Fairfield school district upgrades technology
Fairfield Community School District will update computers and technology next school year with mostly donated equipment and some new purchases, Mark Cremer, technology director told the school board Monday.
“The computers we’re replacing are not any in classrooms, but only equipment in computer labs and portable carts,” he said.
Project Lead the Way computer lab at the high school with 28 stations will receive refurbished donated machines, replacing computers that are 6-to-7 years old. Also at the high school, the special education computer cart with 10 computers will receive refurbished donated computers, as will Fairfield Middle School’s special education computer cart with six computers.
Cremer provided a schedule of all the district’s computers used by students in labs and on carts, showing the year of purchase or acquisition, the year of anticipated replacement and replacement costs.
Cremer has acquired free computers and technology equipment through two programs — Rockwell Educational Access to Computer Technology, a nonprofit organization in Hiawatha that receives used computers from Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids and other area businesses, and the Department of Defense at Rock Island Arsenal, Rock Island, Ill.
Engineers refurbish the equipment in the Rockwell program to donate to area schools and nonprofit community agencies that work specifically with children.
Equipment from both programs is at no cost; the only expense to the district is transporting equipment back to Fairfield.
“I surveyed use of computer carts and found some areas to consolidate carts,” said Cremer.
At Fairfield High School, a first-floor cart with 25 computers and a second-floor cart with 24 computers, both with 7-year-old machines, will be consolidated and replaced with one cart and newly purchased machines. Cremer did not have a cost estimate for this.
At the middle school, the library PC cart with 15 machines and second-floor cart holding 25 PC machines will be consolidated and replaced with newly purchased computers. The media center’s cart with 12 MacBooks will receive new machines at an estimated price of $32,500.
Summer facility work plans
Auxiliary Services Director Fred McElwee asked the school board to approve several items, which it did, including:
• An invitation for bid request for food procurement.
“We’ve used Kohl’s Wholesale in the past, and it’s time for a new bid,” said McElwee. “Fairfield is working with three other school districts, Van Buren, Cardinal and Davis County as a cooperative.”
Bids will be due by 2 p.m. July 2 in Fairfield’s district central office as McElwee is the food procurement cooperative representative. All four districts will review bids and choose a vendor to recommend to their respective school boards.
“Each district can approve one vendor to serve each district independently,” said McElwee.
• Two FMS classroom floor refinishes. In March, McElwee discussed replacing tile floors with polished concrete, which he said is a trend in school floors due to wear resistance and long-term maintenance costs. Bids were sent to four contractors, only one responded.
Royale Concrete quoted $8,311 to complete the work.
Asbestos is present in the adhesive used to adhere the vinyl tile in the two classrooms, and a separate company and quote is needed to abate the asbestos when removing the tile. Three vendors sent bids for asbestos abatement — Active Thermal Concepts, $4,312; Abatement Specialties, $7,425; and REW Services Corp., $10,855.
The board approved the lowest bid with Active Thermal Concepts.
“We’ll also be working with Ames Environmental for testing and monitoring asbestos abatement,” said McElwee.
• FMS gym floor refinish. Three bids were received to strip and refinish the gym floor this summer — Integrity Hardwood Floors Inc., $7,910; Stalker Sports Floor, $9,600; and Phillips’ Flooring Inc., $12,365.
“Integrity Hardwood Floors refinished the high school gym floor in 1994 with no concerns,” said McElwee. “They did quality work. This project is part of the district’s Infrastructure Plan and will be paid with S.A.V.E. funds.”
The school board approved the low bid from Integrity Hardwood Floors.
• Softball field renovations. Also part of the district’s Infrastructure Plan, the press box and dugout upgrades are scheduled for this summer after the softball season ends. District personnel will complete the dugouts, said McElwee. He recommended the softball press box be designed and patterned after the baseball press box.
School board members asked him to send bid requests to other companies as well.
• Request for bid for waste removal. McElwee recommended sending a request for proposal to Connelly Inc. and Waste Management outlining the district’s general waste removal requirements including calendar schedules, extra dumps and recycling requirements, and allow vendors to present a proposal rather than sending specific quote conditions. McElwee said it may be more cost-effective to send a request for proposal. The board approved.
• A fuel management system. McElwee said he’d like to replace the current antiquated system of bus drivers and others hand writing data on a tablet and re-entering the information into an office spreadsheet.
“Having a digital system will increase efficiency and reduce drastically the chance for data entry error,” he said. “The district mechanics and I have researched different systems and we feel this to be the most effective system to meet our needs.”
A digital system from Seneca Companies, the vendor the district uses for fuel pump maintenance, can provide a fuel management system at $11,518. Training for users is included in the price.
McElwee said the system will provide a more accurate fuel reading for each vehicle; it will enable the office to download data directly and directly populate already existing district data spreadsheets; it will assist in monitoring the large storage tanks, tracking amounts of fuel used; allows for tagging of vehicle mileage and flagging for vehicle service when predetermined mileage is reached, assisting mechanics to schedule vehicle maintenance; and provides for enhanced security.
‘Specials’ teachers talk about professional development
Five teachers presented an overview to the board Monday about curriculum and professional development they experience working in the elementary buildings.
“We’ve hit our stride with Wednesdays’ professional development,” said district curriculum director Marci Dunlap introducing the teachers. “And I selected these teachers because I am a firm believer in the fine arts and physical education. These subjects impact student learning. I wanted the board to hear about their collaborations on action plans.”
Two art teachers, Deb Finney, who instructs grades K-4 at Pence and Libertyville elementary schools and Alicia Carradus who teachers K-4 at Washington Elementary School, said working together on professional development Wednesday mornings is helpful.
“We wrote our action plans for students to be able to create art that’s important to them,” said Finney.
“We want students to be able to describe their own art and the creative process, as well as describe the art elements.”
Carradus said another goal was to have students communicate these ideas to people outside their families.
“They had that opportunity at the spring art show,” she said.
“I collaborated with the fourth-grade teachers in writing, and students also wrote descriptions about their art. Third-grade students made a video giving their own reflections about their art,” said Carradus.
The two art teachers also are working to coordinate their curriculum with one another and spiraling the curriculum to middle school and high school, so each student is able to experience similar art lessons and build on those through progression in grade levels.
“We’re also working to develop an assessment tool,” said Finney.
Elementary PE teacher Taylor Hjerleid, said she and elementary PE teacher Brian Dunlap have collaborated to focus on cardio-vascular endurance.
“We use music as a motivation to run,” she said.
Connie Keller, vocal music teacher at Pence Elementary School and assistant vocal music teacher at Fairfield High School, and Ann Hektoen, elementary Talented and Gifted instructor, also presented information.
“Thank you for bringing ‘specials’ teachers into the process,” said board member Jeri Kunkle, a retired Fairfield vocal music teacher.
Specials are those classes not considered core academic subjects.