Columbia School Board to vote on new technology plan, bullying instruction

Monday, October 10, 2011 | 7:24 a.m. CDT; updated 10:11 a.m. CDT, Monday, October 10, 2011

COLUMBIA — Public schools could see new plans to implement technology in the classroom, as well as the addition of anti-bullying instruction to intermediate school curriculum. The measures are up for a vote at the Columbia School Board's meeting Monday.

Board member Jonathan Sessions said the five-year technology plan was created as part of the comprehensive school improvement plan approved by the board in 2010. He said board members have had time to look over the technology plan since it was presented at their Sept. 22 meeting.

The goal of the plan is to outline the district's approach to using technology as an effective tool for education, said Sessions, who is on the district's technology committee.

"The question wasn't, 'What new computer do you want?'" Sessions said. "The question was, 'How do you want to teach?'"

The board will also decide whether students in grades sixth through eighth could receive a minimum of 450 minutes of instruction per year on bullying, hazing and student conduct.

Board member Jan Mees said this proposed addition to the district's bullying policy, created in 2006, was developed in response to students who asked the policy committee to make bullying an issue teachers address in Columbia's intermediate schools.

"It's the most vulnerable time in kids' lives," Mees said.

District spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark said the policy will be intended for when the junior high schools and middle schools are combined into intermediate schools once Battle High School opens in 2013.

The board will also vote on Monday on policies dealing with teachers' right to select a collective bargaining representative.

Teachers may select a union as their representative if the policy is adopted, though the policy states that the board would continue to use an informal discussion process unless teachers request otherwise.

Additionally, the board could vote to prohibit teachers from participating in any strikes, pickets or other forms of protest if those protests would disrupt the school environment or district operations.

The board will meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the administration building, 1818 W. Worley St.

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