Stanley Bean has been with the Franklin County School System for most of his nearly 40-year career in education, but when classes started Friday, it marked his first stint as director.
He explained his objectives in his new role at the system’s helm.
“I’m excited to be in this position and to have the support from the staff with everyone working together in a very positive manner,” he said. “I’m also very excited about the new school year as well.”
Bean said some personnel changes were made to smooth operations in a new school year.
He said that with his being named director, it opened up the director of student support services and facilities position he had held. He added, he bequeathed the position to Mark Montoye who will also be serving as transportation director — a position held by Brian Norwood.
Bean said Norwood, who had also been the infrastructure director, had more than he could handle with the two positions, so it seemed fitting to have Montoye, whose new title is transportation and facilities supervisor, assume the transportation director’s duties.
Bean said the changes did not require adding any positions.
Another key objective during the school year is to expand the system’s One to One Chromebook Initiative to the third-grade level and possibly to younger students in the second and first grades.
The initiative focuses on getting Chromebook operating system devices in students’ hand, so they can learn via laptop as opposed to the old-fashioned paper textbooks. The system started the initiative at the high school level and has been expanding it to lower grade levels as more money to fund it has become available.
The system got a helping hand from the County Commission last week when commissioners approved the 2017-18 overall county budget with an $800,000 increase to the school system.
Bean said the additional money was greatly needed. In addition to paying increased insurance and system operating costs, about $300,000 could be used to expand the Chromebook Initiative.
“We might be able to go as far as the first grade with it,” he said, adding that young children are virtually ingrained with computer technology and would be able to adapt to using Chromebooks at the earliest grade levels.
“I really appreciate the County Commission voting for it,” Bean said, referring to the funding increase to the school system. “They see the future of education, and our educational foundation needs to grow. Their vote was a vote for the children of Franklin County.”
Bean said the system will maintain its focus to improve grade school reading programs. He added that children should be literate by the time they reach the third grade, which has been easier said than done.
“We always talk about it, but what are we doing about it?” he said. “We are continuing with our staff to get the kids reading by the third grade.”
The system has taken an active role at the high school level to get students involved in the STEM program, an acronym for science, technology, engineering and math, to prepare them for high tech jobs in an evolving technological world.
However, Bean said the focus fell short of meeting some students’ objectives.
The program is being expanded into STREAM, an acronym for science, technology, reading, engineering, arts and math.
“We’re expanding it to include a reading focus,” Bean said, referring to diversifying the program. “Our goal is to emphasize all of it.”