Feedback positive on technology push at New London-Spicer, Minn.
NEW LONDON -- The New London-Spicer School Board received an update at the regular meeting Monday on the implementation and upgrading of the district's technology from three key members of the district's technology team.
Dan Rajewsky, technology coordinator for the district, reported that there was a big push to finish the summer's work of re-wiring the district's buildings, installing Smartboards in each classroom, improving audio amplification systems and setting up iPads and carts before school began last week.
"It was an honor to do the work," Rajewsky said after Board Member Helena Lungstrom noted she'd seen him working at the school each evening while she waited for her child to complete tennis practice. "It was great to see the smiles on teachers' faces," he added.
Board member David Kilpatrick noted that he'd received good feedback from elementary teachers on the new equipment installed in their classrooms over the summer. "Classrooms have been transformed," Kilpatrick said.
The work over the summer was the beginning of three years of improvements funded by the $1.5 million technology levy approved by district voters in the November 2011 election. This year's work included installing 58 interactive whiteboards, upgrading the high school computer lab and the massive wiring project, among other projects.
Raymond Norton, the district's part-time technology director, who is also a technology specialist for the Little Crow Telemedia Network, noted that the district is in an admirable position with the improvements.
"Many schools would be envious of New London-Spicer," he said, noting that some of the districts in the 19-district network are working on upgrading their data capacity to the level that NL-S left behind with the cabling project.
Kim Robison serves as a middle school math teacher and as the district's technology integration specialist. She is the teacher who teaches other teachers how to use the equipment and software. Robison, who is new to the district and divides her time equally between math and technology, is doing training sessions with teachers, having conducted a Smartboard training session for 80 teachers before school started.
"The staff seems to be ready to jump in and get their hands dirty," she said.
Robison's goal is to focus on the Smartboard training, giving teachers information in smaller increments that are manageable, and then move on to training on the iPads.
Board chairman Robert Moller urged the trio to inform the board if more teachers need more help with learning the technology and implementing it in the classroom.
"Technology doesn't do us any good if we don't know how to use it," he said.
The board also heard a report from Superintendent Paul Carlson that there were 1,410 students in school on Sept. 4. The district had budgeted for 1,412 students this year. Last year, on Oct. 1, the district had 1,427 students and ended the 2011-2012 year with 1,405 students. The enrollment number is expected to grow slightly as students register for high school at the district's Alternative Learning Center.