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South Harrison nears ‘implementing’ technology

Melissa Pogue, Five-Star Technology Solutions’ director of eLearning, last week shared results of a survey conducted in September that dealt with how much and how well technology is used in classrooms in the South Harrison Community School Corp.
In all, 139 classrooms were visited, and 22 focus groups, which included teachers, students, parents and administrators, were interviewed.
The presentation was made to the school corporation’s board of trustees last Tuesday at the Edmund (Ed) F. Schneider Administration Center in Corydon.
The study showed that 83 percent of teachers said students collaborate with their peers and 42 percent of teachers said they allowed students to be creative in classrooms.
Pogue said 62 percent of teachers say their students use their laptops in class at least once a week, with administration telling surveyors they are nervous about adding additional devices to the network because they believe the IT department is understaffed.
Nearly 80 percent of teachers say they use technology multiple times a day.
In the upper grade levels, many students are utilizing Google Drive as a virtual classroom and using Google Hangout, which is a way to group message in a streamlined way through Google’s mail service, Gmail.
Pogue said there are four levels of attainment by which school corporations are measured, with the base being ‘investigating’ and the next level being ‘implementing.’ Based on all of the results, she said, South Harrison is in the top end of investigating and almost to implementing.
‘Considering where some other school corporations are, that’s good,’ Pogue said.
In another matter, transportation director Mike Key said 45 school bus and four shuttle bus routes are under contract negotiations. He said he’s hoping to have a completed proposal by Feb. 3.
Tami Geltmaker, director of Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment at South Harrison, made a presentation regarding Common Core state standards.
She said that a quarter of all high school students in Indiana are prepared for all fields in college, meaning most students went into college unprepared.
‘Thirty-five million dollars was spent by students in remediation (community college) and, of those, fewer than 25 percent earn a degree, which figures to about $27 million a year that’s wasted,’ Geltmaker said. ‘That’s why new, critical-thinking skills, why a formula works, how to problem solve, are so important. We want our students to be critical problem solvers by the time they graduate.’
Dr. Mark Eastridge, South Harrison’s superintendent, said that it’s a given that test scores will go down as new Common Core tests are given. The problem, he added, is right now instructors don’t know what the test looks like.
‘This will be a huge step up in what we are asking our students to do,’ Geltmaker said. ‘We want our students to be prepared regardless if they are going for a two-year or a four-year education after high school.’
In another matter, the board granted permission to authorize the administration to utilize the services of Michell Timperman Ritz Architects for the creation of plans and specifications for the renovation of the kitchen and cafeteria at South Central Junior-Senior High School.
The project will be phased in over time as funding allows, Eastridge said.
After the meeting concluded, there was a reception for outgoing board member Joyce Bliss, who chose not to run in the General Election. Prior to the meeting, there was a moment of silence for late board member Vicki Engleman, who passed away last month prior to her term ending at the end of 2014. Her husband, Richard C. (Dick) Engleman, was in attendance as a resolution of appreciation was given in her honor. Bliss also received a resolution of appreciation.

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