New London schools add new technology for 2018-19 year

NEW LONDON ? New technology was the priority of the New London School Board as they gear up for their first day of school on Thursday.

The New London School Board met in regular session on Monday, Aug. 20, and discussed their new updates from the outside in.

Outside of the school is a brand-new electric sign marking the building. Under the sign, a digital banner displays calendar events and school news.

The new phone system, approved at the May meeting, is in the process of being installed. Technology Director Jon Munford suggested the board approve a bid from ITP for their Avaya system for $31,540.97. The district is waiting on Mediacom to finish installation, which will not be completed by the time school begins. ?We?re going to have some difficulties going into the first day of school because we?ll have to use our old phones,? he said. ?It?s going to be hectic, but we?re going to get through it.?

At the June meeting, the board heard from art teacher Joe White, who proposed turning the yearbook class into a photography class. The change stemmed from a concern that students were spending too much class time on laying out the design of the yearbooks instead of learning about photography. Yearbook sales have gone down every year for the past several years. White was not present at last night?s meeting but the concern remained. School board member Jesse Howard brought up concern over losing the school?s history by not producing a yearbook.

The board discussed making the photos digital for parents to purchase and create their own yearbooks with photos they choose from their child?s school year. Pictures will still be taken, but the focus of the new class will be more on Photoshop and inDesign, programs students can use if they choose careers in graphic design or similar majors. The council was still torn on whether or not to drop the yearbook as a whole.

?I just hate to see us lose something,? Howard said. ?It?s not like we have a very solid plan.?

Superintendent Chad Wahls decided to reach out to Jostens, the company who currently sells their yearbooks, to compare prices. The board reported they still have over 20 yearbooks from last year that did not sell. The board decided to table the conversation until the next meeting.

In other news, activity director Mike McBeth is ready for his first year with the Tigers. He reported a successful end of the sports season and is looking for ways to improve for next year.

McBeth suggested the school look into a gambling permit to hold raffles at their sporting events. He said the money was needed because so many of the students have gone to state and it?s a costly experience.

?I?m just looking for ways to make more money and bring more people into the gyms and fields,? he said. The board agreed with the idea and will look into it.

Elementary principal Todd Palmatier and secondary principal Scott Kracht are also looking forward to the new year. The principals met with their professional learning community (PLC) to discuss their wildly important goal (WIG) for the new year. The goal is to improve relationships with staff who will in turn improve relationships with students, which will hopefully improve attendance.

There will be accountability sessions once a week to make sure PLC leaders are following through. ?We?re excited and our PLC leaders are excited to get started with this,? Palmatier said.

The next meeting of the New London School Board will be Monday, Sept. 17, at 7 p.m. in the boardroom.