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FPS Approves New Laptops At Board Meeting

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The Fremont School Board passed Monday an approval to purchase new laptops for teachers and administrators. The motion involved the district applying in August for the emergency connectivity fund or ECF, a program set up by the FCC to assist schools with remote learning during the height of the COVID pandemic.

On Oct. 25, the district received its funding committed decision letter which allocates more than $156,000 to be used for the purchase of new laptops, specifically utilizing an I3 processor. This was done in an attempt to help staff continue with aspects of virtual learning and in the event of another lockdown, give teachers functional equipment to continue to teach students.

“What we found in the shutdown of 2020 was that when teachers tried to do class sessions with our Chromebooks, the devices didn’t have enough processing power to host zoom sessions as well as share additional resources,” said Cliff Huss, director of information resources at Fremont Public Schools.

“We recognize that the Chromebooks were designed for simply internet browsing. They were not designed to host zoom sessions,” Huss said. “If we ever have to shut down again … we want to make sure that they have something that will function.”

The board also passed the approval to receive a $4,000 donation from Fremont Altrusa which was granted by Altrusa International to be given to the Urban Tiger. The Urban Tiger is an organization that houses toiletry supplies, clothing, shoes, and coats for middle school level students in need. The program has experienced an increasing number of students who need supplies since the 2019 flood and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is definitely very generous of Altrusa,” said Scott Jensen, executive director of secondary operations at FPS.

Three speakers from the general public came forward to voice their concerns to the board.

Tammy Rensch, a science teacher at Johnson Crossing Academic Center, raised concerns about the recent ELL (or English Language Learning) changes at the school.

Rensch talked about how recent professional development days showed videos focusing on the increase in ELL students to the district over the past few years.

“Even with this change the ELL staff at Johnson Crossing was moved from two teachers to one. We were also supposed to have two ELL paraprofessionals, but one job opening still remains unfilled,” she said.

Rensch said even with the increasing ELL population, for the past three years Johnson Crossing has only had two full time ELL teachers.

“One worked with sixth grade, one worked with fifth grade,” Rensch said.

A mother, who remained anonymous out of privacy concerns, raised an issue with both of her sons being stopped and searched by the same teacher at the high school on suspicion that the two students had marijuana.

She said neither she nor her husband were notified about the search taking place.

One of her children was pulled out of class and searched recently, while the other was stopped from leaving the bathroom about a month ago, with both instances not being reported to the parents.

She asked for something to be in place so that parents know the process of searching students without law enforcement present.

Kaitlyn Hanson, a concerned community member, raised issue with the school about what she cited is the lack of accountability surrounding the recent allegations of a sexual assault at Fremont Middle School.

Hanson asked the board what policies are in place for handling sexual assaults at the middle school level.

“Are there any repercussions to the staff members who so grotesquely mishandled the cases or who sent the student back to class after being sexually assaulted in the hallway? How is that OK? What is happening to these staff members,” Hanson said.

These recent allegations are still developing, but specifics of the case have yet not been discerned. Fremont Public Schools issued a statement on Saturday about the allegations.

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