By Erin Eschels
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer
Bonds have passed in Waverly Community Schools, Okemos Public Schools and East Lansing Public Schools that give them money to purchase and update their technology. On Feb. 18, the Ingham Intermediate School District Board of Education discussed what the future looks like for these districts.
Waverly Community Schools normally functions on a 5-year cycle of replacement for instructional computers with secondary equipment being replaced in between. Now, with extra money to spend, Waverly’s Director of Technology Al Momrik said, “We hope to continue to purchase technology equipment for classrooms, such as interactive boards, document cameras, projectors, DVD burners, etc. Moreover, mobile carts of iPads for student instruction will be replacing computer centers.”
The Waverly school district has computer centers at every school with at least 28 machines per location. In addition, every staff member has a desk computer for staff use only and printing.
The Okemos bond will mean about $7.5 million for technology, security and transportation.
According to Superintendent Dr. Catherine Ash’s blog, Okemos schools will use almost half the money for individual devices for every student in the district.
“Recognizing that we must prepare our students for the 21st century, a committee of school staff, parents and community members researched the topics of personal learning devices, Smarter Balanced Assessment, online learning, digital textbooks, and the Common Core State Standards,” wrote Ash. “A plan will be implemented to provide our students with an age-appropriate computing device to access the curriculum and extend learning opportunities. Learning will become even more individualized, promoting the success of each child.”
East Lansing Public Schools also have big technology plans, which are set to begin as early as the summer.
The main aspects of East Lansing schools’ goals are the updates of various equipment including the telephone system, classroom audio and video tools, clocks and PA speakers, and the switch to Microsoft Network.
The district is also working to improve cameras around East Lansing Public Schools. This would involve the replacement of cameras at the high school, as well as install additional external cameras at the elementary schools. Cameras are important to the students’ security, updates are scheduled to be done as early as April.
Though the bonds have passed and these districts will be getting new technology, according to Ingham County schools’ Director of Information Technology Services Daryl Tilley, the schools will not be getting everything at once, and certainly not be as quickly as East Lansing’s April camera project.
“It may take a few years for the districts to actually get all the new technology. Waverly will be getting their technology over the next three years, while East Lansing will be ongoing the next few years as well, and Okemos will have their technology replacements phased-in over about four years,” said Tilley. “It will definitely be exciting and a great change for students in the community.”