Archive for Tuesday, June 23, 1992

June 23, 1992

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At his last Lawrence school board meeting as Lawrence school superintendent, Dan Neuenswander on Monday reiterated his belief in stressing student "outcomes" and in bringing the community together to try to achieve them.

Neuenswander's comments came during a discussion of "exit outcome" goals for Lawrence students. The goals were proposed in January by a 40-member panel of local educators, business people and government officials, and the goals since have been presented at community forums for public input.

The board voted 5-2 to adopt the goals with one minor amendment, but not before a lengthy discussion of the district's ability to achieve the outcomes.

Board member Jerry Hannah said he was concerned that the outcomes document calls for each student to demonstrate personal qualities such as ethical behavior and self-esteem in addition to demonstrating mastery of essential skills in such areas as reading, writing, math and science.

HANNAH SAID that by adopting the goals, the district would be imposing values on students. He said the board also could be setting the district up for some expensive endeavors.

"We're institutionalizing this document, and that means commitment of staff and resources and money," Hannah said. "Before we vote on it, let's see what the total package is."

Board member Tom Murray, who like Hannah voted against the outcomes, questioned the district's ability to ensure that students would demonstrate personal characteristics such as community involvement.

"I don't think we can say that we're going to insure that we have these outcomes when they are not at all measurable," Murray said, adding that imparting those qualities is "very much the role of parents and families and not of the school."

Neuenswander pointed out that the document calls for families, employers and others in the community to work together to try to achieve the goals.

"I THINK if nothing else comes out of this document, it's the understanding that no one agency can provide it all," Neuenswander said.

He said he thought the district could identify aspects of ethical behavior that would not interfere with values taught at home. And, he said, it should be kept in mind that the district would not always use traditional tests to determine if students had achieved the stated outcomes.

"Demonstrate doesn't mean paper-pencil (tests) for each of these items," Neuenswander said.

He cited as an example the goal for students to demonstrate the desire to participate in postsecondary learning opportunities.

He said high school graduates could demonstrate that by enrolling in a vocational school, a junior college, a university or an adult education program. Neuenswander has talked in the past of tracking Lawrence High School graduates to see what they do after leaving the district.

BOARD MEMBER Harriet Shaffer said achieving the goals would be an "evolutionary" process, not a "revolutionary" process.

"We're not talking about something that's in effect for the class of 1993," Shaffer said.

The board approved the outcomes with the added goal that students should demonstrate characteristics of responsible leadership by "living harmoniously in a global society."

The board members will meet with Neuenswander at 7 p.m. today at the Eldridge Hotel for a farewell dinner.

IN OTHER business Monday, the board:

Approved St. Paul Insurance Co. as the carrier of the district's workers compensation coverage for the 1992-93 school year. The board also approved St. Paul insurance coverage for buildings and contents for the 1992-93 school year.

The cost of the workers compensation coverage is estimated to be $248,403, which is about $30,824 above 1991-92 costs despite a $1,000 deductible that the board decided to accept Monday. Murray said that in the future the district might want to look into being self-funded in the area of worker's compensation.

Approved an application for $18,352 in Johnson-O'Malley Grant funds, which will used to provide services for about 248 students in the district's Indian Education program.

Approved an application for $601,480 in federal funding for the Chapter 1 program, which provides students with additional assistance in math and reading instruction. The board also approved spending $160,000 in general fund moneys to provide "Chapter 1 type" services to schools in the district that don't qualify for federal Chapter 1 aid.

APPROVED the adoption of a textbook for an advanced placement U.S. history course at Lawrence High School. The board approved purchasing 130 textbooks for a total cost of $4,648.

Approved purchase contracts for a number of items to be paid for through the district's capital outlay fund.

The board approved purchasing four vans from Laird Noller Ford at a total cost of $65,516. The vans will be used largely for Lawrence High School activities and to assist in providing mid-day transportation for special education students.

The board also approved: changing a carpeting contract with Flooring Specialists to bring the total amount to $58,509; purchasing $21,871 worth of furniture for use in the Explorations in Technology program; purchasing $23,893 in computer equipment from Apple Computer Inc.; purchasing $14,137 in equipment from MicroTech Computer; purchasing $7,298 of materials for Explorations in Technology from Synergistics Technology Systems; purchasing $5,040 in Explorations in Technology equipment from DEPCO Inc.; purchasing 32 TV-VCR units from Wal-Mart Discount Center for $12,795; and purchasing $101,610 worth of computer equipment for business education.

Some of the purchases will be covered by federal grant monies for vocational education.

Adopted a resolution in support implementing the Kids Voting program in the Lawrence school district this fall. The program tries to instill good voting habits in students kindergarten through grade 12 by allowing them to vote at the polls alongside their parents.

Held an executive session on teacher negotiations.

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