Archive for Thursday, February 14, 2008

Plan foresees student laptops

February 14, 2008

Students enrolled in the Basehor-Linwood school district in grades six through 12 could be part of a technology wave that grants each of them laptop computers as part of the everyday curriculum.

Michael Kravets, director of technical services for the Basehor-Linwood school district, presented a District Technology Plan at Monday night's school board meeting. The part of his plan that received the most discussion in the meeting was the laptop initiative.

Kravets said the idea has been discussed in the Basehor-Linwood school district for a while. In a best-case scenario, the plan would begin in the 2009-2010 school year, although the school board hasn't budgeted the plan.

"This would give a laptop to each student, from the sixth grade to their senior year," Kravets said. "When sixth-graders leave (middle) school, they would get a new laptop as a ninth grader. Every kid at all levels would have access to this sort of technology. That's the long-term goal."

The budget projection estimated a $300,000 cost per year for the Apple iBooks, which would cost roughly $1,000 each.

Kravets mentioned that other districts, such as Kansas City, Kan., and select districts in Wichita, have effectively put the idea into practice.

The Kansas City, Kan., Public School System leased 5,000 Apple MacBooks to high school students in November last year.

Specifics still have to be worked out. For instance, board member Doug Bittel asked how students who already owned laptops would fit into the plan. Board president Randy Cunningham brought up the fact that other laptops, such as machines from Hewlett-Packard, would be more affordable.

The board will decide if it wants to approve the plan next month.

"Project Lead the Way" receives 7-0 approval

Sandy Guidry, director of curriculum and instruction, introduced members of the board to Project Lead the Way, a curriculum that teaches science, technology, engineering and math to high school students.

Project Lead the Way is a non-profit organization. It wouldn't cost the district anything to register with the curriculum. The state is currently funding Project Lead the Way.

"We're talking about students in the top 80 percent of their class and students who are good in math and science and interested in being an engineer or a technologist," Guidry said. "It's for the student who is willing to work hard. A rigorous pre-engineering curriculum equals opportunities for students."

Each yearlong course would be worth three college credits. Courses include introduction to engineering, principles of engineering, digital electronics, computer integrated manufacturing, civil engineering and architecture, biotechnical engineering, aerospace engineering and engineering design and development.

In the engineering design and development course, the student would partner with an engineering or technology firm outside the school, work on solving a problem for the entire year and then present the findings.

The board approved the curriculum, 7-0, to begin in the 2008-2009 school year.

In other action Monday night, the school board:

¢ Approved, 7-0, Board of Education Policy GAAACA: Nepotism for first reading.

¢ Approved, 7-0, Board of Education Policy Chapter J: Students, Part II for first reading.

¢ Approved, 7-0, Board of Education Policy DC: Fraud Protection for first reading.

¢ Approved, 7-0, Board of Education Policy J: Students, Part I for final reading.

¢ Met in executive session for approximately 50 minutes to discuss matters pertaining to non-elected personnel and negotiations.

¢ Renewed contract for Assistant Superintendent David Howard for the 2008-2009 school year.

¢ Approved, 7-0, the appointments of William Price and Michelle Snider, high school custodians; the resignations of Randy Hickman and Mike McCoy, high school custodians, and Mary Sheridan, Linwood Elementary School third-grade teacher; and the retirement of Karen Liljestrand, Basehor Elementary School first-grade teacher, and Linda Lynn, Glenwood Ridge Elementary School fourth-grade teacher.

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