JACKSON CENTER — Big things are happening at Jackson Center Local Schools.
In addition to the progress being made on the construction of the new part of the school, advances are being made in the area of technology.
“We want to make sure we reach all students, and all their abilities. We want to put out 21st century kids here; teach them communication and collaboration, and how to work together both face to face and digitally,” Corinne Metzger, technology teacher at Jackson Center said.
That’s why the school is moving towards a 1-1 Chromebook model. By this time next year they hope to have every kid plugged in at school and at home. Airstream donated nearly $40,000 back in June for the eventual move to the Chromebooks.
“There’s two huge reasons for every student to have their own computer,” Metzger said. “So every kid has access to their assignments when they go home. And to really transform learning to help the students learn in ways that work for them.”
Students can really learn at their own pace with the Google Classroom tools available, she said. Instead of feverishly writing notes down in class and not really listening to the teacher, students can take down notes in ways that help them, like drawing. Teachers can assign videos, and other media to help the students learn as well.
“The platform has a prescriptive learning style. Students take pre-tests and it builds with the student,” Metzger said. “Differentiated instruction on a regular basis is what we want, so no student gets left behind.”
She said all students having computers will really transform learning, and teaching.
“The coolest thing is they will be able to collaborate and interact without having to email files back and forth, or using flash drives,” Superintendent Bill Reichert said.
On Friday, Sept. 9, Bob Wheeler, president of Airstream, visited the school to see what a classroom was using the Chromebooks for. One of Jay Liles’ social studies classes were using the computers to make presentations about Mesopotamia.
Right now the school has two carts of computers for classrooms to use when needed. Reichert said they haven’t decided if they will go from fourth grade or sixth grade and up with the 1-1 model, but they should be ready to implement the plan next school year. They will also keep several carts for the younger grades.
During Wheeler’s visit he also toured the new school building site. The estimate for the cost of the project is around $19 million; this was collected from a tax levy, grant funds from the state, donations, and some money from the board of education budget.
It will include a new gymnasium, stage, cafeteria, science and other classrooms, and an agriculture space with greenhouse. The new building will have a metal roof, air conditioning, and many windows to let in as much natural light as possible, Reichert said.
The 2017-2018 school year will start a little late for it will be completed in time.
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