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School board tackles bus, math issues

 


School board tackles bus, math issues

Zach White

At the Havre Public School's Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday night, district employees approached the board on a number of issues, including transportation and the early results of an ongoing math curriculum overhaul.

Near the start of the meeting, Jim Donovan, the district's transportation director, asked for the board's authorization to begin the process of buying two new buses.

Donovan said that the schools are looking to add one transit-style, flat-front bus and one conventional style bus that rides higher and extends more in front of the bus.

According to Donovan, the transit-style works better in Havre, so drivers are better able to see in front of them and try and avoid the deep ruts in the streets. Generally they are too low for rural routes, he said. "Those rural routes are beating those to death. "

The conventional bus works better for the more rural routes.

Donovan said that the district would purchase the buses from the most affordable company.

The district uses mostly Bluebird buses, with one International and one Thomas-made bus.

Staying on the topic of transporting students, Havre High School Athletic Director Dennis Murphy asked the board to allow the honor choir to travel to Bellevue, Wash., to participate in this year's All-Northwest Honor Choir competition.

Murphy said that the trip would be funded by the members of the choir, so it wouldn't cost the district anything. They just need the board's approval for travel.

The district decided that the trip would be a fine idea.

Toward the end of the meeting, Lincoln-McKinley Primary School Principal Karla Geda and two of her teachers gave a presentation on the progress of the changes to the district's math teaching methods.

For months math teachers from across the district have been meeting with HPS Assistant Principal Tom Korst and an academic consultant named Steve Edwards to develop a system to assess student understanding, to develop critical thinking and to ease the transition between grades with a district-wide plan.

"We haven't changed curriculum, " Geda said. "We are using the same materials. But we are looking at how we teach. "

In the presentation, the teachers explained the use of "You Be George" assessments.

These involve a student taking a quiz that is "scored, not graded" by teachers, then given back to the student.

The student looks at their own work and reviews what they missed and why. They look at whether incorrect answers were the result of a simple mistake or a lack of understanding the concept.

And according to the teachers, the students love it. They appreciate the opportunity to see where they are academically, and where they can improve.

The assessments are also an opportunity for parents to see their student's ability.

Superintendent Andy Carlson said that he is impressed with the new system and the results the district has seen in trying it out already.

"Every single item to be brought before you has been built by the teachers, " Carlson said. "It is probably the best thing we'll put in front of students as long as I've been here. "

At the Havre Public School's Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday night, district employees approached the board on a number of issues, including transportation and the early results of an ongoing math curriculum overhaul.

Near the start of the meeting, Jim Donovan, the district's transportation director, asked for the board's authorization to begin the process of buying two new buses.

Donovan said that the schools are looking to add one transit-style, flat-front bus and one conventional style bus that rides higher and extends more in front of the bus.

According to Donovan, the transit-style works better in Havre, so drivers are better able to see in front of them and try and avoid the deep ruts in the streets. Generally they are too low for rural routes, he said. "Those rural routes are beating those to death. "

The conventional bus works better for the more rural routes.

Donovan said that the district would purchase the buses from the most affordable company.

The district uses mostly Bluebird buses, with one International and one Thomas-made bus.

Staying on the topic of transporting students, Havre High School Athletic Director Dennis Murphy asked the board to allow the honor choir to travel to Bellevue, Wash., to participate in this year's All-Northwest Honor Choir competition.

Murphy said that the trip would be funded by the members of the choir, so it wouldn't cost the district anything. They just need the board's approval for travel.

The district decided that the trip would be a fine idea.

Toward the end of the meeting, Lincoln-McKinley Primary School Principal Karla Geda and two of her teachers gave a presentation on the progress of the changes to the district's math teaching methods.

For months math teachers from across the district have been meeting with HPS Assistant Principal Tom Korst and an academic consultant named Steve Edwards to develop a system to assess student understanding, to develop critical thinking and to ease the transition between grades with a district-wide plan.

"We haven't changed curriculum, " Geda said. "We are using the same materials. But we are looking at how we teach. "

In the presentation, the teachers explained the use of "You Be George" assessments.

These involve a student taking a quiz that is "scored, not graded" by teachers, then given back to the student.

The student looks at their own work and reviews what they missed and why. They look at whether incorrect answers were the result of a simple mistake or a lack of understanding the concept.

And according to the teachers, the students love it. They appreciate the opportunity to see where they are academically, and where they can improve.

The assessments are also an opportunity for parents to see their student's ability.

Superintendent Andy Carlson said that he is impressed with the new system and the results the district has seen in trying it out already.

"Every single item to be brought before you has been built by the teachers, " Carlson said. "It is probably the best thing we'll put in front of students as long as I've been here. "

 

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