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Board hears role librarians play in technology education

This generation of students can be described as “digital natives” — a description used by Mindy Southern during the biennial report on the Farmington School District Library/Media program review.

Southern, educational technology facilitator, along with K-6 instructional curriculum coordinator and education technology advisor Allyson Hensley, highlighted the work of the district’s five librarians, during the meeting of the Farmington Board of Education on Tuesday. Noting the expanding role of implementing both digital literacy and digital citizenship in an ever-expanded technological world, the two highlighted the instruction provided by the district beginning at the age of 5.

Hensley used the description of the students, noting many become familiar with how to learn smart phones and other devices before beginning school.

“The library program defies the stereotype of what you might think about as a library,” Hensley said, noting the district librarians have represented the district in conferences around the state and during an international conference as well.

Hensley said the staff embraces the technology introduced by Southern, making it their own by gearing it for their students.

“We make Farmington R-7 students empowered learners,” she said.

Southern noted librarians are teaching online keyboarding lessons, digital literacy lessons, implementing maker spacers, scheduling Google hangouts and making “global connections” outside the four walls of the schools.

The board viewed student-produced book reviews and internet safety tips during the meeting — noting both allow students to create in a new way while learning to use the technology in an appropriate and safe manner.

“They are definitely connecting our students to experiences like never before,” she said.

Southern also said a “District Learning Day” is scheduled for Feb. 22 as a way to celebrate classroom successes using the district’s social media platforms.

And, Southern noted, there’s still the traditional role of the library serving as a study space and a place to learn to enjoy reading.

In other business, Lincoln Intermediate Principal Dr. Stacie Smith presented the Heartland Hero and Featured Teacher Awards.

The congregation of Solid Rock Fellowship in Farmington was honored as the Heartland Hero. Smith said Pastor Darryl Rhodes and his wife, Darlene, help lead the congregation in supporting the staff at Lincoln Intermediate.

Darlene was in attendance at the meeting to accept the award on behalf of the church.

“When I first came to Farmington and was told our school was adopted by a church I thought, ‘oh, that’s really sweet,’” Smith said. “I had no idea that they would single-handedly support us through everything almost every single day all school year.”

A sign reading “Loving Lincoln” hangs in the church as a reminder to the members about the outreach program.

Smith said the couple, along with the congregation, has gone to great lengths to celebrate and support the teachers and staff at Lincoln Intermediate—providing breakfast items and meals, as well as sponsoring a “store” for teachers to shop for needed items.

“Lincoln is truly, honestly, sincerely grateful,” she said. “There are really no words we have to properly express our appreciation for everything you do for us.”

Fifth-grade teacher Sheri Whitener was honored as the Featured Teacher for the school. Smith said Whitener has been a part of the staff for 15 years.

“Sheri is very humble,” Smith said. “I’ve only known her a short period of time, but she is an amazing person, an amazing educator, a team player…she’s there for everyone as a silent hero in the background.”

Appreciation was also expressed during the meeting to the board for School Board Recognition Week. Notes of “thank you” from staff and students, goody bags and a special video presentation from students at Washington-Franklin Elementary were presented during the meeting.

In the consent agenda, the board approved a bid for $8,568 by CDW-G for the replacement of 30 Chromebooks for teachers at the high school.

The board also approved the purchase of content filtering software from GoGuardian for $52,470 as well as the declaring of surplus property for several pieces of electronics, including Chromebooks, computers and laptops.

Board President Kerry Noble also announced there were only two filings for the open seats on the board, so no election is required this spring. Incumbent Delores Howard and Kurt Bauche will be sworn in this April. Incumbent Jeff Lawson did not seek reelection this year. The term is for three years.

Lincoln Intermediate Principal Dr. Stacie Smith, left, presents the Heartland Hero Award to Darlene Rhodes during the Farmington Board of Education meeting on Tuesday. Rhodes accepts the award on behalf of her husband, Darryl, and the congregation of Solid Rock Fellowship in Farmington. The church

Lincoln Intermediate Principal Dr. Stacie Smith, left, presents the Heartland Hero Award to Darlene Rhodes during the Farmington Board of Education meeting on Tuesday. Rhodes accepts the award on behalf of her husband, Darryl, and the congregation of Solid Rock Fellowship in Farmington. The church “adopted” the teachers and staff at the building. 

Farmington Board of Education member Jeff Lawson, right, looks at a gift presented to the board from Lincoln Intermediate in honor of School Board Appreciation Month. Also pictured is board member Howard Hoehn. Lawson is not seeking another term this April. 

Farmington Board of Education member Jeff Lawson, right, looks at a gift presented to the board from Lincoln Intermediate in honor of School Board Appreciation Month. Also pictured is board member Howard Hoehn. Lawson is not seeking another term this April. 

Shawnna Robinson is the managing editor of the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-518-3628 or srobinson@farmingtonpressonline.com

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