Keeping up with technology

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Verona schools to hire technology coach for teachers

With enrollment declining at Verona schools, staff are looking at ways to keep up with changing technology while also providing staff with resources to keep up with changing software.

Verona schools are getting a dedicated instructional coach to help teachers learn and grow with developing technology used to teach students, track progress and organize data.

Following a review of first day attendance at Verona schools, Superintendent Tony Simmons said enrollment at the school is steadily declining, with the largest class sizes in the high school and class sizes getting smaller as the class grades get lower.

“We’re top heavy on the top three grade levels, then we’re losing students fast,” Simmons said. “And the reason why is our housing situation.” We’ve got a lot of guys who want to come to Verona, but they can’t find a place to live.”

Simmons said declining enrollment will be a problem in the future.

“Our farmers aren’t giving up any land to build on, and declining enrollment means less money coming in,” he said.

Despite the anticipated decline in enrollment in the coming years, Simmons said he wanted to bring a new position into the fold at Verona schools to help teachers and staff adjust to the modern world and the technology that comes with it.

“We have a number of software programs we use, and more and more are being thrown at teachers,” Simmons said. “We need a person to help teachers with these software programs.”

Simmons suggested hiring P.E. teacher and girls basketball coach Brandon Weiss as the new technology instructional coach. If approved, that would vacate a P.E. position that could be taken by a teacher hired to work with at-risk students. That at-risk position would then be filled by the Ag teacher, leaving the Ag position vacant.

In light of the declining enrollment, School Board President Louis Carrasquillo asked if the district would be taking a risk hiring a new position and if the school can continue to fund the position or if it would be forced to cut other positions in the future to keep the technology coach on board.

Simmons said the district has the money and a need for the position.

Carrasquillo also asked if the technology coach position would require a full time staff member.

High School Principal Naomi Austin said there is enough work for a full-time position now, but each year there will be new teachers and likely new programs that old teachers will have to be trained on.

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