WARSAW — Warsaw Community Schools continue to move forward academically and technologically.
At the board’s regular work session, held Tuesday evening, March 8, Warsaw Community High Schol social studies teacher Jeff Grose updated the board on the new high school social studies curriculum. The school has chosen Pearson, largely because of its integration of technology along with textbook learning.
“If we can get technology into everyone’s hands, we’re really going to see some growth,” Grose said.
The curriculum, he added, is user-friendly and can be updated on a daily basis, giving teachers access to new information they can incorporate into their lesson plans as the need arises. Pearson also offers Advanced Placement options for students wishing to participate and take the AP test in May.
As far as technology, the board also heard an update on the schools’ 1:1 initiative to have an iPad in the hands of every student in grades 5-12. WCS Chief Technology Officer Brad Hagg presented sustainable payment plan for the program at the lowest possible cost to parents.
The goal is for every student in grades 5-8 to have an iPad Mini and for all students in grades 9-12 to have an iPad Air2. Students will have the option to take these home with them as their own at the end of eighth and 12th grades, at which time all school firewalls and security codes will be removed.
Old tablets that students do not claim can be reallocated and refurbished for students in kindergarten through fourth grade, Hagg said.
The idea is for parents to pay less than $50 for the iPad Minis and less than $60 for the iPad Air2 tablets. The plan also contains provisions for students participating in the free and reduced program.
Dani Barkey also gave an update on ISTEP testing, which is currently in its second week. Third-graders will also take the IREAD later this month. Barkey noted that the schools have not experienced the technology glitches characteristic of last year’s test.
Last year’s test was distributed by McGraw Hill, while Pearson is handling this year’s test, Barkey said. She added that WCS was able to report a glitch to Pearson that they did not know existed. When a student hit a certain key, it would bump them out of the test.
Barkey also thanked the WCS technology department for being on top of any problems that have been reported and has a program to keep track of what each building has been experiencing.
“When we have had issues, it goes on that sheet and it has been fablulous,” Barkey said. “The state has actulaly asked us if they can have a look at it.”
She added that the state may use WCS as a model for other schools in the state as far as ISTEP troubleshooting.
“It’s a very tiring time throughout the school corporation,” WCS Superintendent Dr. David Hoffert said. “Our teachers and administrators have done a wonderful job trying to keep that tension away from our students.”
While there is no official opt-out policy in place for the test, parents can choose to have their students sit it out, though it does cost the schools.