Kingsland Business Manager Kathy Beevers receives her service plaque from Kingsland Superintendent John McDonald during the school board meeting on Jan. 16.
Kingsland Business Manager Kathy Beevers receives her service plaque from Kingsland Superintendent John McDonald during the school board meeting on Jan. 16.
The Kingsland School Board of Directors' January agenda was short on paper but long in execution Jan. 16. First, new board members Gwen Howard and Troy Asher were sworn in, after which meeting proceedings kept listeners busy paying close attention.

Kingsland Superintendent John McDonald thanked volunteers associated with Land O' Lakes for contributing 1,400 hours to the district equal to the donation of $2,000 the district received. He also thanked Swiss Valley Farms for $500 toward the Kingsland robotics team's competition costs.

The school board recognized Kathy Beevers, Kingsland's longtime business manager who is planning a wedding and moving out of the area, for her service to the district during the meeting.

"Kathy has given so much service to the district in so many different ways ... unparalleled," McDonald said.

Beevers accepted a plaque from the board, thanking them for the opportunity to work with them and the staff and administration.

"From the bottom of my heart, I'd like to thank the school board and administration. I'm very excited about the next chapter of my life, and I'll miss you all ... you'll never be forgotten," she said.

The man who is the "next chapter" of Beevers' life is also the consulting architectural engineer contracted by the district - Troy Miller from TSP. He updated the board on reconfiguration of facility usage. Miller acknowledged that while the high school was renovated and the new elementary built new, changes in technology and school routines have changed how the building can be used, reducing overcrowding in places that need to be relieved of congestion and utilizing spaces that are underused.

Miller pointed out that while the library is a valuable resource, the implementation of wireless technology among students in all grades has revolutionized what the definition of what a "media center" is, and that the new cafeteria-multipurpose room was built to add gymnasium space but is being used more throughout the day as a cafeteria since the district has incorporated breakfast hour into the daily schedule.

He presented a proposed plan for each floor, elaborating on the potential for flexible use of classrooms as a result of the portability of technological teaching tools. Further examination of the plans will take place as the board and administration determine what is necessary.

Miller pointed out that "you could do just about anything here without moving or building any walls ... it's about getting the right furniture."

Kingsland Tech Coordinator Miranda Emig and several elementary students shared how their iPads are part of the educational revolution.

Emig stated, "I asked teachers what they were doing in their classrooms with the iPads. The iPads are the Swiss Army knives of tech - the teachers are putting students to work using them to take videos and pictures, notes and blogs, record and make projects and to give feedback on things.

"They're also using applications to test students, give quizzes and interactive exercises. Everyone is using them to enhance learning ... if students have questions, they look it up using the Internet. Teachers say that the iPads let students take their research further."

Teacher Christy Noble directed her students in showing board members how the application "Stack the States" teaches social studies - students learn to recognize states' shapes, place them correctly on the map and learn the capitals. She added that over one weekend, the students were assigned to create a small book, and she was "impressed with what they were able to do" with the photos and recordings they took.

Furthermore, with the use of the district's new Air Server software, teachers aren't tethered to their computers at their desks to post lesson work on the SMART board, allowing them to walk around the room and even pass their own iPads to students to enhance the students' learning experience.

Kingsland Activities Director Tom Speltz reported on an interest survey taken of students in grades seven through 12th, observing that gender equality requirements have been met and that students who answered the survey expressed interest in activities that can easily be offered, such as dance team, and others, like swimming, that would press the district to consider seeking cooperative opportunities with other districts, as Kingsland has done with Grand Meadow and LeRoy-Ostrander in the formation of the wrestling team.

No concrete plans have been made to expand sports offerings, but the survey proved useful in mapping students' interests and prospective interests.

Dealing with personnel, the board accepted the resignations of high school paraprofessional Sue Foster, assistant track coach Mollie McMahon and head volleyball coach Lisa Kimball. Hires included high school secretary Jill Ramaker as elementary secretary, Morgan Rohr as attendance clerk, Brandon Papenfuss as a long-term substitute for Emily Biske, and Brad Reiter as head baseball coach.

The board signed a resolution allowing for reductions in programming and staff, a measure taken each year to assist in the district's financial management. Kingsland's School Management Services-contracted business manager, Todd Netzke, gave the monthly business report, and the board signed a bank signature transfer that establishes Netzke as the person in charge of signing checks for the district.

Lastly, the board voted to change the district's attorney from its longtime firm of Ratwick and Maloney to Kevin Rupp, who had served the district as part of Ratwick and Maloney but has now established his own law practice.

A snow make-up day has been set for May 10 to compensate for Dec. 20, when there was no school due to weather.

The next meeting of the Kingsland School Board of Directors is set for Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 6:30 p.m. in the Kingsland High School conference room.