Fort Dodge school board OKs iPad purchases

District to host vaccination clinics on July 20 and Aug. 10

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Fort Dodge Community School Superintendent Dr. Derrick Joel gives an update on an upcoming COVID-19 vaccine clinic during his first school board meeting as superintendent on Monday evening.

The Fort Dodge Community School District will spend nearly $78,000 to ensure each classroom of transitional kindergarten through second grade has fully-stocked carts of iPads.

The Board of Education voted Monday to approve the purchase of an additional 227 iPads.

Last year, to facilitate virtual learning, the district purchased 900 iPads to have a 1-to-1 ratio as students learned from home.

For the classroom iPad carts, each cart needs to have 27 devices to accommodate the maximum class size and have a couple backups in case any are broken, said Jeremy Pearson, district supervisor of information technology.

There will be carts for all 40 TK-2 classrooms. The iPads will not arrive until after the school year starts, Pearson said, adding that Apple has a seven- to nine-week shipping delay.

Pearson did not clarify which budget will fund the iPad purchases.

In his first school board meeting as superintendent, Superintendent Derrick Joel told the board that the district will be hosting a COVID-19 vaccination clinic on July 20 for people 12 years old and older. The vaccination clinic will be from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the board room at the Central Office, 109 N. 25th St. The vaccination clinic for the second dose of the vaccine will be at the same time and place on Aug. 10.

“That second shot has set us up for our students who participate in that to be fully vaccinated by the time school starts,” Joel said.

Students who are 12 years old or older and have not had the required vaccinations to attend school can also receive them at this clinic, the superintendent said.

The vaccine clinic is open to the public.

In other business, the board also approved a new three-year contract with Edgenuity, of Scottsdale, Arizona, for the district’s virtual learning for students in grades six through 12.

The three-year contract is $77,500 for the three years, or just under $26,000 per year.

Kirsten Doebel, director of secondary education, said the district increased its use of Edgenuity last school year during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, but that the district has actually used Edgenuity for credit recovery and at-risk students for as long as she has been with Fort Dodge schools.

Edgenuity includes access to content in the areas of math, English language arts, science, social studies, electives, advanced placement, world language and career and technical education.

The costs for Edgenuity will be paid for with at-risk and drop-out prevention dollars, Doebel said.

The board approved a $39,750 contract with Better Lessons, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, to continue to provide support for implementing the district’s English language arts curriculum in grades five through eight, and to add support for grades nine through 12 to ensure there is a seamless transition as students move from the ELA modules in middle school to teacher-created materials in high school.

This contract will be paid for out of the Title IIA budget.

A $130,500 contract with Better Lessons to provide support for the district’s Professional Learning Communities was also approved by the board. This gives the district’s 54 Professional Learning Communities one-on-one coaches for the whole year, Doebel said.

The district had a contract with AchievementNet for the same services last year, but this year, AchievementNet’s bid was $238,300, so Doebel said she felt it was more fiscally responsible to go with the Better Lessons contract.

The board also approved new evaluation rubrics to evaluate student services staff, school nurses and administrators starting this school year.

The next regular school board meeting will be at noon on July 28 at the Central Office, 109 N. 25th St.


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