The board’s tour of Blythe-Bower is one in an ongoing series of visits to city school facilities.
“Students here will be successful because they know the teachers care,” Kiser said, commenting on the “heart for students” that teachers and staff have.
Kiser said the band is a “wonderful program” partly made possible by the students from Lee University, who help out with it.
Their strength in the area of growth on the annual report card is an indication that the school is doing their job, according to Kiser.
However, one of the challenges for the school has been continuing growth and development of students who are only with them a short time.
“Our big challenge is those kids who are with us one whole year, getting those kids, who are transients where they need to be,” Kiser said.
Board member Evelyn Rockholt said the overall growth of students, even with several transient students, is a credit to the teachers at Blythe-Bower.
Board member Dr. Murl Dirksen asked about parent involvement at the school. This year for the first time a group of parents has stepped up to take over the PTO.
“They’ve been very excited, very involved to get several things going,” Kiser said, commenting that the PTO recently had a membership drive.
While technology was listed as a strength of the school, Kiser said staying on the cutting edge and upgrading equipment will be a challenge. Active boards have been a been a big part of integrating technology into the classroom. Kiser said the important thing was to only purchase technology that benefits the student.
Dr. Rick Denning, director of schools, said he would like to see some innovation with technology. Denning said technological knowledge is important to success especially for at-risk students.
Kiser said the students are excited about technology. One third grade teacher is exploring different ways the iPod Touch can be used in the classroom, she said.
The board also discussed how Blythe-Bower prepares students for middle school. Board chairman Peggy Pesterfield asked if the school had any way of helping the students make the transition. Mike Chai, the administrative intern at Bythe-Bower, said that the fifth grade is set up similarly to a middle school class. Students are also taken to the middle school to meet the teachers and to talk with other students who update them on expectations and dress code.