Manistique school superintendent gets top marks

MANISTIQUE – Manistique Area Schools Superintendent Kathy McDonough received the highest performance rating possible for her work in the district during Monday night’s school board meeting.

Teachers, administrators, and superintendents are evaluated on a four level scale established by the state. From highest to lowest the rankings are: highly effective, effective, minimally effective, and ineffective.

Following a closed session period of Monday night’s meeting, the board reconvened in open session to make a motion on McDonough’s performance rating for the 2012-13 school year. McDonough received a highly effective rating.

“I’m very appreciative to the board and the confidence they’ve placed in me and their dedication to the district … they’re a good board to work for and I will accept their recommendation for that evaluation,” said McDonough.

The specifics of McDonough’s contract will be discussed during the Dec. 16 regular school board meeting held in the Manistique Area School Board/Community Room at the Manistique Area Middle and High School.

Also during the meeting, both Elementary School Principal Erik Mason and Middle/High School Principal John Shiner reported on the use of the district’s new classroom iPads.

Mason explained the iPads being used by third graders – which sport durable green cases – provide students with a variety of resources and apps designed to enhance classroom learning throughout the day.

The tablet computers also let students take Accelerated Reader reading assessment tests and work in a program called MobyMax to work on different skills. Currently students are using MobyMax for math.

“Students will start off with a math assessment,” said Mason. “It will gauge what questions they get wrong, how far they go, if they’re doing well their progress further and further into the test. If they’re struggling it may quit earlier and start on a program right for them.”

The program also tracks progress, rewards on-task students with education game time, creates individualized learning programs, and can be logged into from other computers connected to the Internet by clicking a link on the school’s website.

Middle and high school students are also actively using the iPads in the classroom. Despite being protected in slim, black, folio cases at the higher grade levels, the principles of classroom use are similar, and many of the iPads are being used to support struggling students.

“If we have a sixth grader who’s at a fourth grade level for mathematics they can benchmark the child backward and find out where they … fell off pace,” said Shiner.

The iPads were partially funded by a Techonogloy Readiness Infrastructure Grant, known as a 22i-TRIG grant, awarded by the state. Through the grant, the district is receiving $90 per iPad. Additional funding is being found through other sources.

“We were hoping for $100 per iPad back, but we’ve still got to locate some funding sources throughout the year to finish paying for (them),” said McDonough, noting that all districts who applied for the grant received some sort of funding.