Story by Christina Hedding
The Florida Union Free School District held their monthly business meeting on Thurs., Feb. 16. The meeting began with a presentation from Golden Hill Elementary School Principal Deborah Lisack.
Superintendent Jan Jehring invited Lisack to share some of the unique ways the students at Golden Hill have been learning this year. Lisack began by listing the “Four C’s of 21st Century Skills,” which all of the Golden Hill teachers incorporate into their lessons. They are critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity. These are the principles that are being incorporated into lessons at Golden Hill in unique ways.
Lisack then asked for the student presenters to stand up and speak about the different activities they had been doing this year. Students Tahnia Marie Rucker and Faith Sauka spoke about their teacher’s use of games like “Math Breakout” to make learning fun. The students spoke about how the games made learning math more fun. The games also encourage students to use the “Four C’s” to solve problems and work together.
Next, Lisack invited Elizabeth Scheuermann and Taylor Vogt to speak about and show their projects from a “reader’s maker’s space” they participated in during their ELA class. The students spoke about the maker’s space they participated in, where they were given an ELA vocabulary word or literary concept and only tape, paper, and pipe cleaners to create something that illustrated the term. Each student presented her project to the audience. Both girls agreed that the maker’s space was both a lot of fun and educational. Lisack commended the students and spoke about how impressed she was with the things students have created in the maker’s space activities.
The last student presentation was given by Milo Janata and Steven Viray, who spoke to the audience about how their teachers incorporated Skype video chatting into their classrooms. Milo explained how the class Skyped with another class from a different state and how each class had to use questions and problem solving skills to figure out where the other class was from. The students said that one class Skyped with a class from California and the other class Skyped with a class from Wisconsin. This activity once again used the “Four C’s” to encourage the students to work together to find out what state each class was from. The “Four C’s,” according to Lisack, help the students develop skills they will take with them into high school and the real world.
Another way the students at Golden Hill used Skype in the classroom was to participate in their first World Read Aloud Day (WRAD). On Wed., Feb. 15 and Thurs., Feb. 16, classrooms throughout Golden Hill had an author Skype the class and read a book aloud to the students. According to Lisack it was a big hit and everyone, students and teachers, loved the fantastic experience.
These are just a few of the examples that Lisack talked about during the Board of Education meeting. Golden Hill and the Florida UFSD are constantly finding new ways to encourage a love of learning in students. They are developing new programs and activities to help all students get the best education possible.
Veterans Exemption Policy Update
After a discussion at their work session, the Board decided to approve the Cold War Veteran’s tax exemption. Superintendent Jan Jehring said the Board looked over the policy that was already in place for Veterans tax exemptions and decided that they could adopt the Cold War Veterans policy within the original policy. Veterans will only be able to qualify for one exemption. However, both exemptions are for the same amount.
Jehring then gave an update on the school budget vote. She informed the Board members that this year the District would switch to optical scanning machines for the vote instead of the paper ballots they used the previous year. There was much debate last year over which system was most accurate and what each would cost. This year, the Board adopted a motion to try the optical scanners. Jehring added that Florida is one of the last Districts in the area to make the switch.
In regards to the 2017-18 school budget, Jehring announced that the Board would need one more strong work session before figuring out the numbers for the proposed budget. She also said that the State aide they were projected to receive was less than they had figured. However, School Board member John Redman spoke and said that the State legislature has just started to meet and their decisions might add more to the District’s potential aide.
Jehring continued the discussion of the budget by saying that once the budget was set, the District would discuss further plans to roll out additional educational technology in schools. This plan would build upon the technology already in place at both schools. School Board member John Campana spoke supporting Jehring by stating that this tech initiative has been in the works for a while as technology is not going away and the school needs to stay on top of it to stay competitive.
Update on Eagle Scout Project
School Board member Tim Beattie asked S.S. Seward Principal Michael Rheaume about the status of Vincent Palacino’s Eagle Scout project. Rheaume said that Palacino, who presented a proposal to the Board for his Eagle Scout project in October, had received approval for his project and was going forward with it. Rheaume also said that the LED sign that was being donated by Lewis Signs was bigger and better than Palacino had expected. So, the school is very excited about the project being competed as the weather warms up and the sign can be installed in front of the high school.
The next meeting of the Florida UFSD meeting will be held on Thurs., Mar. 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the S.S. Seward Memorial Building, located at 51 N. Main St. in Florida.