By Nicolas Stoneham
On November 7, the Red Lion school board met to discuss some of the issues and improvements occurring in the district. A lot of these changes involve costs and improvements regarding the school buildings and programs for special education students.
Tonja Wheeler, the first member of the board to speak, shed light on the fact that Red Lion is currently the third poorest school district in the county. According to Mrs. Wheeler, we have been improving our economic situation throughout the past two years, and are continuing to do so by saving more money. Saving up money each year and only spending when absolutely necessary has profoundly helped the well-being of the district.
Krista Antonis, director of curriculum, instruction and assessment, then shifted the focus of the discussion to the students of Red Lion by bringing up the many changes and improvements for “at risk” and special education kids throughout the district. One of these changes includes conducting a universal screening for schools to identify students who may be at risk so they can get the extra help they need.
Mrs. Antonis also brought up the issue of technology. In recent years, the use of iPads and Smart Boards in the classrooms of Red Lion have become increasingly popular and very useful. The problem is not every teacher is getting the opportunity to use this new technology, especially the special education department and teachers of at risk students. It was stressed that every teacher should be given the advantage of these devices, not just certain teachers.
Superintendent, Dr. Scott Deisley shared that $10,000 was raised for Habitat for Humanity throughout the district, referencing Tonja Wheeler’s previous statement that we are one of the poorest districts in the county. Deisley described the Red Lion community as generous and kind regardless of how low the district ranks economically.
Afterward, board member Jeffrey Fix brought up new changes regarding security systems in the school buildings. With recent tragedies such as the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the safety of students and staff is top priority, according to board members. Deisley noted that a future $25,000 grant from the state would be used to implement new state-of-the-art security systems to all district buildings. It was said that a major security system being looked into is SchoolGate Guardian Security Systems.
Throughout the meeting, members of the board brought up some very necessary points such as the improvements for special education students, budgeting, technology, and school security. All of these issues are very important in making the school district strive and work towards being a great learning environment for all students.