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Mequon-Thiensville bolsters its technology plan

Students better prepared for college, jobs

May 27, 2013

Mequon — The Mequon-Thiensville School District now has an updated technology plan in place for the next three school years.

Following a recent report from Information Technology Manager Jeridon Clark, the School Board voted to approve the 2013-2016 Information and Technology Plan for the district.

The plan, developed by the district's Technology Committee of administrators, Instructional Media Center specialists, teachers and parents, identifies five main goals, Clark explained. Those goals focus around ensuring implementation of a professional development plan, provision of technology tools and instruction to prepare students for college and careers, continued development of technology infrastructure, awareness of digital citizenship for ethical and responsible technology use, and the role of IMCs in advancing district technology plans.

In his report to the board, Clark highlighted the district's technology infrastructure as a primary strength, noting that the district has been taking steps to increase its number of technological devices.

Buying more laptops

This year the district will purchase an additional 60 Chromebooks, affordable laptops that mainly support Web applications, for each elementary school, Clark said. The hope is that the district can continue to do that over the next two years, Clark said, to help support the goal of allowing two full grade levels to simultaneously complete online standardized testing at the elementary level, and one full grade level at the middle school level.

Although the backbone of the district's technology infrastructure is still Mac-based, Clark said, Chromebooks are a more economical way for the district to increase its number of devices.

"We're doing what I think is a reasonable, appropriate effort in order to make sure that our students have the devices they need," Clark said.

Superintendent Demond Means recalled that the board's foresight in choosing to invest in the district's technology infrastructure nearly four years ago, then a controversial decision, has provided the district with the capability to expand its infrastructure.

The district is currently operating with a bandwidth of 120 megabytes, Clark said, which has been reliable. It will be seeking to increase that likely in the 2014-2015 school year.

Teachers need training

Clark noted that the district also plans to take steps to improve professional development in the area of technology, which has been a frequent topic of discussion among IMC specialists, who are integral to technology education for both students and staff.

"The whole idea here is that in order for our staff to adequately and appropriately use technology, they need to be trained. They need to know how to do it," Clark said.

Board member Stephanie Clark said that she was struck by the evolving nature of what it means to be an IMC specialist and how important their role is in teaching effective use of technology, which was reflected in the report.

The complete 2013-2016 Information and Technology Plan can be found under the May 20 Board Packet Reports, at www.mtsd.k12.wi.us/board/boereports.cfm.

AT A GLANCE

The Mequon-Thiensville School District's technology plan takes into account its technology vision statement, which states that through the use of technology the district is committed to:

· providing students with authentic and meaningful learning opportunities conducted in an ethical manner for academic, social, personal and work-related activities.;

· supporting all staff in the effective integration of technology to enhance the quality of teaching, learning and assessment;

· providing efficiencies in time and work;

· and, enabling more effective communications within the entire school community, including students, parents, staff and residents and businesses in Mequon and Thiensville.

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