IRON RIVER—West Iron County’s School Board filled several staff positions during its June 21 regular meeting, hiring a new teacher and approving a change in assignment for another.
Joining the staff is Chris Soha, who will take over the high school math classes formerly taught by Kathy Haydon, who has retired. Soha has taught math at Marquette for 15 years and was highly recommended by Marquette school officials.
“We had a bunch of wonderful applicants,” said Superintendent Chris Thomson, “which was nice to see.”
Meanwhile, Jon Munn will be teaching welding, machining and small engines this fall in the Loo Building, classes taught by Joe Lewis last year.
Last year, Munn taught computers at Stambaugh Elmentary School. This year, Chris Cavalieri will take over that class. Cavalieri had been a long-term substitute at West Iron, teaching elementary computers. Now he will be full-time.
“All our state testing is going online,” Thomson said. “So our students need to be well-versed and well acquainted with computers.” While kids may already know how to operate computers, he said, they need to be comfortable with the programs they will use in state standardized testing done on computers.
• Thomson also said that all five teachers who received pink slips in April will be back on staff next year. All the pink slips have been rescinded.
Thomson said the district will have the same number of staff for both its teaching and support staff as it had the last few years.
• The board also voted to replace its middle school computers with Chromebooks (tablet computers that use the Google Chrome operating system and software).
The middle school lab computers are 8 to 10 years old and due for replacement. West Iron also plans to use Google’s applications. “With us going to Google apps,” the superintendent said, “Google Chromebooks are logical, cost-efficient and fit the platform that we’re going to.”
The board voted to purchase 34 Chromebooks at a total price of $9,981—less than $300 each. “In the past, when we wanted to upgrade a lab,” Thomson said, “that was a $30-35,000 price tag” for both the hardware and software.
The Chromebooks don’t have hard drives or use servers; they use cloud technology to store programs and files.
• In other business, the board agreed to have Diane Rostagno handle the district’s annual audit for the next three years. Rostagno has been doing West Iron’s audit for many years.