Leland students get jumpstart on new technology
Every child in grades 5-12 was issued an iPad tablet computer on Aug. 22. In kindergarten through fourth grade, the ratio will be two students per iPad.
At the “tech summit,” students not only received their new mobile devices, they also received brief classes on “responsible use” of the iPad, learned how set up their own iTunes accounts for Internet access, and learned how to download various educational apps that will be provided throughout the school year.
“Students may sync their own music and educational apps to their iPads so long as they meet our Internet Safety Policy,” Leland superintendent Jason Stowe explained. “The kids will have nearly two weeks to play with these devices and become familiar with them before school begins. “We’re very excited about how much this technology is going to improve student learning this year.”
In previous years, students at Leland were issued laptop computers, but the program is expanding this year to include even more students — and even newer technology.
Leland principal Charlie Gann said a few other changes are in store for the coming school year.
The school will have one new teacher this year which it will share with St. Mary School in Lake Leelanau. All of last year’s teachers are returning.
New Spanish teacher Sandra Proctor will teach Leland students as well as St. Mary’s students this year. She recently returned to Michigan from a stint working in Buenos Aires, Argentina, teaching English as a second language to students there. Hailing from Rapid City, Mich., Proctor is a graduate of Central Michigan University.
“The maintenance staff has been hard at work and you can see their efforts throughout our campus,” Gann added. “The grounds are spruced up and looking great. They gym has a fresh new look, and there is new paint, carpeting, and windows at both ends of the building.
“We are ready and waiting for the halls to fill with students on Sept. 4.”
Gann said the school will continue to pursue a robust program of bringing exchange students into the school. This year so far, there are five inbound exchange students, coming from Turkey, Norway, Thailand and Vietnam.
In addition, the school district has three outbound students going abroad: Isabelle Scott, who is going to Bolivia, and Flannery Johnson and Savannah Gross, both going to Germany.
“We are always seeking host families for our inbound guests,” Gann noted.
Leland welcomes as many exchange students as can be provided accommodations, he said. Anyone interested in hosting an exchange student may contact Gann or school board member Janine Fierberg through the school office.
For budgeting purposes, Leland Public School officials anticipated a total population of 485 students this school year — the same as last year.
Bus routes will remain essentially unchanged.
The schedule for secondary school students will change slightly this year at Leland. Last year students met every day for each class. This year, the school will employ a “hybrid” block period system.
The first hour of each day will be an A/B day block period that is 72 minutes long where classes meet every other day. Periods 2 through 6, will meet every day for 50 minutes. The daily “advisory” or “study hall” period will be in the fifth period rather than the middle of the day as it was last year.
Gann said the new schedule will ensure that some of the more challenging classes and classes that require a longer instructional period will be held at the beginning of the day. The new schedule will also accommodate the continuation of “late start Wednesdays” at Leland.
School starts at 8:20 a.m. most days, but begins at 9 a.m. most Wednesdays, allowing for weekly teacher in-service conferences. Because the new first period of the day is scheduled for 8:20 a.m. until 9:32 a.m., students will not miss an entire class period even on a “late start Wednesday” when first period will be extended until 9:42 a.m.