Schools moving with iPod Touch plan

First Posted: 12/15/2009

The Mount Airy City Schools Board of Education agreed at Tuesday nights meeting to move forward with a proposal that would provide iPod Touches to students in the school system.
The plan approved at the meeting would allow phase one of the program to commence with the identification of 57 teachers in fifth through ninth grades who would receive a laptop and an iPod Touch. The teachers would then undergo three days of staff development in the spring and three days of staff development in the summer to learn how to operate the equipment and how to incorporate it effectively into the classroom.
This addresses six of our existing board goals that you established, said Dr. Darrin Hartness, superintendent, of the iPod Touches. I can see a lot of different things coming out of this.
There was a great deal of discussion among the board members about how the implementation would work and whether or not it would be worthwhile. However, the decision to move forward with phase one was unanimous.
Its just a step you take. Its just like SmartBoards overcame blackboards, said Mike Hiatt, board member.
What this could do is elevate the whole. This gives us another way to enhance that knowledge, said Tim Matthews, board vice chair.
I think the big strength of this outline is the number of students it touches, said Hartness. This can also have a big impact on economic development in our community.
Hartness also spoke to the board about the Race to the Top application the state is completing. Each school system has been asked to sign off on the application in order to allow North Carolina to have a chance at receiving $400 million over four years.
Race to the Top is President Obamas administrations version of the No Child Left Behind legislation. Whether the new legislation would replace NCLB or simply augment it is unclear at this time. If North Carolina were to receive the funding as part of the first round of implementation, half of the money would go to the school systems while half would go to the state level. Mount Airy City Schools would probably receive around $90,000 per year for the four years.
I really see this as being the agenda of this administration, said Hartness, noting that the state would have to switch to the new methods eventually whether or not it receives the funding.
In other business, a number of people were recognized at the meeting. The Mount Airy Middle School girls tennis team was recognized for winning a sixth straight conference title. The team has a 64-match winning streak. The Mount Airy High School girls tennis team was also recognized for winning the Northwest 1-A conference championship. Matus Kriska, though absent from the meeting, was recognized for winning the state cross country championship.
B.H. Tharrington Primary School was recognized for being named a Piedmont Triad Education Consortium Signature School on Dec. 4.
Bob Meineke and Steve Lindsley were recognized for helping to sponsor the Rotary Clubs compassion fund. The fund has provided more than $1,800 to the Mount Airy City School System to purchase clothing and other necessities such as school supplies for students who need assistance.
Contact Morgan Wall at [email protected] or 719-1929.

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