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By DAVID CAMPHOUSE
Pikeland’s school board, at its Wednesday, Oct. 20, meeting, heard public comment regarding the third-party Panorama Education survey being administered to students in the Pikeland district.
Jonas Petty provided comment to the board and public about the Panorama Education survey – a survey, according to Panorama, designed to capture the “student voice on school climate, teaching and learning, relationships, and belonging.”
“My message to the board, and to the public, is I want to make them aware of what Panorama is, what the company is and the services they provide,” Petty said. “I want to let them to know what they’re paying for.”
Petty said he takes issue with what he perceives as a liberal bias on the part of Panorama Education, a bias he believes Panorama’s leadership wants to pass on to students.
“Panorama’s leaders have made it abundantly clear where they stand,” Petty said. “They want to integrate ‘equity’ and ‘diversity’ and all these trigger words.”
In addition, Petty said he wants Pikeland to focus more on academic learning and student involvement in school activities – and less on student feelings.
“It always seems to be a lot of fancy talk and not enough about improving math scores and reading scores,” Petty said. “The survey focuses on feelings.”
Kilver counters that the Panorama Education survey is merely a tool for the district to measure student engagement and a way to capture the perceptions that students hold toward their school. She emphasized that Panorama is simply a survey and not, in and of itself, a teaching tool.
“There seems to be some confusion,” Kilver said. “It’s a survey, not a curriculum. It truly is just a database. The purpose is to capture the student voice to make sure we’re improving the climate and culture of the schools. We’re looking for something that gives us feedback.”
Kilver also asserts that students’ feelings are central to their abilities to learn effectively.
“We know that learning is emotional,” Kilver said. “If students are bored, for example, or not engaged, we take that and try different strategies. We want to make sure we’re working on the right things.”
The superintendent also explained that if families did not want to participate in the survey, they weren’t required to by the district.
“Any third party survey we do, families can opt out,” Kilver said. “We never force students to take them if their parents don’t want them to.”
Also at the Oct. 20 meeting, the board reviewed the district’s plan for federal ESSER funding received by Pikeland in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kilver reported that the second round of ESSER dollars were being focused on infrastructure improvements that would allow for increased social distancing, as well as improved air quality and remote learning opportunities.
“With Esser II, we’ve made improvements to the high school HVAC system,” Kilver said. “We’re also adding an outdoor learning center with shade for C-Pod, so kids can get outside.”
The ESSER III plan, Kilver said, is still being finalized.
“We’re not quite done with ESSER III,” Kilver said. “We’re collecting surveys and input from parents. The money will be spent on infrastructure balanced with learning loss. We’re looking as busses, HVAC, summer school and tutoring.”
Kilver also reported that the board continued work on its mission and vision statement, as well as district goals.
“Despite all the things going on, we’re moving forward with setting academic and social/emotional goals for the district,” Kilver said.
Pikeland’s mission and vision statements are anticipated to be approved at the November board meeting. The draft statements are as follows:
■ Mission: We, as members of Pikeland CUSD #10, exist to enrich the wellbeing of our community.
■ Vision: We, as members of Pikeland CUSD #10, will foster a culture of learning by respecting, valuing and inviting each person to contribute to our community.
Following closed session, the board approved several personnel moves.
The board approved the following new hires:
■ Tina Fitzjarrald – custodian – South Elementary, effective Oct. 21.
■ Richard Graves – bus driver – special education route, effective Oct. 21.
■ Rob Cook – head wrestling coach – PCS.
■ Kent Davis – assistant wrestling coach – PHS.
■ Johnathan Peterson – head wrestling coach – PHS.
■ Stephanie Steele – speech coach – PCS.
In addition, the board approved the following volunteer coaches:
■ Noah Gay – assistant volunteer boys basketball coach – PCS.
■ Jack Palmer – assistant volunteer boys basketball coach – PCS.
■ Mitchell Barton – assistant volunteer wrestling coach – PHS.
■ Derek Oitker – assistant volunteer wrestling coach – PCS.
■ Johnathon Rumple – assistant volunteer wrestling coach – PCS.
■ Steve Watkins – assistant volunteer wrestling coach – PHS.