When the school year begins in August, each Batesville Community School Corp. student in grades K-12 will have some sort of tech device after trustees voted Jan. 20 to continue the 1:1 (one computer for each student) initiative.
BCSC leaders will complete the last round of Apple leases for 7-inch iPad Minis for Batesville Primary School kindergartners through second-graders and 9-inch iPad 2s for Batesville Intermediate School students in grades 3-5.
Superintendent Dr. Jim Roberts said he wants students to become so familiar with the technology that they will be able to use the devices to take ISTEP tests.
He thanked the leaders who have worked hard on this project: George Junker, CREATE (Committee to Review, Evaluate and Aid Technology in Education) Foundation chairperson; instructional technology curriculum director Jackie Huber; information technology support director Mike Weiler; BIS principal Dr. Jere Schoettmer; and BPS principal Heather Haunert.
The 1:1 effort began when Batesville High School teens received 11-inch MacBook Air laptops in August 2012 and Batesville Middle School students started using them in August 2013.
Despite this upcoming investment, “we’ve been able to keep book bills very reasonable,” Roberts assured.
Before the vote, trustee Wanita Linkel asked if the server is powerful enough to handle all devices. Yes was the short answer. The superintendent said technology has been or is being upgraded. For instance, bandwidth capacity has been doubled.
Three recent grants totalling $18,750 will supplement BCSC learning efforts. A $10,000 STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Education Program Grant from Bemis Co., Neenah, Wis., a global plastic products manufacturer, will be used for the purchase of tools, materials and equipment for Project Lead the Way at BHS. Principal Andy Allen said the dollars will be used to help sustain the program, which continues to grow. “It’s our most popular elective for kids.”
The BCSC IT Department received a $5,000 Lightspeed Systems Foundation Grant for teachers’ stipends to work on developing the 1:1 initiative during the summer.