District iPad rollout dates set

The rollout of iPads at Webster City schools for the district’s Digital Learning Initiative will begin later this month.

During Monday’s meeting of the Webster City Community School District Board of Directors, Superintendent Mike Sherwood announced that Pleasant View and Sunset Heights Elementary Schools will see the rollout over the week of Oct. 20. Webster City Middle School’s rollout will begin the week of Oct. 27. The rollout at Webster City High School will start the week of Nov. 3.

Letters to parents of district students have been sent out, according to Sherwood, which contain information about the rollout, fees and setting up Apple ID accounts. Meeting dates where parents will receive more information about the iPads and where students will obtain the devices are set to begin on Sunday. Meetings are scheduled for each school, and Sherwood said that parents should attend the meetings for every school they have a child enrolled in. That is because Sherwood said the policies for the devices will vary for each school.

“We certainly would have a different expectation of a first grader than of an eleventh grader or an eighth grader,” Sherwood said. “We really wanted parents to understand those expectations and policies for different buildings.”

Make-up sessions are also planned for those who are not able to attend the set meeting dates.

The district is putting the final touches on the iPad devices themselves. Sherwood said they are still engraving the devices, upgrading systems, and more. He said the goal was to have the rollout completed by Thanksgiving, and Sherwood thanked all the faculty and staff of the district who helped get this Digital Learning Initiative prepared.

“We’re excited about the rollout,” Sherwood said. “I think students are excited. I’ve heard a lot of positive comments from the community and staff. I think everybody will take a step back and be excited once they’re out.”

In other business, the board saw no changes from the results of the school board election earlier this year. Both Pam Hayes and Michelle Zahn were reelected for terms of four years. The board chose to reelect Hayes as Board President and reelect Dan Ryherd as Board Vice President. All were administered the oath of office.

Prior to the meeting, board members gathered at several schools to review renovations that began this summer. The tour showcased the safe surface areas installed at elementary schools, cabinet, boiler room and ceiling updates, among others.

At Pleasant View Elementary, Principal Mindy Mossman showcased a painting that was done by Teri Cornett in the parking lot near the playground. The painting, an aerial view of a town called “Pleasant Ville,” gives students an imaginary town to drive toy cars, trucks and more around. Cornett added many details and effects to the painting, which was originally drawn up from Pleasant View Art Teacher Ben Hobert. Cornett is the grandmother of three students that have attended the school.

“The kids really love it,” Mossman said. “It’s a nice little outside addition and we already have the toys for them to use with it.”

The board also approved an allowable growth request to be filed for the district’s special education deficit. The request in the amount of $518,223 will be filed with the School Budget Review Committee. Sherwood said, once the budget is done in April, the board will decide if they want to tax for that.

“You just don’t want to give up the allowable growth,” Sherwood said. “That’s really the lifeblood of schools. You’re not really gaining allowable growth, you’re just replacing what you spent.”

Sherwood said he is reviewing why the special education costs have increased from the previous year. He said he only recalls one year in his 10 years with the district where the special education fund had a surplus.

The next board meeting is scheduled for Oct. 28 at 6 p.m. in the School Administration Office Board Room.