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By KEVIN KOELLING
TELL CITY – When the board of directors for the Perry County Learning Academy got to the fourth item on their Jan. 15 agenda, the resignation of Carrie Guillaume as program assistant, Executive Director Mike Bishop said her approximately18 months of service to the alternative school is about normal.
“If you go back over time and look,” he said, “we’ve been fortunate enough to have a lot of good people that have helped us over the years, and … with the exception of one or two, that’s usually about their tenure.”
For some, Bishop said the alternative school is “a stepping stone, if you will, until a job becomes available, and you can’t blame them.”
“No, we do that with our aides,” said Lynn Blinzinger, superintendent for the Tell City-Troy Township School Corp., and one of the two board members. He explained employing certified people as aides allows the school system to determine if they’d be good teachers.
Guillaume’s resignation was effective Dec. 12, “about the time she was going to start her position at Perry Central,” Bishop said.
The board, which also includes Perry Central School Superintendent Mary Roberson, also approved the employment of Joann Benjamin as a program assistant beginning Jan. 2.
“I’d like to say welcome to Joann Benjamin and thank you to Carrie Guillaume for the service that she provided for the last 18 months or so while she was here with us,” Bishop said.
Guillaume is licensed to teach agriculture classes, which is unusual, Bishop said, “but if you knew Carrie, she’s fit for that. She’s got a green thumb.”
“There aren’t too many of them out there,” Roberson said.
The board also approved the renewal of Apex software used for online instruction. Bishop said the company worked with him to get all of the licenses on a single renewal rotation, which Roberson said saves some money.
Fifty stations are available between Tell City and Perry Central schools and the learning academy, Bishop said. He works to track the number of seats in use, he said, to ensure their efficient use.
“If we find that a student isn’t using that seat to its fullest potential, either through lack of progress, lack of session time or lack of effort, we can put that student on pause and free up that seat.”
A conference with that student may reveal things going on in his or her life that prevent them from putting forth their best effort, he explained, and going back to it later would work better.
“We can put them right back where they were and they don’t lose any of the work they’ve done,” he added, “so it’s not like they have to start over.”
The renewal cost, $200 per seat, hasn’t changed, Bishop told the board.
In other business, he reported the enrollment stood at 100 students, with 54 part-timers and nine full-timers attending from the Tell City district and 31 part-timers and six full-timers from the Perry Central area.
“That number continues to grow through the spring,” he said, as seniors realize they need to make up credits to graduate on schedule. He thanked Blinzinger and Roberson for their support of the online system.
“We continue to use Apex heavily,” he said. “Apex has allowed us to serve not only the traditional credit-recovery students, but it’s also allowed us to serve students who have scheduling conflicts … which is great for students who want to look at other electives or maybe upper-level courses that they’re interested in that may not be offered within your buildings because of staffing and that kind of thing. I can’t say enough good about it.”
Students earned 56 credits through the fall semester, Bishop said in continuing his report to the board. Twenty-one were in English, 15 in social studies, 12 in math, six in science and two in electives.
The total “seems to be consistent from semester to semester,” Bishop said. “It just proves that there is a continuing need for students either to get themselves back on track or use this program for what we’ve already mentioned, scheduling conflicts for students who are nontraditional to the program.”
The board scheduled its next meeting for 10 a.m. May 14 at the Schergens Center in Tell City.