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Johnston School Board Agrees to Take Part in Controversial Iowa Youth Survey

The Johnston school board discussed a survey of teens on drugs, violence and the community.

The addition of a to the Johnston school board wasn't the only issue discussed at the April 23 meeting.

The board discussed the Iowa Youth Survey, developmental kindergarten and videotaping meetings. Read on for a few board briefs.

Iowa Youth Survey
The board approved the district's participation in the Iowa Youth Survey in the fall of 2012.

The survey, administered every two years, seeks to have teens in sixth, eighth and 11th grades answer questions about their attitudes and experiences regarding alcohol and other drug use, on violence, and their perceptions of their peers, family, school and neighborhood and community environments.

The voluntary survey is used in reporting safe school information in the Comprehensive School Improvement Plan.

The board first .

Amendt said a bulk of the students who did not take part in the survey in 2010 were absent from school that day. Only 16 students of 1,419 students eligible to take the survey opted out.

Board member Julie Walter asked if there were other surveys that students could take in place of the Iowa Youth Survey.

Amendt said that while it was possible, he would not have a recommendation for a different survey until next fall.

The Iowa Youth Survey is administered free of charge, other surveys could have costs associated.

The board approved administering the survey 5 to 1, with Walter voting no.

Video Taping Meetings
The Johnston school board received an update on the progress of implementing a .

While the board approved spending a maximum of $10,000 for the equipment, there was a question of the quality attached to the video.

Tony Sparks, director of technology for the district, told the board he had spoken to a company that could provide equipment for $9,302.

The system would create a wide shot of the board room.

One concern was not being able to identify which board members were talking in the video.

For about $23,000 a company in Texas would run the equipment and monitor taping for an additional $350 a month.

Staff will continue working with local company and seek other information for taping.

Developmental Kindergarten
The board received an update on the progress of creating a from Bruce Amendt, executive director of academic services.

At the time of the meeting about 28 students were registered for the program, while there were still eight families interested in half-day kindergarten.

Amendt said with a number that low, the district would recommend discontinuing half-day kindergarten and letting families decide between developmental kindergarten, kindergarten or open-enrolling to another district.

Staff also created recommended learning expectations for developmental kindergarten.

No action was taken to discontinue half-day kindergarten while staff continues to monitor enrollment to developmental kindergarten.

The school board will meet again on Monday, May 7.

Ashlee Kieler (Editor) May 03, 2012 at 06:05 PM
What do you think of the Iowa Youth Survey? Does it provide valuable information to schools? How much is too much to spend on videotaping equipment for board meetings?

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