Thursday, August 17, 2017     Volume: 18, Issue: 24
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Santa Maria Sun / School Scene

The following article was posted on August 9th, 2017, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 23 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 18, Issue 23

Guadalupe District to provide all students with digital tablets

Guadalupe students are in for a year of virtual excitement. Each student will be receiving a technology toolâ€"iPads for kindergarteners to second graders and laptops for third through eighth gradersâ€"as part of the Guadalupe Union School District's One-to-One Technology Initiative.

The initiative, its title meaning one piece of technology for every one student, is part of an overarching, statewide goal to enhance California students' learning environments with the help of technology.

"I've had a lot of concerned parents ask if their kids will be on the computer all the time," Superintendent Ed Cora told the Sun. "No, these pieces of technology are just a way to assist in learning. It's improving and increasing academic achievement."

How best to prepare for the launch of the technology initiative was the focus of a Leadership Think Tank on Aug. 4, where district administrators, board members, technology team members, and other teachers discussed the future of the district at Mary Buren Elementary School.

District leaders explored acceptable policies, looked at ways to create and build upon the new technology culture, and discussed the most beneficial ways to promote student learning by integrating devices into the school environment.

To provide the school district's 1,300 students with digital tablets cost nearly $400,000, according to Cora, which is funded by voter-approved bond money from Measure N. Students will receive new tablets in rounds every three years, and an insurance policy will be offered to parents in case of damage or loss.

Cora said teachers will receive "professional development" training throughout the school year.

"If we don't provide that to teachers, the technology can just be a glorified pencil," Cora said.

Multilingual and Migrant Education Program hosts summer classes, counseling 

Nearly 600 English learners and migrant students attended optional classes and services provided by the Multilingual and Migrant Education Program (MMEP), a curriculum designed to help students recover course credits and stay on the path to graduation.

Staffers provided morning and afternoon sessions, according to a Santa Maria Joint Union High School press release, where students from Santa Maria, Pioneer Valley, and Ernest Righetti high schools worked on improving their study habits, received counseling, and were given college and career readiness tips from the Center for Employment Training.

"I learned what it is to be held accountable and refocus on my studies even though I work full time," student Veronica Hernandez said in the release. "I believe it is important to not give up and know that everything can be accomplished if you put your mind to it."

Righetti English teacher Maritza Olguin said she was impressed that so many students made education a priority during the summer months.

"I was so proud of my students who made it to school every day despite working into the wee hours of the night,'' Olguin said in the release. "They are to be commended for helping their families out financially, while at the same time keeping up with their studies."

MMEP Director MarĂ­a Larios-Horton said the program could not have been successful without everyone's dedication.

"It was incredibly rewarding to see a team of educators and support staff come together to put on a program that will ultimately give our students a greater chance of success in high school," Larios-Horton said in the release. "It is even so much more rewarding to see the students enjoying their time at summer school when they could be at home."




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