officials are eyeing the next steps in implementing its one-to-one
initiative, which aims to provide every student with an iPad device.
Duneland School Board meeting, Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Jim
Goetz said that idea is to have new iPads in all the second grade through
six grade classrooms in the 2017-18 school year. Google Chromebooks that
were purchased and currently being used for third and fourth grades in
Duneland will be given to seventh and eighth graders at Chesterton Middle
School so they can work with technology.
Goetz said the
district technology committee met in April and after some discussion,
recommended that the schools “move towards a shift in our thought process to
the kind of device that we are going to utilize,” specifically a new version
of the iPad.
The devices would
have students complete their lessons with a digital platform rather than
using printed textbooks.
In the school year
that follows, the goal is to have iPads for every student in grades K-8. By
the 2019-2020 school year, he said the hope is for the high school to have
their own devices but time will tell what that device will be, said Goetz.
“The device that we
are looking at in the high school probably doesn’t even exist yet,” he said.
President Kristin Kroeger said she was concerned about how the change would
affect fifth and sixth grade teachers.
In the audience,
Westchester Intermediate 5th Grade teacher Bobbi Hall said teachers were
initially “shocked” to learn they would be using iPads but after hearing the
views from the technology committee, they are now “excited” about the
the Middle School said they are preparing to adapt their curriculum to the
Chromebooks, a type of laptop device that many schools use. “We’ll be happy
to have any device that is given to us,” said CMS Principal Mike Megysi.
Director Kevin Wilson said the main difference between the two devices is on
an iPad you can download apps to use offline while the Chromebooks require
an internet connection nearly all the time as a browser-based device.
“We have more
ability with the iPad for the students to create content,” said Wilson.
Goetz said next
year the iPads would stay in the classroom but later students could be
allowed to check them out to take home.
Kroger was also
interested in how the Chromebooks have been working in grades 3 and 4.
Principal Christy Jarka and Bailly Elementary Principal Kevin Zeck said they
have made efforts to use the technology in their curriculum.
“I see more
consistency now. I think we are still trying to figure out the best way of
how to make (technology) more meaningful in the classroom,” Zeck said.
Goetz asked the
board how they would like to proceed as he hopes to purchase the iPads for
next school year. Kroeger and the other board members said they would like
more time to consider the plan and how it could be supported financially.
“I don’t personally
like taking a loan out without addressing the sustainability of the program.
I think we have some work we need to do with this,” Kroeger said.
Vice-President John Marshall said that the board has been wanting to be a
“We are all
invested in this. We want e-learning and taking the units home. I’d like to
phase it in. We just haven’t had the chance to talk about how the financing
would work,” he said.
The board hopes to
have a decision soon but it has been occupied with the task of finding the
next superintendent, Kroeger said.
Updating further on
the process to pick Schools Superintendent David Pruis’ replacement, Kroeger
said the board is interviewing the remaining three candidates for the
There was a total
of 36 applicants and the search consultants narrowed the list down to six.
The board met to interview those candidates the third week of April and will
spend more time talking the three they’re still considering.
There will be more
meetings this month as the search wraps up, she said.
Pruis’ last day
will be June 30 and the new superintendent will start July 1.
In another update,
Marshall said he is tracking 16 different legislative bills that could have
some impact on Duneland.
The Indiana General
Assembly session has ended but there are a few bills that are still in
committee or on their way to the Governor’s desk.
Three of the bills
getting most of Marshall’s attention include Senate Bill 35 that gives
school corporations the ability to evaluate teachers with objective measures
of student achievement. The bill passed on first reading and is still in
committee which may make minor modifications to it, he said.
SB 409 signed by
Governor Holcomb states that collective bargaining in a school corporation
may not begin until Sept. 15 instead of the previous date of Aug. 1.
The other bill is
SB 34, passed on first reading but not yet signed, which requires background
checks for all school employees, to be conducted every five years. Marshall
said there will likely be changes made to the final version of the bill.
“Things are going
to move fast and furious before July 1,” he said.