• Leader & Times
Projects to help prepare for the 2018-19 school year are still underway for the USD 480 administrative staff and many more were approved and discussed by the USD 480 school board during its most recent meeting Monday evening.
One of the major approvals for the evening came as the board approved the implementation of the Canvas cloud-based Learning Management System.
“This was something we observed when we visited the schools in Wisconsin and it was something a lot of people were insisting we needed to have in Liberal,” Liberal High School Principal Ashley Kappelmann said. “And we looked at other systems too but this one particularly stood out to us. What this would allow us to do is set up classes and include the documents and other resources students may need for certain assignments or projects. It also would allow us to upload videos from classes to where recordings of lessons could be done online and even our traveling LHS students could log in on the bus. We can also create class classes for, say, the freshmen or the seniors, or we could also create classes based on the individual teachers. It’s very similar to BlackBoard but much less expensive.”
Kappelmann added parents would also be able to use this and USD 480 Technology Director Rusty Tuman talked about some more of the benefits from Canvas.
“This also has some non-academic benefits too, like we could create training mods, which are the same thing as a classroom,” Tuman said. “But if I need to ... if there’s a digital citizenship class and there’s a training video or some quizzes to do before they’re allowed to check out a ChromeBook, we can create that stuff.”
“And this can be done in pieces like using e-mail for certain things and Google for others,” Kappelmann added. “This combines everything into something easy for parents and students and teachers because it has everything in one spot instead of going to several different spots.”
After praising the overall functionality of Canvas, Kappelmann added the teachers will be responsible for uploading their particular documents and resources and the counselors will help oversee some things on a school-wide level. After some more questions from the board members about use by substitute teachers and more details about how Canvas works, the board ultimately unanimously approved Canvas’ implementation.
Among other new business, the board also revisited discussion of turf. The replacement of the turf at Redskin Field was approved earlier this month and Monday evening, the board discussed the possibility of putting turf down at the middle school fields.
“The grass is an issue and I’ve got some concerns to share with you,” Superintendent Renae Hickert said. “Number one, I think the students were allowed on it way too soon – everything was planted in June and July and we had students on it in August and September. I’m also concerned about whether or not those fields are getting enough water on the grass. So the discussion that needs to happen is what needs to be done about it? Do we call a landscaper and evaluate everything and get their advice? Those are some things to consider.”
Members of the board were then invited to chime in with their thoughts. As the item was discussion only, there was ultimately no action voted on.
“When I was in middle school, South’s field was horrible, it was basically a dirt patch,” USD Vice President Travis Combs said.
“Now is the time and now’s the window to do this, if we decide that,” USD 480 board member Cliff Abbott added. “The usage with turf is not even close to the amount of usage there is with a regular grass field. That window’s now since we have a contractor here and the prices will probably be the best we’ll see.”