The Cheney School Board unanimously approved two measures affecting the use of the Internet and elementary school boundaries at their Jan. 23 meeting last Wednesday at the Fisher Building.
The board approved a revision to the district’s electronic resources use policy that will apply to both students and staff. The policy takes a four-part approach, requiring any student or staff member wishing to use a district computer for online access to have a valid network user agreement on file.
All district-owned PCs with Internet access must have filtering software installed to “prevent access to obscene, racist, hateful or violent material.” District staff must also make a “reasonable effort” to supervise students using the Internet, and all students will be educated on proper online behavior, including interactions on social networks and chat rooms and cyberbullying awareness and response.
“These practices are already in place,” Superintendent Dr. Debra Clemens said. “There’s nothing new in the policy that we’re not already doing.”
The board also approved proposed revisions to the district’s elementary school boundaries. The proposal came before the board at their previous meeting Jan. 9 but was tabled because members felt the information was too new and wanted the public to have another opportunity to provide input into the changes, mainly residents in Airway Heights.
The schools most impacted by the new changes are Sunset Elementary in Airway Heights, Windsor Elementary in the Windsor area between Geiger Heights and Marshall and the new Snowdon Elementary School currently under construction at Hallett and Holly roads. Existing boundaries and high enrollment created overcrowding at Sunset while leaving plenty of space a Snowdon, a condition running counter to what voters wanted when approving a $79 million bond in 2010 to build two new middle schools and qualify for $18 million in state funds to build Snowdon.
The new proposal solves that overcrowding issue, but in doing so, uses U.S. Highway 2 through a portion of Airway Heights as a boundary for sending students to either Sunset or Snowdon. The district has tried to keep all Airway Heights students going to Sunset, making it a community school.
The district held a community meeting Jan. 8 at Sunset on the boundary proposal, and after it was tabled Jan. 9 by the board, another Sunset meeting Jan. 16 to receive more input.
Most of last Wednesday’s meeting was taken up by staff, students and parents who assembled to show their appreciation for the board’s efforts in providing quality educational opportunities in the district as part of national School Board Appreciation Month. Students from all seven schools gave presentations, ranging from reading reports about their educational endeavors to a violin performance by Windsor fifth-grader Riley Carr as a demonstration of the district’s strings music program.
Several parents also spoke about what the district has done for the children, including Teri Jo Christianson who told the board about the benefits the district’s Homeworks program. The program has provided her six children with in 16 years of home schooling – something she said wasn’t by choice, but out of the necessity of distance. During and after the presentations several board members were visibly moved by the presentations and testimonials.
“This is why we do it, what you showed us here,” Director Rick Mount said. He added that at the very least, the board has strived to provide at least the same educational opportunities to today’s students that members had as students.
“But really, we want them to have more,” Mount said.
John McCallum can be reached at email@example.com.