08/18/11 The Plymouth Schools Technology Department staff has had their hands full in preparing for the upcoming school year that starts on Wednesday. Among other items, they have readied nearly 1, 300 computers that will be distributed to staff and students atPlymouth High School. Students will keep the MacBooks during the school year as part of the one-to-one learning initiative. Not only are they permitted to use them during regular school hours, but they will also be able to take them home as well.
Last year, students at Lincoln Junior High received computers for individual use. It took a few months to compete agreements with students and parents on the proper use and responsibilities of the computers before they were allowed to carry them outside of the school building.
During the Plymouth School Board meeting on August 16, Bruce Johnston, technology director for the corporation, said one of the concerns at the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year at LJH was how well the students would care for the computers. Johnston said, “We insured them with a third party. Over the year, there were only 22 accidental damage claims made. “That is pretty good on over 600 computers.” he said.
According toJohnston, the staff at LJH was distributing computers on Tuesday night.
Johnston indicated that the agreements were included in the registration this year for students at PHS and LJH to speed up the process.
Johnston recognized Ben Waymouth at PHS for his help in getting the computers ready for use. Additionally,Johnston said there will be students (referred to as Genius Kids) helpers who have been trained in the use of the MacBooks in the media centers. Johnstonsaid, “They will be the first line of defense for both students and staff.”
Second graders will be provided with MacBooks for use during the school day. Johnstonsaid they had previously used laptops with second graders, but the teachers found that the small screen in them provided some difficulties.
Board member Larry Pinkerton asked what was being done to accommodate substitute teachers in terms of computers. Johnstonsaid that they had built in extra computers that will be held in the media centers. He said substitutes will be able to check them out just like a library book by using a bar code.
In other matters, the board accepted resignations of Chad Miley, PHS business teacher; Kevin Stuckmeyer, Riverside computer teacher; and Valerie Drudge, Webster 1st grade teacher. Miley has accepted a position in administration in the South Bend area. Stuckmeyer was hired byLaVilleJr.-Sr.High School to teach business. Drudge has secured a teaching position in Mentone where she resides.
Superintendent Daniel Tyree gave each board member a copy of proposed administrative guidelines for corporation testing for all systematic assessment programs, including both traditional and standardized multiple-choice tests, performance assessment, and tests given by the classroom teacher when the results are used in the performance evaluation of the teacher.
Tyree said last year around the state there were multiple teachers who were terminated from employment after improper testing procedure were used.
Although much of the guidelines deals with securing testing materials, there are also portions directed at test preparation. One item being considered reads as follows: “Only limited time should be spent on test preparation. Teachers should be addressing their curriculum during class time.” The board was asked to review the proposed guidelines and make suggestions for changes if necessary.
Carol Anders Correspondent