It was a heavy technology night at the Skyline Board of Education meeting as the Board considered the school going paperless and voted to expand Sawyer Virtual Academy to add K-5 grades making the academy a K-12 school.
The Board is going paperless at their July meeting. At the Monday night meeting the board got a taste of what it will be like for the students when Skyline Technical Coordinator Kim Ghumm brought in iPads for each member and walked them through several possible plans on how to get iPads and minis into the hands of students using the iPads.
The Board made it clear they want the technology available to the students. Now they must decide how to implement getting the technology into students hands, said Mike Sanders, Skyline Superintendent.
Several plans were presented but the most popular plan was in the 2013-2014 school year to provide students in 5-8 with iPad 3s and 9-12 with iPad minis.
Funds to pay for the new equipment can come out of the text book fund since the iPads and minis will take the place of text books.
With over $78,000 in the text book fund and an additional $22,000 to $23,000 coming into the fund each year from the state plus about the same from Rural Educational Assistance Program, the school can cover the cost of the equipment without having to touch the Local Option Budget.
The school is also in touch with the Goodland school district about purchasing their refurbished iPad 3s at a $350 savings for just $149 apiece, Sanders said.
This is not yet mandated and the board is seeking feedback from teachers and patrons before they vote on the matter.
On another technology field, the Board voted to expand the Sawyer Virtual Academy to include grades K-5 making the academy a K-12 school.
Julie Ewing, Sawyer Virtual Academy director, said the new students would use the Culvert program that provides all the materials necessary for the student for the entire year.
The materials are not cheap at $2,100 per student per year. But the base student aid would easily cover the cost of the program so the district would cover the cost of the materials, Ewing said.
The program has a very intense curriculum but Ewing is a certified teacher qualified to handle the program.
Parents would have to have some training and students would be accountable to the parents and the district.
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