School board adopts new technology plan
By Kitsey E. Burns firstname.lastname@example.org
YADKINVILLE — The Yadkin County Board of Education approved the 2014-2015 school calendar at its meeting on Feb. 3. Students will return to school from their summer break on Aug. 25, according to Tammy Miller, administrative assistant to the superintendent.
The 2014-15 school year will end on May 29 and will have 15 optional teacher work days, which may double as inclement weather days during the winter months.
In addition, Myra Cox officially was named as assistant superintendent for Yadkin County Schools at the meeting. She was previously serving as the chief academic officer and interim assistant superintendent since the retirement of Donna Boyles in October. Cox will continue to serve as director of High School Curriculum and director of K-8 Curriculum.
The board also approved the new District Technology Plan. According to Career and Technical Education Director Kathy Hughes, the focus of the updated plan is to create more “21st century learners.” As part of the new technology plan, students will have access to Chromebook laptops computer for use both in the classroom and at home.
A grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation provided the funds to purchase the Chromebooks, which were tested in a pilot program in the English classes at both Forbush and Starmount high schools. The Chromebooks were distributed to all Forbush students last month and full implementation of the program for Starmount is expected for August 2014. As soon as additional funds are available, Chromebooks will be distributed at the Yadkin Early College, middle and elementary schools.
Students are charged a $45 leasing fee, which includes an insurance policy that will cover one damage incident. Payment options are available for students who need help covering the costs of the device. Students also may choose to bring in their own device such as a laptop, tablet or iPad which may be set up to access the same information as the Chromebooks.
“Each teacher has access to the learning management system,” Hughes explained. “They can put assignments, videos or activities for the students in the system and the student has access to that 24/7.”
Students can work in groups and collaborate with students at other schools and even other countries, Hughes said.
“It is such a globally competitive world because of the internet so our students need to know how to function in that global society,” Hughes said. “I want them to be successful and if we don’t keep up with level of technology it will hurt them when they go to college or prepare to join the workforce.”
Another benefit of this new digital technology is the ability for teachers to offer multiple learning tools to fit each pupil’s various learning style.
“If you have a student who is an auditory learner and they are studying the Civil War, they can listen to a recording of the Gettysburg Address instead of just reading the text,” said Hughes.
Response from the program has been positive so far and Hughes said a survey of students will take place soon to better assess the success of the program.
Kitsey E. Burns may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.
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