In an effort to be more environmentally conscious, the Bexley Board of Education has decided to go paperless -- at least in part.
Beginning last week, board members used Apple tablet and laptop computers to surf through official business during their regular monthly meeting Nov. 11.
School board President Carol Fey apologized for what she called occasional "technical timeouts" as she and other board members worked through glitches in the system.
All agendas and support materials also are now available on BoardDocs, an online service that manages every aspect of the preparation, approval and distribution of documents associated with board meetings.
There were plenty of wrinkled foreheads, looks of confusion and head-scratching at the meeting. But it's all worth it, said Fey, who gave the system a hearty thumbs-up.
"Because as we get used to it, it will prove to be a terrific tool," she said during one of her "technical timeouts" last week. "I am already pretty excited about going paperless."
Although district officials say the shift to paperless meetings will provide cost savings, it did require an initial investment.
District spokeswoman Amy Thompson said the cost of the district-owned iPads being used by three board members (the other two opted to use their own devices) is $628 per unit. The BoardDocs contract costs the district $2,700 a year, with a one-time charge of $1,000 for training.
Despite the move to paperless, each board member still received a stack of paper during last week's meeting, albeit a smaller stack. Fey expects that to decrease in time.
Also at last week's meeting, Bexley High School's guidance department gave its annual report to board members. According to numbers provided by high school guidance counselor Stephanie Krosnosky, 81 percent of last year's graduating class is attending a four-year college; 9 percent entered a two-year college program; 2 percent entered a gap-year program; and less than 1 percent entered military service.
Board members were concerned, though, about a statistic Krosnosky brought to their attention last year, and whether there had been improvements.
As Krosnosky reported last year, an average of 60.8 percent of Bexley's 2006 alumni graduated from college within six years.
Broken down, she reported that 50 percent of graduating males who went to college completed their two- or four-year degree, while 69.3 percent of the females who set out for a two- or four-year college degree achieved that goal.
Even though the numbers are higher than the national average, Krosnosky said Bexley students can do better.
She said those numbers had not changed significantly for the class of 2007, according to the most recent data.
Board Vice President Marlee Snowdon said she would like the board to continue to get updates in order to keep an eye on the trend.
Also, in an effort to better inform students and parents during the course selection process -- and to cut down on the number of schedule changes each year -- the high school guidance department has developed informational sheets that compare regular and advanced coursework in certain subjects.
The class comparisons go so far as to work out math problems in both of the class's frameworks.
The new class comparison sheets are expected to be available in February.