Stratford board reviews school safety plans

STRATFORD – Even small public schools like Stratford Elementary were influenced by the Connecticut school shooting last month.

At Wednesday evening’s school board meeting in Stratford Superintendent Sarah Binder outlined for the board a safety plan for the school.

The plan stresses low-key simplicity, Binder said. Some aspects are already in place, such as a phone intercom system for all classrooms in the building. Visitors will be asked to sign in at the office, and there will be a lanyard system put into place for staff and visitors. Classroom doors will be locked. Binder said she plans to visit with the DARE officer regarding additional safety issues for the school.

In an issue related to school safety, the board discussed replacing the school telephone system and telephones. The system is more than 15 years old and includes 29 phones. The cost for a new system will be approximately $10,000. According to Binder, the school safety plan is dependent on a complete communication system.

Also reviewed were priorities for a facelift for the 1955-era school gym that was built in 1955 – new paint, repairs to storage doors, replacing the lights, and replacing the stage backdrop. Binder had secured bids for the projects. The board’s consensus was that painting all four walls of the gym is a priority. The total cost to update the gym will be about $41,000, but no action was required at Wednesday’s meeting.

The board also looked over the proposed calendar for the 2013-14 school year. Although it is not finalized yet, the calendar will be similar to other years, with a Tuesday start date, a block of time for winter break, and another block for spring break.

In her report to the board, Binder said that the Iowa Assessment schedule is set for the first full week in February. “I’m looking forward to that and to getting the results back,” Binder commented. Webster City is on the same schedule.

The focus of professional growth and development in February will be a technology fair so staff can learn how to best use the new technology, I-Pads and mini I-pads. Next year’s professional growth and development will look at how to integrate technology with the Iowa Core, according to Binder.

Also on Wednesday, the board approved two students in for open enrollment through the virtual academy in the CAM district.