The vision of each Enumclaw School District teacher having a laptop for professional use, of each Sustainable Classroom having an interactive board, projector and document camera and of teaching staff well-versed in not only using the equipment but integrating it with regular lesson plans is coming to fruition.
According to a report from Terry Parker, district director of curriculum, instruction and assessment to the Enumclaw School Board Monday night, teachers began receiving their laptops immediatly after spring break.
Equipment installation began this week at Sunrise Elementary, Black Diamond Elementary, Byron Kibler Elementary, Enumclaw Middle School and Thunder Mountain Middle School.
There is a small hold up in getting Southwood Elementary, Westwood Elementary and Enumclaw High School hooked up as those three campuses will be receiving electrical infrastructure upgrades first -- set to occur this summer.
Training also begins this week for staff from each building who were hired to serve as support for their respective schools as well as model the use of the equipment and serve as liaisons to the district office, he said. At the district level, Bob Kilmer has been hired part-time as the district instructional technology facilitator (ITF) and is working with administrators, principals and teachers to implement the technology in the classroom.
Ultimately, each teacher will receive 10.5 hours of training to learn to use the equipment, Parker said. The district, along with Kilmer and representatives of Advanced Classroom Technologies (ACT), will help teachers to then figure out ways to integrate the technology into their lessons and fully utilitize the equipment, Parker said. (See company website)
"I'm thrilled to death this is becoming a reality," Parker told the school board.
The training time was made possible by the unexpected state waiver of two school days during January's snow and ice storms.
School Board member Corey Cassell, said that Tahoma School District has been using technology like this in the classroom already. "It's exciting for the teachers to catch up with their colleagues in other districts," he said.
Superintendent Mike Nelson said in his weekly correspondence to the education community this week that administrators are further looking into the use of interactive 'clickers' for instant student feedback as well as classroom sound systems.
"We believe we are improving teaching and learning and student engagement using technology that will be able to sustained after over time," he wrote.
This effort to build up Sustainable Classrooms in the district is the second phase of funds implementation following the voter-approved Capital Facilities and Technology Levy in 2009, Nelson said. The first priority was the replacement of the roof and heating and ventilation systems at Enumclaw Middle School and that project was completed just under its projected budget, he said.
Parents will have an opportunity to see the equipment in action during fall open houses at each school next academic year and during a district bus tour in November, Nelson said.
In Other News:
No Big Cuts: Nelson said it was a "huge relief" when the state legislature wrapped up its special session last week and no big cuts were headed to Enumclaw School District. Additionally, kindergarten enrollment was up this year so he hopes the district has "turned a corner" on falling enrollment.
Board president Chris VanHoof thanked local legislators Sen. Pam Roach, Rep. Cathy Dahlquist and Rep. Chris Hurst for advocating for K-12 education. "We were unscathed and it feels like they fought for us," he said.
Tim Madden, district director of business and operations said he remained wary of existing funds and is still ensuring that staffing aligns with enrollment numbers.
Interagency Agreements: The board passed a resolution permitting district administrators to enter into agreements with other school districts in order to provide services for students with special needs. District director of student support services Aaron Stanton offered as an example that the district works with the Puyallup and Tacoma school districts to provide a program for the deaf to Enumclaw students. Other services include behavioral support, speech/language and physical therapy, he said.
Donations: The board approved a $956.17 donation from Southwood PTA to Southwood Elementary to purchase the National Geographic Magazine; and $2,500 from Catholic Health Initiatives to the district for a second phase of Rachel's Challenge to be implemented at Enumclaw High School as a program to accommodate incoming freshmen. A donation of $1,000 from Farwest Fabrication noted last month was intended for the EHS Crites Scholarship rather than the Special Education Firewall Grant.
Certification Staff Proclamation: Nelson presented Denise Kellogg, a counselor at Enumclaw High School with some gifts of appreciation and said that May 7 to May 11 is Certification Staff Appreciation Week. Nelson also lauded the partnership between the district and the Enumclaw Education Association.
WASA Honors YEAS: Nelson said the school districts in the various regions that make up the Washington Association of School Administrators choose a member or group to honor each year and this year they will be honoring the for its work with Enumclaw Stadium. As head of entertainment, he has invited the Enumclaw High School men's choir to perform at the ceremony on May 18.
Former Board Member Passes: Nelson and the board offered their condolences, thoughts and prayers to the family of Leo Hardersen who passed away on Thursday, April 14. (Read his obituary at Weeks' Funeral Homes)