G-L staff, students get education on new tools
That’s because teachers and students will be getting an education in learning how to use the technology properly.
They will be tackling the concept of “digital citizenship,” which is designed to keep students as well as adults from misusing or abusing technology.
“We’ve made a significant investment in technology programs through upgrades and the recruiting of staff,” said Superintendent Joan Groening, noting the district purchased 365 laptop computers last year and hired Katri O’Neill as the technology director.
The board also OK’d the purchase of iPads for elementary and middle school students on July 16 after voters in the district approved a $1.91 million technology bond in May.
“Last year we had the structure in place to integrate the technology into the curriculum and classrooms, but we needed to train the students and their families,” Groening said. “The parents and students need to be informed about appropriate protocol and use.”
Groening said the first half of the school year will be spent on familiarizing students with the digital citizenship concept.
“After the students learn the expectations of the practice ... that you don’t take compromising photos and send it or misuse language, they will get to take them home,” Groening said.
Groening said there was a lot of prep work done already, but there will be additional rights and responsibilities that students and their parents will have to accept before using the technology at home.
The new iPads will be available for students in fifth through eighth grades.
“Some people view these as their toys,” Groening said. “We see them as engaging tools.”
Groening said teachers spent 14 hours last year outside of any other professional development to focus on technology goals and its application to curriculum.
Teachers will spend an additional 14 hours of professional development working with O’Neill on the digital concept as well as direct curricular activities.
“By the third quarter, teachers will have done enough education to begin adapting the technology to the curriculum objectives,” Groening said.
On the eve of the new school year, Groening noted most teachers and staff are “excited” about getting back to work.
“Although teachers didn’t have to report until this week, the building has been full of people for a while,” she said. “There’s a lot of activity.
“There’s enthusiasm and eagerness for the teachers and the anticipation is very high for students, too. I think they’ll be excited with the new tools and improvements in the facilities.”
Still the start of school means the end of another gorgeous summer vacation.
“It’s tough to see a Leelanau County summer go,” she said. “So I can’t say that everybody is eager to come back.”
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The district has hired three new teachers. They are Lisa Migazzi, Ashley Larimer and Matt Soltysiak.
Migazzi will be a fourth grade teacher. She had taught at Grand Traverse Academy and was also a long-term substitute at Glen Lake.
Larimer will be taking over as the new districtwide music director. She replaces Pat Niemesto, who retired two years ago. Larimer, who has taught the last three years in the area, will teach music appreciation and music literature and start a K-12 choral group.
Soltysiak will teach secondary Spanish. Soltysiak, a former TV 7 and 4 broadcaster, taught at GTA and was a long-term substitute teacher at Glen Lake.
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About 805 students, this year’s projected enrollment, will also see more new carpeting as the district completes a three to four-year project.
“Right now our enrollment is stable,” said Groening, who said the district has even turned away some prospective students. “805 is historically what our building was built for.”
Groening said the district has held its own in enrollment because of its community school atmosphere, the support of the community and reasonable class sizes.