Among the issues discussed at this week’s Fulton Board of Education meeting:
The district’s computer network administrator detailed how the district is trying to deliver more computer services at a lower cost.
Stephanie Maturo said the district operates more than 1,950 computers, 45 servers, 45 whiteboards and more than 460 printers.
She said the district should replace about 390 computers a year, and is saving about $100 per computer replacement by buying computers with processors made by AMD instead of Intel. Maturo said that their tests showed the AMD processors were as good as the Intel processors.
The district is saving on servers, she said. The 45 servers aren’t really all servers. She said there are 6 “brains” hooked to several dozen hard drives that function like servers. It keeps replacement costs lower because all that has to be replaced is a hard drive instead of an entire server.
Maturo noted that the district has stopped replacing printers every 5 years. Instead, the district operates printers until they fail.
She said the district is using a brand of whiteboard from Epson that is one-third the cost of other whiteboards.
And she noted that the district continually looks at open-source software, which is often free, as replacements for expensive software.
Toward Better Behaviors
Director of Student Support Programs Geri Geitner discussed the district’s plan for improving the behaviors of its students.
The program, called PBIS, is part of the district’s larger effort to help struggling students graduate on time.
Data presented as part of her discussion paints this picture of bad behaviors so far in 2011:
- In the elementary schools, the most commonly-seen major behavior problems are disruptive or disrespectful behavior, along with physical harassment or contact. Between 85 and 90% of students — more than 1,700 of them — have had either zero or one referral for a major behavior incident. Between 7 – 10% of students — 187 of them — have had 2 to 5 major referrals. And between 2 and 5% of students — 82 students — have had 6 or more major referrals. 42 elementary students have served in-school suspension in 2011. 24 students have been suspended out of school so far;
- There’s a fairly sharp rise in bad behavior referrals once students reach junior high. Only 70% of students have never had a major referral for bad behavior or have had only one referral. 76 students — about 14% of the junior high — have had 2 to 5 major referrals, while 82 students — 15% — have had 6 or more. The top major behavior problems are skipping, along with disrespectful or disruptive behavior. 80 students have served in-school suspension so far this year, while 60 have been suspended out of school;
- And there’s another rise at the high school level, where skipping, disrespect and disruption remain the major bad behaviors. Only 64% of students have had either no behavior referrals or just one. 18% — 212 students — have had 2 to 5 major referrals and 17% — 200 students — have had 6 or more. 194 students have served 439 days of in-school suspension, while 132 students have served 580 days of out of school suspension.
The program lays out many levels of intervention for students. Teachers and administrators can use tools ranging meetings with parents and a behavioral contract to counseling and a mental health evaluation.
Geitner said the district has a plan to celebrate the successes it has had with PBIS and its intervention program, while continuing to assess the areas of difficulty to find better ways to bring up student behavior.
Four years of fundraising paid off for the Granby Elementary School playground committee.
$64,000 will soon bring a brand new playground to the school.
The old playground will be torn down at the end of the month and the new playground will be built during the week of June 6.
The board accepted a donation of $2,000 in additional playground equipment for the playground. It was explained that a fourth piece of equipment was purchased when the committee learned that a day care center in the Mohawk Valley was selling the equipment at about half the price of the new piece, which the Granby committee could not afford.
- The board also accepted a donation of $8,096.76 from the band fund for the arts-in-education program;
- Board members approved maternity and child rearing leaves for elementary teacher Jennifer Fournier and special education teacheer Meghan Murman;
- They approved hiring Stephen Frawley as a temporary school improvement specialist through June, 2012 at $350 a day. He will work only occasionally;
- They appointed Keith Tyler to a substitute teaching position, Jessica Shepard to a substitute food service helper position and Michelle Allen to a substitute cleaner position;
- And they discussed in a closed-door executive session the evaluation of Superintendent of Schools Bill Lynch, but did not discuss it in the public session.