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CCCHS to offer virtual option for driver's ed.
[January 08, 2013]

CCCHS to offer virtual option for driver's ed.

Jan 08, 2013 (Clay Center Dispatch - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- In order to meet a need for driver's education, the USD-379 school district will use virtual online classes to reach more students.

Superintendent Mike Folks reported Monday that this year has been "a real challenge" to find people certified to teach driver's education. Typically the district has two instructors and offers classes at Wakefield and Clay Center.

Lloyd Tiffany, who is certified and willing to teach driver's ed., classes, proposed an idea to offer virtual classes through the Greenbush Consortium for up to 60 students at Clay Center. For students at the Clay Center location, Tiffany would proctor and teach the driving portion of the class that follows once they complete the final for classroom or online portion.

A traditional option taught by Lynn Wait will be offered for district students at Wakefield School, including the driving requirement.

This proposal would allow the district to offer the class to 26 more students than it has in the past. Folks reported that "many more kids would like to take driver's ed.," than what the district has been able to offer in the past -- 30 in Wakefield and 40 in Clay Center.

The district offers driver ed. classes for $150 per student, "a real bargain," Folks said, because private lessons range from $350 to $400. Greenbush charges $120 per student for the online portion, and for that reason the district may have to adjust the fee schedule in upcoming this years.

But because there is enough carry-over in the driver's ed. fund, about $80,000, the district will be able to offer the virtual classes without raising the fee this year. With more student fees collected and more in driver's education reimbursement, the district would end up with about $90,000 in the driver's ed. fund at the end of the year. That ending balance is a "projected" amount "but that could change based on enrollment, salaries and whether we purchase a vehicle out of that fund," Folks said.

Folks said staff have considered the possibility that not all students may want to take the driver's ed. class virtually, but the Wakefield class is open to both Wakefield students and Clay Center students who don't want to take it virtually.

Assistant Superintendent Sherri Edmundson said the location of these classes does not mean the classes are limited to just the students who attend those schools.

Board member Jean Frigon called the decision to offer driver's education through virtual classes "a no-brainer" because the district has a "healthy" amount in the driver's ed. fund.

"We're teaching kids how to be virtual learners," Frigon said. "This is the perfect opportunity to do that." However, she wanted assurances that virtual driver's ed. students would be able to access district facilities to get online to take the classes. Folks said students wouldn't be able to do so during regular class time, but would have opportunities before and after school.

Students will also be able to use school-issued iPads to complete the virtual option, Folks said.

In other board business: -- The school board received a thank you letter from Mrs. Tiffany's class expressing gratitude for the new carpet in the music room at Lincoln Elementary. The new carpet "looks and smells wonderful," the letter said.

-- The board heard a presentation on the multi-tiered system of support (MTSS), intervention in reading and math, from elementary school principals Jill Sanneman and Jaclyn Pfizenmaier. The intervention has been tweaked some and has had a few minor staff changes, Pfizenmaier reported.

-- Frigon was presented a certificate from the Kansas Association of School Boards for "honor level boardsmanship." -- Folks reported that the head count is at 1,392, up 19 students from February of last year and on the edge of the number needed to meet the second military head count for state aid funding, which could be a difference of $75,000 to $100,000 for the district. Cannizzo reported that a couple students had enrolled at Wakefield School Monday.

-- The board agreed to allow the district to purchase a snow blade for $2,000 and spend up to $180 to adapt it to a truck to use for snow removal at Wakefield School.

-- The board discussed two options for the calendar for 2013-14. (SEE RELATED STORY) -- The board approved switching the cell phone service to a Verizon place, which was $389.40 a year less than the US Cellular plan at $2,655.60 after the eRate discount.

Currently the district is on a US Cellular plan. The new plan allows for two more smart phones for a total of 15, five regular phones and five flat rate phones.

-- The board discussed a proposal for security system with buzzers and cameras, because systems presented in bids isn't quite what the administration wants, Edmundson asked for time to rework the proposal.

___ (c)2013 the Clay Center Dispatch (Clay Center, Kan.) Visit the Clay Center Dispatch (Clay Center, Kan.) at brd=1160 Distributed by MCT Information Services

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