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Calloway Schools board reviews Unbridled Learning

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Posted: Friday, March 15, 2013 7:00 am

The Calloway County Schools Board of Education assembled Thursday evening to briefly discuss the development of Unbridled Learning (Senate Bill 1) in the school system.

Tawnya Hunter, SB 1 coordinator for Calloway County Schools, unveiled a short presentation on the current guidelines of the legislation and explained the future benchmarks of programming, noting the many strides Calloway County Schools have made in order to remain in compliance with state education standards.

Through the Continuous Instructional Improvement Technology System (CIITS), the Race to the Top and Unbridled Learning, Hunter said the implementation of these programs would be well-documented and included in the Comprehensive District Improvement Plan, which is due on April 15.

With mounting expectations presented through Unbridled Learning, Hunter said the challenge of balancing classroom time with mandated teacher training has been tough over the last few months.

“The state is not telling us to can pick and choose,” Hunter said. “You’ve got to do it all and they’re giving us deadlines to meet. We’re flying the plane and building it at the same time.”

Kennith Bargo, Calloway County superintendent, agreed with Hunter’s sentiments but said regardless of the hard work, the evaluations must be completed as soon as possible.

“All of our administrators and everyone who is going to be involved in this type of evaluation has to undergo at least a 40-hour training program,” Bargo said. “There are no shortcuts. It doesn’t make any difference if you know it or not. You still have to stay with the system.”

Though Unbridled Learning is set to unload new goals under titles such as Next Generation Learners, Program Review, Professionals and School Districts, Bargo said the short timelines to install new classroom and learning methods have been obstacles, as the West Kentucky Educational Cooperative (of which Bargo is part) has made it very clear what is at stake in the classroom.

“We’ve asked the state department to slow down,” Bargo said. “Everything we’re getting right now is coming at us and bombarding us. Before we can actually put things into practice like we want to, we’re getting new things all the time. As a co-op, we’ve taken action and asked them to slow down.”

Hunter said she has many unanswered questions regarding the implementations of all of the new practices under Unbridled Learning.

“Is this impacting learning?” she said. “Are we seeing achievement gains? Are teachers being more efficient with their time, or are we just sprinkling it?”

Board Chairman Jeff Gordon put it simply in regards to the procedures.

“It seems like we’re taking away from teaching through all of these plans,” Gordon said.

For Hunter, she said the possible loss of teaching is a serious concern and one of the biggest fears of the school system.

Other key news from the meeting:

• Bargo opened the meeting by introducing Amy Owens, who was recently sworn in as the new financial director and secretary for the Calloway County Schools. Owens replaces Jan Pigg, who served the Calloway County Schools for many years before her recent retirement.

• Tommy Futrell, director of transportation for Calloway Schools, said parts and supplies for the bus garage are expected to increase 10 percent over the fiscal year due to driving market value for repairs. With one driver retiring early and others on sick leave, Futrell said he is in need of drivers and could fill positions now.

• Pat Lane, director for school nutrition, said the school is replacing kettles and steamers, currently fielding quotes for the new materials.

• The meeting closed in executive session to discuss a possible land acquisition.

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