Slater schools consider hiring computer analyst
Members of the Slater Board of Education took time during their regular monthly meeting Tuesday evening to consider options available to them concerning the district computer system.
The district has been using a new computer management program that helps figure grades and attendance and keeps track of other important records. But because the program is new to teachers and staff members there have been some problems using it.
High School Principal Paul Crews reported that progress reports will be coming out soon after mid-term, but this quarter they will be sent home with students rather than being sent to parents through a mass mailing. However, he added that if the grading program is not working correctly, printing out the reports could be a little more difficult than expected.
"We're working out some of the bugs in it," he said. "We've had some glitches, but we'll hopefully be getting them worked out so teachers can access the grades. Some of it is the program itself, some of it is the system."
Although teachers have been trained to use the new program, Crews suggested having another workshop or in-service time as a refresher course because the system is so new to the school. He also stated that during the first training session several system and program problems had come about and taken up much of the time, leaving teachers with less knowledge about things than intended.
Superintendent Paul Vaillancourt said there have been some problems with wiring, the software itself and with people pressing the wrong buttons. Some of the kinks have been worked out of the system with the help of technical assistants Tom Dougherty and Jim Audsley, but the two also have numerous other responsibilities teaching classes at the school.
After discussing the various problems with the system, such as experiencing frequent "user-errors" and network problems, Board member Joey Gochenour brought up the idea of the district hiring someone to be a "computer guru" to help with problems as they occur.
"We could use a computer analyst for the future," he said. "Maybe that individual could teach computer classes, too, and then that way we'd free up the others to do what they need to do, because all we're going to do in the future is keep adding more computers."
Agreeing that hiring such a person would be a wise investment, Vaillancourt suggested looking toward Linn State Technical College for a prospect for such a computer analyst/teacher position.
With the idea under serious consideration, Vaillancourt moved on to report it may be possible for the district to receive a federal grant of up to $20,000. He suggested that if grant money comes through it should be used to update the computer system and also purchase computers to be used in the district's preschool program.
Some funding from the Technology Aquisition Grant will be cut this year, so receiving federal grant money would help the school make up for some of that loss, Vaillancourt said.
No decision was made concerning hiring a computer teacher/analyst, but the board will continue to research the idea and further discuss it at a later date.
The next board meeting will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22, to ensure enough time has passed for financial reports and budgetary issues to be completed.