REPRESENTING: School board members serve as delegates to state conference

COLUMBIA CITY — After recently attending the fall Indiana School Board Association state conference in Indianapolis, Whitley County Consolidated School Corporation board members Deborah Hiss, Jill Western, Stan Meyer and Don Armstrong said they were grateful to be delegates of the district and were enlightened to hear what other districts are working on in their schools.During the conference, each member attended different sessions.Board member Deborah Hiss said one of those sessions was in regards to how the district is currently measured as far as its grade value.“That was something that was a real eye opener,” said Hiss. “It was interesting to see how competitive the school system really has become and how we can have straight-A students who are doing an excellent job, and there could be the slightest bit of something else that we didn’t do as well in, and it could change our entire grade.”Hiss said she gives WCCS’ administrators and teachers credit as they continue to show why WCCS is an A-school district.The other session Hiss attended focused on the use of the iPad at school.“I would love to find a way for our school system to implement that,” said Hiss. “They teach these students at a really young age how to use technology. The kids are just starving for all these applications and things they can do.”While Hiss said most schools save money on paper, the technology still comes at an expense.“I just think it’s a really important step that would push our school ahead,” said Hiss.Western attended sessions on vouchers and referendums. “I think it’s really important for the board to stay in touch with things that are happening on the state level,” said Western.Meyer attended a session on 21st century learning, and was amazed by the product that comes out of techs.“There were three young girls there, and all said they were shy when they were eighth graders, and here they were up in front of adults and superintendents, school board members and how they presented themselves, and how the new tech program has brought them out of their shell,” said Meyer. “I think we’ve done alright. A lot of the things they presented we see right here. I’m really proud of what we’ve accomplished.”Meyer also attended a session on teacher evaluations.“I know they brought up in the session the difference between an effective and ineffective teacher, and how life changing it can be,” said Meyer. “They did a research were they had two groups. One group had effective teachers for three years and the other did not.”Meyer said there was about a 50 point difference between each group’s math scores.“The best way to help teachers is to give them instant feedback,” said Meyer. “It is important that the teachers learn the best practices.”Armstrong said the presentations he watched centered around harvesting the perfect score and 21st century learning skills.“Kids today are different and they learn different,” said Armstrong. “The thing we have to understand is we really cannot go back. If we do not change, and if we are not willing to change, we die.”