MIFFLINTOWN - A new student management software program was approved by the Juniata County School District Board of Directors Thursday at its regular meeting.
The board approved improvement plans for the district, including the addition of Sapphire Suite Software. The new student management program will replace the outdated Tenex system and provide teachers with daily attendance, discipline and grade records. The system also provides a lesson planner, report card printer and nursing component, Juniata County School District Superintendent Richard Musselman said.
In the past, Musselman estimated, the district lost $70,000 to $100,000 in funding through system errors in reporting attendance records to the state. The new software will help the district run more efficiently and automatically update when the state changes reporting procedures, he said.
"It is critical that we report (attendance) accurately," Musselman said, adding that Sapphire is the tool to improve that.
The board also heard a presentation from the Juniata County Virtual Academy.
Representatives from the cyber school said 20 JCSD teachers underwent their first training on Aug. 31 and now serve a total of 37 students and offer 72 classes.
By offering a quality online education within the district, representatives said students seeking a non-traditional education have the opportunity to remain within JCSD. Online classes also offer flexibility in scheduling and blended learning.
In addition to educational benefits, representatives said more taxpayer dollars stay in the district. According to an estimate by the academy, the district loses $8,000 to $15,000 per student when a child leaves the district. Bringing those students back saved the district approximately $88,000 in the first three weeks of class, representatives explained.
"I can't begin to echo how important it is that our teachers teach our kids," Musselman said.
In other business, the board:
Approved improvement plans for Fermanagh-Mifflintown Elementary School and Juniata High School.
Approved the submission of application to the Career and Technical Education Equipment Grants. The purpose of the grant is to allow vocational programs to update equipment using matching funds from the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
Approved the donation of "How Did That Get in My Lunchbox? The Story of Food," from the Juniata County Farm Bureau to the district's eight elementary schools, through the FARM-tastic Book Program.
Approved financial reports for August 2012.
Approved list of bills for payment.
Approved an amendment to the transportation contract stating that contractors get paid twice per month rather than once per month.
Approved an agreement with the Juniata Valley Tri-County Drug and Alcohol Abuse Commission for the delivery of services regarding the drug and alcohol component of the Student Assistance Program.
Approved a contract with Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf to provide services for a JCSD student for the 2012-2013 school year at a cost of $39,142.
Approved agreements with school dentists Dr. William Crim, Dr. Wade Guisbert and Dr. Max Manbeck to provide examinations in the schools during the 2012-2013 school year.
Approved the employment of Mindy L. Fryer as an East Juniata High School learning support teacher.
Approved the reinstatement of furloughed employee Julie A. Gilson as a Level III paraprofessional.
Approved Emily M. Straight as a substitute teacher to serve as the district's online French instruction monitor.
Approved Trisha R. Haubert as a Walker Elementary School LPN/paraprofessional.