THANK YOU FOR A WONDERFUL YEAR!
Thank you to everyone for a wonderful year. Our students continue to amaze me with all of their outstanding accomplishments they have earned this year. We wish our 8th graders the very best as they begin the next chapter of their lives in high school. Thank you to all of our Limestone Walters parents for all of the support you have provided us this year. Listed below are some items that we are moving towards for next school year.
Beginning with the 2016 – 2017 school year, we will be extending the school day for 20 more instructional minutes. School hours will be 7:55 AM – 2:45 PM. Our staff realizes the value that the additional time can benefit our students. More information will be forthcoming when registration packets are mailed later this summer.
1 to 1 TECHNOLOGY
For the last several years, we have been piloting mobile computing devices, and upgrading our infrastructure to handle the progression of technology in our district. We have come a long way in enhancing our technological capabilities and the journey continues.
At the last Board of Education meeting, the Board approved replacing our existing textbook fee of $38 (which has not been increase for over ten years) with a technology fee of $60. This new fee will allow us to provide more devices for our students and begin investing in a digital curriculum. Every student in grades 5-8 will be provided with a Google Chromebook to use at school and at home. Google Chromebooks were selected as the device for the initiative because of their affordability, ease of use, battery life, and integration with a platform our teachers have been using called Google Apps for Education. Chromebooks will allow students to easily connect, communicate and collaborate. Our existing district-owned Chromebooks will go to the fourth grade as a classroom set, and we will be purchasing more iPads for our K-3 classrooms. We will have a complete 1:1 (student to computing device) ratio next school year. We will also be doing a few more infrastructure upgrades this summer including virtualizing our servers and upgrading the cabling in our main network closet.
This 1:1 plan will complement our approach to a digital curriculum. Our staff has researched a variety of math curriculums, and next year we will be utilizing “My Math” as the online math curriculum. We will communicate more information in regard to the logistics via our website and with registration packets to be mailed out later this summer. We will also have informational nights for parents to attend. More to follow!!!!
The final phase of our parking lot upgrade will be completed this summer. Weather permitting, work is expected to begin as early as Tuesday, May 31, 2016. The far west entrance area will not be available once work begins. There are a few additional life safety items to complete this summer, and the Building Committee continues to research some potential air conditioning options. Larger cost projects generally need to be phased in over time. However, if the Peoria County Facilities Sales Tax initiative were to appear on the ballot again, it would provide school districts the necessary revenue to upgrade their facilities.
It has been since May, 2014 that Illinois passed a state budget. Time will tell if a budget will be passed for this past school year, and if one will be passed for the upcoming year. The deadline to pass one for next fiscal year is May 31. The state’s new fiscal year begins July 1. While there are many issues affecting our state, what is sadly missing is compromise. With spring upon us, let’s hope that happens.
Remember, the greatest gift you can give your children is your time.
Tim Dotson, Superintendent