DEWITT — The Central DeWitt School Board at its July meeting approved a series of payments for items that will help assist teachers this upcoming school year.
The items, called curricular purchases, are for various educational tools, some of which are geared at helping students learn online as well as in the classroom. Among them are:
• Read Naturally, reading software for kindergarten through eighth grade for $2,300.
• Turnitin software, which helps teachers identify plagiarism by scanning school work turned in by students. This software suite cost $2,633.75 and will service the middle school and high school.
• MobyMax, a program for the intermediate school that can help close learning gaps for learning environments both in the classroom and online. The MobyMax software cost the district $4,734.65.
• Two online tools for the special education department that offer accessibility options to help students read and write. The cost of these programs is $5,500.
A total of $59,820 was allocated for the curriculum purchases.
School sets its legislative priorities for next session
As is customary for school districts across the state, the Central DeWitt School Board annually selects the items it hopes the Iowa Legislature will address in upcoming session.
Central DeWitt Superintendent Dan Peterson chose four items he hopes lawmakers address. They were:
• An effort to support community mental health systems that offer treatment and school mental health programs. The legislation could feature in-school and telehealth access for students, Medicaid and private insurer reimbursement for in-school services, staff support systems, and the expansion of state-funded loan forgiveness programs to include mental health professionals who agree to provide services to schools.
• The ability to voluntarily enroll school employees in the state’s health, dental and life or long-term disability insurance pools.
• A school funding format that equalizes per-pupil funding, eases the burden on the school’s general fund for transportation expenditures, and is weighted to consider schools that deal with demographical changes, socio-economic status, remedial programming and enrollment challenges.
• A measure that will set supplemental aid as early as possible to help schools plan budgets and budget allocations.
The school board approved Peterson’s recommendations.
In other business, the board:
• Reviewed donations to the district that included $258 from United Way of Clinton County and $130 from DeWitt Bank & Trust Employees to the Future Business Leaders of America.
• Revised or added multiple policies relating to COVID-19 and spurred by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act including extended leave for a school employee who is caring for a child under age 18 and unable to return to in-person school or daycare. Another policy provides a staff member who is quarantined due to COVID-19 or suffering symptoms two weeks of paid sick time.
• Hired multiple new staff members including: Victoria Schrage as high school language arts teacher, 7-12 dance coach and head cheer coach; Tanya Glennon as elementary guidance counselor; Lee Swanson as head varsity volleyball coach; Callaway Kinney as assistant varsity volleyball coach (pending completion of coaching authorization); Doug Hinkle, Todd Kinney, and Dan Kedley as assistant varsity football coaches; Kurt Kreiter as assistant eighth-grade football coach; Jessica Rooks as middle school cheer coach for the fall season; Robyn Ceurvorst as special education associate at the high school. The district’s current vacancies include: Preschool teacher, special education associate at Ekstrand, bus driver, substitute bus drivers, head varsity boys soccer coach, middle school seventh-grade boys basketball coach.