Raymore-Peculiar school board recognizes students, approves technology pilot

Special to the Democrat MissourianNovember 29, 2013 

The Raymore-Peculiar Board of Education kicked off its Nov. 21 meeting with several recognition awards, honoring students, coaches, employees and community partners.

The board thanked Sarah Barnaby, financial center manager of Country Club Bank in Raymore, for the Coats for Kids program, which has been in place for nine years. Superintendent Kari Monsees expressed gratitude to the bank for providing 100 coats to Ray-Pec students this year.

“What a great thing this is for our families who need it the most,” he said.

School Board Member Kyle Gillespie congratulated Justin Howard with a certificate on earning First Team All-State honors for his performance at the 2013 State Class 4 Cross Country meet. Howard was also selected First Team All-Metro and First Team All-District.

Continuing on with the cross country theme, cross country boys’ coach Jamin Swift was recognized by the board for recently being named Kansas City Metro Cross Country Coach of the Year.

“When I signed on 11 years ago with this district, I had this feeling that Ray-Pec was the place to be,” he said. “And I was right. The growth we have had athletically and academically here has been amazing. We are blessed with fine young students. They make us look better than we are sometimes. Ray-Pec is a great place to be.”

Next, the board honored Ray-Pec employee Anthony Perkins on being named the Outstanding School Age Community Youth Worker for 2013 by the Missouri School-Age Community Coalition. Anthony is the Panther Pride School Age Child Care Coordinator at Shull Elementary School. This award is given to someone who works directly with children and who is positive, innovative and enthusiastic.

Following the recognitions, the board made its way through several action items, including approving the 2012-13 audit, as presented by Brad Steele, auditor and CPA with Westbrook & Co., P.C. It also voted to approve transportation of 128 students who live less than one mile from their respective school due to their designation as a hazardous zone.

Assistant Superintendent Jay Harris asked the board to approve a bid from Troxell Communications for 100 Samsung Chromebooks with management consoles as part of a proposed Bring Your Own Device pilot, slotted to begin in January 2014. As part of the district’s plan to integrate technology into the teaching and learning process, Harris explained that the Digital Transformation Executive Team developed this pilot, which would occur in one classroom at each building in the district. BYOD allows students to bring their personal laptops, tablets and smartphones from home and use them for educational applications in the classroom. Purchased Chromebooks would be distributed within these classrooms as supplemental machines to provide devices for students as needed.

“We know and believe that students learn best when they are engaged in significant and meaningful experiences,” said Harris. “Our focus is on learning. The device is the tool, and the technology is the vehicle. We are not just purchasing devices and handing them out. We are coming up with professional development and strategies to use the technology to engage students at a higher level. This pilot will help us see what that looks like.”

The board voted to approve the Troxell bid for $26,900.

Presented to the board by Monsees, the group approved a participation agreement with BuyBoard, a national purchasing cooperative for public entities through NSBA and MSBA. This service provides access to a variety of pre-bid items commonly used in school districts. According to Monsees, participation in this program will provide opportunities for staff time savings and financial savings for the district.

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