News 4 Schools: Fort Zumwalt School District using Prop K money - KMOV.com

News 4 Schools: Fort Zumwalt School District using Prop K money as promised

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In April, voters in the Fort Zumwalt school district approved Prop K, a 48-cent tax levy, aimed at improving the quality of education for students

There were many items on the “to-do” list.  And, thus far, district officials say they’ve accomplished all of them.

 “It’s very important for the Board of Education – and it has been in all the years I’ve been here – that once you get something from your voters whether it be a bond issue or tax levy that you follow through on what you promised,” Fort Zumwalt Superintendent Bernard DuBray said.

The school district did four main things with the money it received from Prop K.  It balanced the budget.  It raised the salaries of its staff to be more competitive in the state. 

It added ten instructional coaches – something other districts have had for a long time – who work with elementary school teachers to be better educators.

“They’re like a football coach.  Their team is the teachers and they coach them to better teach,” Dr. DuBray said.

Lastly, the Fort Zumwalt school district hired 16 technology teachers – one for each of the 16 elementary schools.  Their job is to work with students from kindergarten through fifth grade for 40 minutes a week on different aspects of technology like typing and coding.

“We’ve had technology in the district but what we didn’t have was specialists that would work with our kids with technology,” Dr. DuBray said. “Now we have that aspect.  When you put the two together – the equipment and the staff members – you’re going to see some great things.”

Many of the technology teachers came from educators already in the district.  Hannah Dyksen taught fourth and fifth grade for 14 years but has always been passionate about technology.  She campaigned hard for Prop K to pass just so she might have this opportunity to move over.

“This was a really big deal for me.  This is a job I wanted in the district for a long time and one that I think is really needed in today’s world,” Dyksen said.

And the students are taking to it very well.

“If you ever have work that needs to be done on the computer then you can’t do it if you don’t know how to type,” third grade student Rylie Valentine said.

“If you get a job and you want to be a teacher for computer classes you need to know how to type so you can do those things,” added Valentine’s classmate, Chloe Elgart.

As for what’s next in the district, Dr. DuBray says they’re trying to improve the performance of their students at the elementary level.  He believes having these instructional coaches and technology teachers will go a long way towards reaching that goal.

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