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BOE approves ViewPath system for secondary schools, new math textbooks
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All middle and high schools will soon have the new ViewPath technology, a fully integrated audio-video solution that combines Audio Enhancement’s audio systems, Security Alert for Education System and classroom and hallway cameras, as the Newton County Board of Education approved purchasing the more than $1.5 million system at its last board meeting due to a discount.

The board accepted the bid by Audio Enhancement for Classroom Audio, SAFE, ViewPath, and a Front Office Alert System for all secondary schools for a purchase price of $1,528,958.50. The system was approved for the new Newton High School for $513,002 at a March board meeting.

According to Newton County School System officials, due to end-of-year discounts offered by the manufacturer, Newton County had the opportunity to save $80,471.50 as a result of a 5 percent discount if a purchase order was generated and delivered by May 1.

The ViewPath system provides a number of teaching tools and enhancements, which include distance learning and/or coaching, lessons for homebound students, classroom remediation and emergency notification, after-hours motion sensing and enhanced classroom audio for teachers, students and media.

New math textbooks
Elementary school students will learn the basics of math from a new textbook next school year as the Newton County Board of Education approved purchasing close to $650K worth of new textbooks for kindergarten through fifth-grade students.

The BOE approved for enVision Math Common Core Standards edition 2012 textbooks by publisher Scott Foresman-Addison Wesley, to be used for mathematics in grades K-5 at its April 16 meeting. The total cost for books is $649,984.86.

Math textbooks were last purchased for elementary students in 2007. In 2012, student math workbooks were purchased for elementary students to bridge the gap between the current textbooks purchased in 2007 and the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards — a set of core standards adopted by Georgia for kindergarten through high school students to provide a consistent framework to prepare students for success in college and the workplace.

Lee Peck, Newton County School System’s executive director for school improvement, said following the locally approved process for the selection of textbooks from the state adoption list, teachers met and reviewed the curriculum in relation to the proposed textbooks, and decided on the enVision Math Common Core Standards edition 2012 textbooks.

In other business, the board approved renewing several contracts. Ice cream will be served again at schools next school year as the board approved renewing a contract with Blue Bell Creameries in Jonesboro for $65,000 for ice cream and related products. The effective date of the renewal will be April 24 and the expiration date will be April 23, 2014.

The board also renewed an annual contract with ByteSpeed, LLC of Moorhead, Minn., for the purchase of computers and related devices. The renewal will be from April 24 to April 23, 2014. The estimated contract value is $1.2 million. The bid includes all planned projects and anticipated needs throughout the school system.

BOE members approved the continuation of a contract with Renaissance Learning for STAR student assessments in the areas of early literacy, reading and math for $177,160.24, to be paid with combined funds from the elementary, secondary and technology budgets. The contract also includes the Accelerated Reader program, a software program used to engage students in reading and to assess their reading comprehension abilities.

According to NCSS officials, STAR assessments data ensures teachers have access to reliable and valid data for reading and mathematics, which help them to make instructional decisions and monitor student progress.

In addition, the board also approved renewing the Thinkgate Software contract for the administering system-wide benchmarks and common assessments in grades 1-12. The total cost of the contract, which includes 19,100 licenses, access to Measurement Incorporated’s assessment item banks, and professional learning, is $119,600.

The Thinkgate Software gives users with a comprehensive tool that allows them to monitor student learning the of recommended curriculum at the classroom, school and district level.