South Dearborn Students Take To Chromebooks In The Classroom
(Aurora, Ind.) – South Dearborn Community Schools have invested over $400,000 in its technology initiatives the past few years.
School district leaders are hoping that the investments pay off with more efficient learning, better test scores, and a renewed connection with the community.
“We are very pleased with advances in our technology-related services over the past few years,” says South Dearborn Schools superintendent Dr. John Mehrle.
This month, students and parents have started taking notice of the implementation after the past handful of years planning.
“Our technology director, Brian Sturgeon, has provided outstanding leadership and implemented infrastructural changes needed to support a 21st century learning environment,” said Mehrle. “It’s not the glamorous part but it does need to be done right. The infrastructure underpins everything else and if it is not done correctly you will have all kinds of problems when you introduce devices to students and heavily use the Internet.”
Mehrle said issues such as inadequate access points and bandwidth can render technology useless, a pitfall Mehrle has seen other schools trapped by.
Grants – $80,000 from the Dearborn Community Foundation and $25,000 from the Rising Sun Regional Foundation – have allowed South Dearborn Schools to launch a pilot 1:1 electronic device initiative this year at South Dearborn Middle School. Each student has received a Lenovo Chromebook for use at school and at home.
“Both foundations give a good deal money to our schools. This directly benefits our kids, and I am very appreciative of their good work,” Mehrle said.
The 1:1 initiative has been off to a good start since South Dearborn welcomed students back to class earlier this month. The superintendent praised middle school principal Matt Maple and assistant principal Andy Marine as well the business planning by administrative assistant Eric Lows.
The district plans to launch a 1:1 device program for high school students next year. Mehrle said South Dearborn is also using more iPads at the elementary and is letting a 1:1 plan evolve at that level as well.
Professional development of staff is ongoing, and of great importance, Mehrle says. Five-Star Technology Solutions has been hired by the district to provide ongoing planning and professional development.
“Technology can be a huge waste of time and money if people don’t know how to use it and if it is not driven by sound teaching and learning objectives,” Mehrle states.
The school district is also proud of its new website at http://www.sdcsc.k12.in.us/. Mehrle hopes the public will enjoy the new look and find it to be user-friendly.
“We spent over a year and one-half on the design and brand,” Mehrle said.
Visitors to the school sites will also find the monthly school podcast. South Dearborn’s new tag line appears at the top of the website:
“South Dearborn Community School Corporation: Success Driven. Grow. Excel, Achieve.”