School Board votes to give elementary schools new laptops

aheymann@vagazette.com

The Williamsburg-James City County School Board approved the purchase of new laptops for elementary school students and parts of the 2018-2023 Strategic Plan at its Tuesday work session.

The board approved the purchase of 2,105 new laptops for elementary student use at the cost of $749,928, which includes extended Lenovo warranty and services. These funds were allocated in the 2019 technology budget, but the School Board is required to approve any purchase more than $100,000.

Board chair Kyra Cook, Williamsburg, said the laptops would be for in-school use and not part of the one-to-one program.

The board also approved of the themes and goals in the 2018-2023 Strategic Plan:

  • Transform teaching and learning to prepare student success in post-secondary education and careers.
  • Foster a learning environment that respects the diversity of students and provides targeted, equitable opportunities for success.
  • Cultivate a culture of open and effective communication to inform and engage all stakeholders.
  • Ensure a fully integrated approach to safety and security that encompasses both the physical environment and the social/emotional needs of students.
  • Recruit high-quality staff and retain the division’s exemplary workforce by creating an environment where transparency and trust are the norm.
  • Optimize division effectiveness and efficiency by establishing and strengthening processes and systems

The first goal was amended at the work session. James Beers, Roberts, thought the wording should be changed from “ensure student success” to “prepare.” He said this was because a teacher cannot guarantee a student will be successful, but they can make sure they do their best to prepare them.

W-JCC is in the midst of rewriting its strategic plan and having the board approve the goals — developed in collaboration with Valbrun Consulting Group — keeps the strategic planning process moving forward.

“It is time sensitive in that it allows the superintendent and her team to launch the new school year with these goals,” said Cook.

The board voted for Cook as the Virginia School Board Association voting delegate and Lisa Ownby, Powhatan, as the alternate delegate at the 2018 VSBA Delegate Assembly and Regional Meeting of the VSBA Annual Convention.

Beers had a few thoughts on the nomination. He said since the School Board is a shared authority, it is important they share leadership responsibilities, meaning Beers thought board members besides the chair and vice chair should also be nominated to take on these kinds of responsibilities. Beers also mentioned the chair and vice chair are always standing for photos during board meetings when students and teachers are recognized for achievements. He thought all board members should take turns doing this.

In the end, Cook and Ownby were chosen as the VSBA voting delegate and alternate delegate unanimously.

Want to attend the next one?

The next work session will start at 6:30 p.m. on August 7, in room 300 of the Annex at the School Board and Central Office on 117 Ironbound Road.

Heymann can be reached by phone at 757-298-5828 or on Twitter at @HeymannAmelia.

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