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INDIANA: IDEAL learning program to be offered by junior high

by on January 17, 2014 10:55 AM

More students in the Indiana Area School District will be able to tap current technology to take classes when the 2014-15 school year opens.

District officials reported Monday that the IDEAL distance-learning program will be offered to students at Indiana Area Junior High School.

IDEAL, the Indiana Digital Education Academy for Learning, offers online classes for students in the senior high school and at home.

While operating only in the senior high, the program has been under a teacher’s supervision.

But with the planned retirement resignation of IDEAL coordinator Sandra Monsilovich and the extension of IDEAL to students in sixth through eighth grades, the school board on Monday agreed to several related personnel moves.

Directors voted to eliminate the IDEAL facilitator position at the end of the 2013-14 school year, and to create the coordinator of instructional technology and advertise the new position.

“This position will focus on K to 12 instructional technologies, and it will include oversight of IDEAL, which is currently just at the high school,” said Superintendent Dale Kirsch. “Our intention is to expand it to the middle school for next year. And because IDEAL will go beyond one school building, we want a dedicated administrator in charge of IDEAL for grades six through 12.

“Elementary will be discussed at a future time, but we also want to focus on trying to enhance all the district’s technology.”

In other business Monday, the Indiana board:

• Agreed to designate a temporary elementary principal position as a permanent post. The principal position at Horace Mann Elementary School, held this year by Jen Helm, was designated temporary while the possible closing of an elementary school was under consideration by the board.

• Appointed Dr. Christina Lubold as the district physician, effective Jan. 1, at a rate of $500 a month plus $5 per mandated exam, following the retirement of Dr. Shafic Twal.

• Directed the Outreach Committee to meet with Indiana University of Pennsylvania communications media professor Gail Wilson and her students to develop communication plans for the district.

• Approved credit limits of $2,000 for two additional credit cards for use by the junior high and senior high student activity accounts. The cards are available for district staff to shop locally and online for purchases that offer discounts, rebates or other rewards but which require credit cards.

• Accepted the resignation of confidential secretary Barbara Andresky, of the transportation and buildings and grounds office, effective Dec. 17.

• Approved recommended changes in staffing and job titles in the administration offices: deleting a confidential secretary for personnel, changing the public relations and grant writer to human resources manager for public relations — to be filled with existing personnel — and creating an additional computer technician position, which will be advertised.

• Agreed to form an ad hoc Comprehensive Plan Committee to revise and complete the district’s comprehensive plan. The deadline for the update is November.

Board President Tom Harley said district residents would be welcome to serve on the committee. Those interested should contact Anise Markle in the district office.

• Granted an extension of leave from Oct. 14, 2013, to Feb. 28 for senior high special-education teacher Kristy Manning.

• Approved a leave of absence for junior high social studies teacher Kristine Bunyak for the second semester of the school year.

• Approved extra-duty, extra-pay assignments of Timothy Hrutkay, as senior high assistant track coach, and of Patrick Kuta, as senior high assistant baseball coach, both at salaries of $2,500.

• Approved Sharon O’Keiff as a deputy tax collector for White Township at the request of tax collector Jeffrey Mack.

• Reconsidered proposals to change the high school graduation requirements, which had been tabled on Nov. 12.

Proposals to raise the graduation requirement from 24 to 25 credits, or to maintain 24 credits but to redistribute the requirements among various disciplines, both failed when the motions were not seconded.

Chauncey Ross is the Gazette’s fixture at Indiana Area and Homer-Center school board meetings, has been seen with pen and notepad in area police stations and courts, and is something of an Open Records Act and Sunshine Law advocate. He also manages the Gazette’s websites and answers your questions about them.
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