LACONIA — The Laconia School District’s 1:1 Computing Initiative for eighth-graders attending Laconia Middle School is exceeding all expectations, Laconia School Board members were told Tuesday night.
According to Dr. Alison Bryant, LMS Academic Coordinator of Teaching and Learning, the program is not really about the HP Stream computers each eighth-grader was issued at the start of the school year, rather it’s about the critical learning skills that students are developing through their use.
Bryant said the computers are being used as a supplement to the school’s curriculum.
Using digital study tools and digital textbooks, students are experiencing learning from a new perspective, she said.
Jess Roberts, a LMS eighth-grade science teacher, said students using the computers are able to collaborate more effectively on assignments and class projects and it has also allowed students that are out sick an opportunity to stay current or catch up rapidly on work they have missed in class.
The 1:1 initiative extends to subjects such as Science, Social Studies, Mathematics and Language Arts and is opening up new educational experiences that traditional classroom experiences doesn’t offer.
Students can now share documents simultaneously for group evaluations and group discussions or to receive and complete homework assignments. They can participate in “flipped classroom” experiences, where students receive lessons on their computers the night before the teacher introduces the topic in class, giving them some familiarity with the material ahead of time and more time working directly with the teacher in the classroom to master the lessons.
“I’ve seen a ton of growth in this year’s kids,” said Shannon Siegler, a LMS eighth-grade Language Arts teacher. “Students are starting to transcend the classroom and become global thinkers.”
Ward 3 School Board Member Scott Vachon said he’s a big fan of the 1:1 program.
“I like the approach that we’re taking here,” Vachon said. “I like letting them take the initiative on their own. This is exactly what we want for our students.”
In other school board news:
•.The board received a comprehensive presentation from Joe Sampson, Woodland Heights School Special Education Teacher about his committee’s work on the district’s 21st century Learning Environment goals and objectives. Sampson said the program is ongoing and some ideas may not be fully implemented for the next five years, but the committee examined aspects of ensuring schools are safe, healthy, capable of easily adapting to new technologies and able to train teachers and staff to keep ahead of emerging educational trends.
• Board Chair Stacie Sirois told the board that the vacancy created when Assistant Superintendent Kirk Beitler accepted the position as the new superintendent of the Gilford School District has been posted and applications are starting to be received. Sirois said a screening committee will review the applications and she expects to schedule interviews later this month for the position.