10-year plan outlines school projects, costs
The Fairfield school board approved the district 2012 Infrastructure Plan at the recommendation of Fred McElwee, director of auxiliary services.
The plan outlines district projects and related expenses for 10 years. It’s a working document with revisions made on an as-needed basis, he said.
“This is for planning purposes and also to apply for grants,” McElwee said. “We bring individual projects to the board for approval.”
A list of projects completed in the 2011-12 school year included: track replacement at the high school, new stadium restrooms, replacing tables in the high school commons, hard surface playground at Fairfield Middle School, baseball field press box renovation, Lincoln Center upgrades and more.
Total money spent on the 2011-12 projects was $2.4 million. The beginning balance for the fund was $6.09 million, and sales tax receipts added $1.4 million; donations, mostly from the Fairfield Rotary Club McElwee said, were $26,850; and other receipts that included rebates were $15,659.
The ending fund balance after the projects were completed was $5.3 million.
Projects delayed last year were an elevator project and plumbing valve replacement at the middle school; locker room lockers’ replacement and an energy management upgrade at the high school; Libertyville Elementary School roof replacement and clock and intercom systems replacement; Pence Elementary School intercom systems replacement; and a security fence at the district transportation building.
Fairfield High School is getting an energy management upgrade this year, costing $16,583 and the baseball fields are getting new dugouts, budgeted at $25,000.
School year 2013-14, or Year 2 of the 10-year plan, has a budget of $1.8 million right now.
“Some of our food service equipment throughout the district is quite old,” said McElwee. “Technology in the kitchen now provides ovens that take food from the freezer to the plate in 15 minutes. Food doesn’t have to sit on steam tables and vegetables retain more vibrant colors, making food more appealing. We’ll look at updating kitchen equipment next year.”
FHS principal Aaron Becker said he, along with superintendent Art Sathoff and technology director Mark Cremer, spent time at Cardinal schools recently learning about the district’s one-on-one tablet initiative. Each middle school and high school student at Cardinal received a Kuno 3 tablet in September, replacing MacBooks.
The tablets use an educational program, CurriculumLoft Cloud, which Becker liked.
“It was good to see how the program works using a cloud-based curriculum and how it helps students learn,” he said. “It’s something we might like to talk about more. It allows students to access the curriculum at home even without an Internet connection.”
January will see a transition for FHS teachers as scoring instruction with Authentic Intellectual Work begins. Teachers will be videotaped while teaching, said Becker.
And in another nod to technology, Becker and activities director Jeff Courtright have begun a Trojans Twitter account to send out updates on sports’ scores.
“Teachers received professional development about Twitter and how it can be used for education,” said Becker. “We’re looking at how we can share ideas.”
He said he has used Twitter the last couple of years to connect with other teachers, administrators, board members and many others in education.
Becker invited anyone to view how Twitter use has impacted his professional development by going online to http://aaronbecker32blogspot.com.
FMS principal Laura Atwood said one of her goals as an administrator is to find a connection to school for each student.
“We have 20 students not connected to any extra-curricular activities or clubs,” she said. “We might get them mentors or an adult in the school they can go to and talk with or get them interested in an activity.
“A science club will be starting at the middle school, and I’ve had inquiries about establishing a Fellowship of Christian Athletes,” said Atwood.
Board member Jeri Kunkle complimented Atwood on the etiquette program recently concluded at middle school.
“I sat at a table with eight students who had wonderful table conversations and manners,” said Kunkle. “And they all were dressed up and looking so nice.”
The “graduation” from the etiquette course was a luncheon held at Fairfield Arts & Convention Center where students were observed and graded on using what they had learned.
The new FHS Chef Club served the food, providing interaction among the middle school and high school students.
Pence Elementary School’s parent group, Pence Pals, funded iPads for each Pence teacher, said principal Chris Welch.
“Now every teacher has access to DIBELS Next, which provides efficient and immediate feedback,” he said.
Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills are a set of procedures and measures for assessing students’ grasp of early literacy skills, designed for kindergarten through sixth grade students. They are short — one minute — fluency measures used to regularly monitor the development of early literacy and early reading skills, according to DIBELS Next website. Indicators measure phonemic awareness, alphabet principle, accuracy and fluency with connected text, reading comprehension and vocabulary.
“Our teachers love using it,” said Welch. “It provides nearly instant feedback on individuals or groups of students and even gives teachers suggestions of what to do next.”
Washington Elementary School’s parent group purchased 13 iPads for the school, said principal Jeff Eeling. It also donated $400 to the Fairfield Police Department Canine Fund to purchase a replacement dog for the one retiring.
“Our preschool teachers met with a consultant for the Area Education Agency and we discovered the furniture in the classrooms is too big,” said Eeling. “We have 12-inch chairs, which sound small, but 3-year-olds’ feet don’t touch the floor. We need 8-inch chairs and lower tables.”