Board hears report on the state of schools

Board hears report on the state of schools by David Lias Dr. Robert Mayer, superintendent of the Vermillion School District, couldn't stay focused on one topic for very long at Monday's School Board.

He presented the board with a "state of the school" report, a virtual laundry list of all of the things that have been accomplished in the school district in the last year.

Mayer told the board that the Vermillion School District is now wired for the Internet, and in late February, workshops are planned to help inform personnel how to best use the World Wide Web.

"We are using technology modules at the middle school, and we are certainly pleased with how they are working," he added. Mayer said the school staff is keeping current on how to use computer technology through training at in-services.

"One of the problems some schools have had doesn't lie with not getting their technology up to date, but in getting their staff up to date," Mayer said.

Mayer and other school personnel also talked of the success of a reading recovery program aimed at Vermillion's first-graders who were having trouble learning to read.

Assistant Elementary Principal Mark Upward said that after 14 to 18 weeks, approximately 80 percent of the students enrolled in the program were reading at their grade level.

Elementary Principal Bob Bowker also described the benefits the district has received from a character education program that was implemented in the elementary schools last year.

"About two years ago, we were really getting concerned about the social behavior of the students," he said. "Since this program, our behavior at Austin and Jolley (schools) is the best we've seen in 10 years."

Mayer said the district was challenged with a large staff turnover. "But we've hired some excellent people at all levels."

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