Tabernacle BOE discusses new communication app for parents, approves resignation of art teacher

The Board was given an update on a new mobile app scheduled to launch in September in an effort to enhance communications with parents and residents.

With only one member of the public in attendance at Tabernacle’s Board of Education’s latest meeting, it seemed fitting that it involved an update of the district’s development of a mobile app intended to enhance communication with residents and parents. 

The board also discussed a new strategic five-year plan that will take into account the devastating and inevitable state aid cuts looming over the district in the next several years.  

For the first time, the district is implementing a mobile app to consolidate communication with parents and the public. 

Residents and parents will soon be able to use the Blackboard Mobile app for the upcoming school year, which will provide easier access to updates and announcements, including school closings and emergency information. Parents will also be able to check their child’s grades and other school information. 

“Everything is pretty much going to be funneled to the app,” said Aleng Phommathep, the technology coordinator for the district. 

That includes all of the district’s social media pages, which include updates and events, to be consolidated to one page so parents don’t have to check each site.   

Phommathep explained they are now in the process of beta-testing the app with a few board members, parents and teachers. 

He says he plans to discuss with the board during the next scheduled meetings on Aug. 19 and Sept 3. ways to teach parents how to use the app once it is launched. He explained parents can expect to receive instructions during back-to-school nights in the beginning of the year. He deemed that most likely the app will be ready to launch around the beginning of September.

The board also discussed having a new five-year strategic plan as one of its major 2019-2020 school year goals. 

Board Vice President Julia Sailer urged her fellow members to develop a new long-term plan due to the state aid cuts the district will see over the next few years. 

She feels the plan should be made so the district has a guide and is “not being reactive” when cuts come each year. 

The board is waiting to receive a study on the district’s current and projected student demographics to properly develop the five-year plan. 

“We need a five-year plan so we know where we’re heading,” said Sailer. 

In other news, the district’s promise in its recently approved 2019-2020 budget to “adjust” its art department has finally been taken into action. The board regretfully approved the resignation of art teacher Tiffany Bartleson, effective a few weeks before the meeting, on July 23.

The board simultaneously approved Stephanie McMullen as part-time art teacher for the 2019-2020 school year at an annual salary of $37,209.

The district now has one full-time art position and one part-time position. 

The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 19 at 7 p.m. in the Kenneth R. Olson Middle School library.