GF board approves purchase of Istation assessment tool

Friday, July 20, 2018

The Green Forest School District is updating its assessment strategies at the intermediate and middle schools.

The Green Forest School Board voted at its Monday meeting to approve the $10,000 purchase of Istation for K-8 for the 2018-19 school year.

Superintendent Matt Summers said Istation was the state assessment tool selected by the elementary school for the 2017-18 school year, and the intermediate and middle schools were provided short-term access at the end of the year. He said middle school principal Tim Booth and intermediate principal Chandra Anderson would like to replace STAR with Istation because it is more than just an assessment tool.

“According to information from Istation’s website, it provides schools with digital lessons and face-to-face teaching strategies for reading and math,” Summers said. “Istation’s robust online curriculum and flexible teacher tools support diverse instructional approaches, including small and whole instruction for Pre-K through eighth grade.”

Booth said it provides teachers with immediate lessons for students needing remediation.

“The diagnostic tools we get back are better we feel like than what STAR would provide,” he said, “because with STAR you had one set of data to use whereas in Istation you have multiple sets of data you can use on each child after testing.”

The board also voted to approve an increase to the minimum health insurance contribution rate. Summers said the contribution rate will increase from $182 per employee to $182.55 per employee beginning Jan. 1, 2019.

The board voted to approve a $500 stipend for classroom supplies for each teacher in grades K-12.

Summers said the district is required to allow $500 per classroom or $20 per student for grades K-6, but the district extended the policy to cover grades K-12.

In other business, the board voted to approve the nutrition bid accepted by the North Central Arkansas Buying Group for the 2018-19 school year. Summers said child nutrition director Shelly Fultz joined the North Central Arkansas Buying Group with 14 other schools to combine their grocery-buying power into one combined bid. He said the district will retain 20 percent discretionary spending for local vendors.

“When we’re buying and bidding all on our own, we don’t always get the best number,” Summers said. “We feel like this will give us the best opportunity to lower some prices and bring in quality food.”

Bids opened on Monday, July 16, but Summers said the district did not receive them in time to present them to the board.

The board voted to approve the fuel bid from Hatman’s One Stop.

“The district will receive a three cent discount off of cash price,” Summers said. “They will also allow us to use a credit card, which we haven’t been able to do in the past.”

Winter additives will be added to the diesel fuel at no cost to the district, he said.

The board also voted to approve student transfers, schedule changes for high school students requesting to work part-time during the school day, the federal program applications and budgets and a resolution stating the board has reviewed and approved any employee increase in pay of 5 percent or more from Fiscal Year 2017 to Fiscal Year 2018.

The board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday, Aug. 20, in the high school library.

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