The Monroe County Community School Corporation Board discussed the MCCSC’s new mobile classroom for STEAM learning, the district’s new COVID-19 reporting system. The board also passed a resolution opposing Indiana House Bill 1005.
Markay Winston, MCCSC assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, and Debra Prenkert, MCCSC director of elementary education, presented information on STEM to THEM mobile classroom at the meeting Tuesday.
The STEM to THEM mobile lab, an RV providing resources for students, was unveiled Monday at a ribbon cutting ceremony. While the name of the program uses the acronym STEM, the bus will provide resources for students to learn about subjects in STEAM - science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.
Starting Thursday, the bus will travel to elementary schools so that students can see the outside of the bus since instruction in the bus is not allowed under COVID-19 guidelines, Prenkert said. She said the bus will hopefully start making its programmed routes next school year.
The mobile classroom will travel to every MCCSC elementary school twice an academic year, which will allow for equal access to the technology found on the bus. The technology includes a 3D printer and robots, such as Bee-Bots and Dash Robot, which teach kids early programming and coding skills.
“Part of the vision was that every student, no matter which school, no matter which zip code, they would have access and opportunity to have really high-quality STEAM-related learning experiences,” she said.
At the meeting, Andrea Mobley, assistant superintendent of human resources and operations, said the MCCSC metrics committee changed the way it reports COVID-19 cases after considering community input. Instead of listing whether the student was participating in-person or online learning, the chart now indicates if the person who exhibited symptoms was in-building, not in a school building or participating in extracurriculars 48-hours prior to the onset of symptoms.
The changes were first applied to the data Feb. 7, but previously-recorded cases were not changed, MCCSC Board member April Hennessey said during an interview. Some Monroe County citizens, including herself, found the previous form of reporting information to be misleading, Hennessey said at the previous MCCSC Board meeting Jan. 26. The information had not been accurately labeled, she later said in an interview.
“It was inaccurate to say in-person or online and have those mirror learning modalities when in fact it just meant they were in the building or not in the building in the past 48 hours,” she said. “That is essentially what the dashboard says now.”
The board also passed a resolution opposing education savings accounts and voucher expansion, which are two main components of Indiana House Bill 1005. The bill, which passed the Indiana House of Representatives Feb. 16, would pull money from funds originally dedicated to traditional public schools.
“The Entities recognize that the costs of Education Savings Accounts and school vouchers are covered exclusively by our state’s school tuition support fund, further providing fewer public dollars to fund our public schools and increase teacher salaries,” the resolution says.
The board also forwarded five candidates for the District 5 MCCSC Board seat vacancy to the Monroe County Circuit Court judge in order to review and appoint someone to the position, which was formerly filled by Keith Klein, who died Jan. 25.
Hennessey said the board requests the judge appoint someone to the position prior to the next regular board meeting March 23 so they can be sworn in during the meeting.