Friday, May. 18, 2012
BSD hears robotics presentation
By Ellen Parson
In addition to discussing business items, updates from the superintendent and tackling personnel issues, Belton Board of Education members quickly became captivated as a robot named Lucy took the floor May 10 when it was time for a presentation from Belton’s Technology Student Association.
The star of show, Lucy (otherwise referred to by the students as “7232,” or R2D2), showed off several of her tricks, enabling students to demonstrate their scientific innovation and technological handiwork before the audience. These skills, which were mastered over the course of the previous year, helped the group qualify at the state competition in three events (technology essays, webmaster, and robotics) for the upcoming nationals, which will be held June 21-25 in Nashville.
After a brief program introduction and summary of the team’s state competition performance by TSA President Wendy Gomez, Rachael Putman, reporter for the TSA chapter, gave the group a sneak peak of what’s to come at nationals.
“Attending this competition will give us unique opportunities,” said Putman, expressing the group’s appreciation for this unique opportunity to display its skills on a national stage. “It will both build our team abilities and our abilities to be leaders in our community.”
Vowing to do their best and bring pride to the Belton school district and community, Putman emphasized the group’s desire to win in every category. However, even more important than winning, noted Putman, is the unique opportunity to learn more about engineering, how to compete on such a high level, and the challenge of representing the school and community as model students and citizens.
Congratulating the group on its accomplishments, BOE President John West expressed praise for the group’s performance thus far as well as future goals.
“No matter what happens in Nashville, just remember that you’ve all made the community very proud,” he said. “This is a great thing. You are all pioneers – trailblazers. We’re all looking forward to seeing you accomplish great things in the future.”
Following the robotics presentation, the board approved several motions, including declaration of the district’s old Toshiba tablet laptops as surplus property and continuance of its 100 percent board paid medical and dental insurance program for all eligible employees, which will equal $517.62 per employee per month next year.
In other new business, board members voted to approve the resignation/retirement of three certified personnel as well as job descriptions for two new positions recommended for next year – a technology integration specialist and a part-time communications office paraprofessional. In other personnel news, Tanya Shippy, assistant superintendent of human resources, recommended that the board increase the daily pay rate for substitute teachers from $85 to $90, starting with the 2012-13 school year, as well as reduce the compensation slightly for long-term subs (someone who works at least 16 days in a row for the same teacher). The board approved this proposed increase, which, according to Shippy, is based on the results of survey data of other districts and is designed to get Belton in line with other districts in the area.