Bond funding amplifies SJ school district’s technology usage

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

ST. JOSEPH — According to the St. Joseph school district’s technology director, the series bond that voters OK’d earlier this year has already started doing its job.

Bryan Parsons gave board members his annual technology plan Monday at E.P. Clarke Elementary during a SJPS board meeting, including a look at how technology has benefited students.

Using the tech bond, Parsons told trustees the district has purchased 40 new iMacs, 30 new iPads, 220 new Chromebooks and additional access controls to all elementary schools.

“Assess to technology has become a big thing at our district. Everyone has access to a device,” Parsons said. “In the classroom, the programs we use have kept the focus on the instruction, and not the device.”

With the One-to-One program, Parsons said there are now more devices at Upton Middle School than there are students. The program has helped the BYOD initiative – known as Bring Your Own Device – take off at the high school.

On the wireless network at the high school, Parsons told board members more than 2,000 devices are in use daily.

“It’s a busy network, but we have a great infrastructure,” Parsons said. “We’re very lucky to have it.”

He said the plan moving forward is to focus on website compliance and find more resources to expand teacher training.

Superintendent Ann Cardon said it’s been amazing to see how students have reacted to using technology in the classroom.

“We pride ourselves on our use of technology,” Cardon said. “We have spent a lot of money on technology, but it’s something used every day in every classroom.”

Other agenda items

EP Clarke Elementary Principal Michelle Allen gave a presentation on what her school has been doing to close the gap with other schools.

The board also recognized the boys tennis and girls gold team for their accomplishments this fall.

Also, the Nov. 14 school board meeting was cancelled. The next expected meeting is Dec. 5.

Contact Tony Wittkowski at twittkowski@TheHP.com or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter: @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Nov. 8, 2016)

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