BOE hears about software to help teachers monitor student progress
by Daniel Gaddy
Feb 22, 2011 | 1646 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jasper City Schools officials on Monday heard a presentation regarding a new software used by local educators to identify and improve problem areas for students struggling to meet statewide goals.

Martha LaCroix, director of accountability programs, and Lynn Aaron, a reading specialists at West Jasper Elementary, spoke to the Jasper Board of Education Monday about the AIMSweb software.

Like many school systems throughout the state, Jasper City Schools did not meet state standards in special education instruction. To combat that, superintendent Robert Sparkman in late 2010 approved the purchase of the new software, and several educators used the system to monitor the progress of the students who scored below the goals selected by the state.

"This is a tool to show teachers where a child needs targeted instructions," LaCroix said.

The software allows teachers to generate weekly reports for each student and provides suggestions for the most effective types of classroom instruction.

"It really allowed us to take kids and work in the areas where they needed it the most," Aaron said.

Educators have not been using the AIMSweb for an entire year, and LaCroix said it is difficult to gauge overall progress throughout the district. However, she said the educators involved are optimistic about the impact of the system.

"We're moving in a positive direction with that," LaCroix said. "It helps us target those students below grade level and move them in a positive direction."

In other board business:

*Beckie Martin, child nutrition director, told board members that state officials found no discrepancies after conducting an audit of the district's cafeterias.

"Our Child Nutrition staff makes this look easy," Martin said. "I am so proud of them."

*The board approved a policy that requires an automatic external defibrillator to be present in each school.

*Sparkman announced the resignation of Jasper City Schools Chief Financial Officer John Skalnik who will take a position with the Walker County School district in 90 days.

*Skalnik presented the district's monthly financial reports to the board. For the month of January, the system's general fund was $5,317,844, which Skalnink said was similar to the same month last year.

However, that figure represents the peak of tax revenue, and it will slide down as the year progresses, he said.

The district's capital projects fund was at $6,155,700 for the month of January.