Kingsland School Board members learn how Kingsland second graders are using iPads to learn mathematics.  Teacher Julie Tart watches as Superintendent John McDonald, left, board Chairman Doug Plaehn and board member Deb Larson take a math quiz. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
Kingsland School Board members learn how Kingsland second graders are using iPads to learn mathematics. Teacher Julie Tart watches as Superintendent John McDonald, left, board Chairman Doug Plaehn and board member Deb Larson take a math quiz. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
Kingsland's school board held its 2013 truth in taxation hearing before the December regular meeting last Monday night, and then set the levy, which will have about a 5 percent decrease from 2013.

Business manager Todd Lechtenberg shared that the district's 2014 property tax levy will be $1,912,401.87, which compares to the $2,011,043.93 levy the board set a year ago for 2013. He also compared revenues, citing that for 2014, revenues are set at $7,868,827, and for 2015, they will be $7,830,330.

During the regular meeting that followed, Kingsland board members had an opportunity to be second graders once again as second grade teachers Julie Tart, Christy Noble and Claudia Koerner presented them with math tests to be taken on iPads during the Spotlight on Education portion of the meeting. They related that they've been working to develop math assessment tools in order to be better able to respond to their students' needs, and the iPad application Socrative has been especially helpful in doing so in that they are able to receive immediate, live quiz results and take action to remediate for students whose scores are lower than expected or for those who are struggling.

"As we're doing this, I see the live results, where they're going and what they're doing," said Noble.

"It's interesting because the kids I thought would be on track got some wrong, and I can print a report of which they got wrong or right" Noble added. "I can take the kids that I taught on Tuesday and give them a new lesson on Wednesday, or send them for work time and discuss what they're having trouble with, get immediate feedback."

Koerner cited that she appreciates the "paperless, immediate feedback" the program affords. Furthermore, if a student is at home and a teacher has the test or worksheet that that student needs to complete open, the student can finish the work outside of school, and the teacher can track that student's progress without having to be in the classroom.

Consent agenda items included approving the art club guidelines, review and adoption of several district policies, and approving principals' and the grounds and maintenance director's contracts. The board thanked member Deb Larson for serving 100 hours and presented her with the Minnesota School Board Association's Director's Award, and the Osterud Winter Trust for its donation of $1,500 - of which $800 will be used for summer soccer equipment and $700 for the WatchDOGS parent volunteer program.

There were no public comments, so the board moved on to hear reports such as principals' reports. Kingsland High School Principal James Hecimovich was not in attendance, so Kingsland Elementary and Middle School Principal Chris Priebe gave his report, highlighting the "Give Thanks, Give Back" food drive held at the elementary from Nov. 18 to Nov. 22 and the Knights of the Round Table's food drive from Nov. 18 through Nov. 27. The elementary students raised 775 pounds of food, and the middle school students brought in 467 pounds, all of which was donated to the Spring Valley Area Food Shelf. Priebe reminded parents that students who are outside during recess should be properly dressed for winter, and if they do not have proper winter clothing, the school has social services that can assist in obtaining outdoor clothing.

In personnel, the board noted that evaluations are underway for the principals and superintendent, accepted the retirement of bus driver Elton Sikkink, hired former Kingsland teacher Kathy Kappers to serve as the district's alternative learning program instructor, added a paraprofessional's position to the high school roster due to the growth of the special education department and one student's rapid achievements, and created an interventionist position for the elementary reading department through funding provided by a grant; the interventionist will be hired and work with students for the remainder of the school year.

Winter break began Dec. 21 and is set to last until Thursday, Jan. 2, when students return to school. The school board has set its January meeting for Wednesday, Jan. 22 at 6:30 p.m. in the Kingsland High School conference room since Martin Luther King Day is Monday, Jan. 20. The public is welcome to attend. For more information, contact the Kingsland district office at (507) 346-7276, or log onto the Kingsland website at www.kingsland.k12.mn.us.