Great things are happening for students in the Estill County School system and a new Internet study program is one of them.
The program, entitled “Study Island,” was demonstrated to the Estill County Board of Education at a meeting at central office Monday.
Estill Middle seventh grader Dustin Greenwood loves the program and showed the board how it works. He logged on with a user name and password assigned to him by Estill Middle Principal Tim Burkhart.
“This is set up like the Kentucky Core Content Test,” Burkhart said. It is a learning tool that measures achievement.”
The program is used with the Smart Boards already installed in the schools and replaces a program entitled Plato. Greenwood said he liked Study Island better.
“Study Island gives you a lot more,” Greenwood said. “ Plato has no rewards and is like a book only online.”
Study Island gives the teachers a new way to assess a students’ progress.
“It is like the extension of the classroom. Teachers can manipulate the questions. It’s a neat tool and the kids like it,” Burkhart said. “They can be enriched by it or if they need remediation they can get it.”
Kentucky is in the midst of revising the way students are tested and moving away from the Commonwealth Accountability Testing System. Burkhart said Study Island will fit into whatever the state assessment winds up being.
Another advancement that is being made by the school system concerns students’ safety on school buses. Ten of the 31 buses in the schools’ fleet will be equipped with cameras.
Assistant Superintendent Randall Christopher explained that the cameras would be placed in four locations on the buses.
“We will be able to access them here,” he said. “The driver will also be able to see what is going on in the back of the bus.”
Hensley said that nobody wants to think about bus accidents but if one should occur, the cameras would be a big help.
Hensley also told the board about a new idea being implemented in which principals and central office personnel will be going into the classroom.
“We want to see how the students are being engaged,” he said. “We have always gone into the classroom to evaluate the teachers. But it doesn’t matter how good the lesson is or how well the teacher teaches, if the students aren’t paying attention.”
He said that the principals, along with Elementary Instructional Supervisor Joyce Christopher, will visit the classrooms in their schools as well as other schools within the district. Superintendents visit classrooms in other districts.
“They call this making rounds, like doctors make rounds,” Hensley said.
Other improvements in the school system include the blacktopping of the parking lot at South Irvine and the completion of a land survey at West Irvine where the new school will be built.
In other business the board:
•Approved the purchase of the bus cameras;
•Approved the purchase of a new snow plow and salt spreader;
•Increased the gym rental rate from $18 to $20;
•Approved a reimbursement request for motel room expense for the high school band when they went to state competition recently;
Hensley also told the board that the band equipment bus truck has been repaired and is ready to roll.
“A lot of band parents have called to thank us for that,” Christopher said.
The December board meeting will be on Dec. 14.