 on Feb. 9 to talk about a new and exciting method for teachers to communicate with parents.

The pair have began to use a phone/tablet app called FreshGrade to show weekly updates of students’ progress with their parents. Both say it’s a great way to send a “snapshot” of a child’s day at school so parents can easily discuss how the child’s day went.

Kevin Argue, SD51 superintendent of schools, said that there are a few other teachers in the district using the app but Jacobs and Angus are the most experienced.

“It’s a choice they’re making to use it,” he said. “It can be used just to communicate to parents; it can be used to just put your marks in and those can be shared with parents; and it can be used as a portfolio, where a student is videoed reading at their level, for example, and that is shared with the parent. It gets posted like on Facebook but only the parent can see it.”

Syrian refugees

The school board received a letter from Benjamin Jepsen regarding a committee he is on that is working toward getting a Syrian refugee family to Grand Forks. Jepsen said it would be a massive endearvour and would take the entire community to get behind it. He added that the committee is looking at different options to get one or more families to Grand Forks.

Argue said that at this point, the group is just looking at options regarding bringing a Syrian refugee family but nothing is confirmed yet that there will be. “We have some resources from the Ministry of Education on how to best do this,” he said.

Amended budget bylaw

The board unanimously passed final reading of the Amended Annual Budget Bylaw. Total operating revenue for SD51 for the year ending June 30, 2016 is $15,456,221 with most coming from provincial grants from the Ministry of Education ($15,235,540).

The total expenses in the budget are $15,798,221 with $12,091,562 coming from instruction.

Video surveillance

The board of trustees voted in favour of adopting a policy to allow for video surveillance on the exterior of school district properties for the reason of deterring acts of vandalism, crime, and inappropriate behaviour, and to enhance student safety.

Public use of school facilities

The board approved and adopted policy No. 2060 – Public Use of School Facilities. The policy applies to all rentals of school district facilities except those for which the school board has entered into a separate joint use agreement.

The policy states that: 1. The school board’s first consideration for school facilities is to meet the needs of students and school programs…; 2. The board agrees, however, that school facilities should be used as extensively as possible by community/public organizations and other groups when not required for district educational programs. Preference will be given to activities for educational, cultural or recreational value and to children’s groups. The policy also includes recommendations for schedule of fees and priorities for use.

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