Focus on Technology: ‘Bringing 21st century skills into every classroom’
By Pixie Sulser
The doors to the 2011-12 school year open in Ramona schools on Monday, Aug. 29, with a continued dedication to college and career readiness and an increased focus on technology in and out of the classroom.
“The board has adopted a heavy set of priorities for the upcoming school year,” said district Superintendent Dr. Robert Graeff. “Chief among the instructional priorities will be a focused approach to bringing 21st century skills into every classroom in the district.”
The school district recognizes the value and use of the personal mobile technology that is available to students and has a new policy, known as mLearning, regarding the use of personal mobile communication devices.
Assistant Superintendent Dr. Cathy Pierce explained that parents will receive a letter regarding mLearning the first of the school year and will hear more about Cyber Citizenship and what that means throughout the year.
The mLearning policy states that “RUSD believes the use of mobile devices (smart phones, iPods, ipads, Nooks, Kindles, laptops, etc.) can enhance the students’ educational experience, however, it may not disrupt the teaching and learning process.”
“With the explosion of ‘anywhere, anytime connectivity’ made available through mobile technology, students have many learning opportunities and modalities not available just two years ago,” said Graeff. “Learning how to use these new opportunities to their fullest can help engage students deeper into their learning, plus give them a better preparation for the changing world of work.”
The start of a new school year can be an exciting time at all levels. While the students have been busy swimming at the pool, visiting with friends, working summer jobs or simply relaxing, district principals and staff members have been busy making plans for an even better school experience.
At Hanson, students who completed reading projects over the summer will be eligible for a prize drawing sponsored by the Hanson PTA and Target stores.
“The prizes include bikes, skateboards and other fun items,” said Principal Shelagh Appleman. “The drawing will be held the second Monday of the school year.”
Hanson families will also have a change in the school’s compact day, which will now be on Fridays. The school schedule will run Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:05 p.m. and 8:30 a.m. to 12:35 p.m. on Friday.
Approximately 60 Ramona Elementary students received a jump on the school year through a four-week, half-day program aptly titled Jump Start, shared Principal Phyllis Munoz. The program ran from July 18 to Aug. 12 and focused on math, reading and writing.
“Attendance was phenomenal,” said Munoz.
James Dukes Elementary
James Dukes Elementary welcomes a new principal, Pauline Leavitt, formerly assistant principal at Olive Peirce Middle School. Leavitt speaks with excitement about the James Dukes community.
“James Dukes is an exceptional school because we have exceptional students, parents, and staff members,” she said. “Our staff believes every student who walks through our doors is college bound. It may seem that talking about college in elementary school is premature, but the reality is that our students need to embrace the ideology that they are lifetime learners — now.”
Mt. Woodson Elementary
The staff at Mt. Woodson Elementary is already off and running, having recently returned from two days of “very valuable professional development with Turn Around Schools,” shared Theresa Grace, school principal.
“This year the Mt. Woodson staff is excited to share our new Commitment to a Culture of Universal Achievement with the Mt. Woodson community,” said Grace. “We are also excited to be able to pilot some exciting new technology at our school. It’s going to be a great year at Mt. Woodson.”
Barnett Elementary is also putting some new technology to use as well as building on what they already have in place. Principal Kim Reed shared that staff members have received training on interactive whiteboards as well as Kindles, which were donated by Damen and Lara Lopez. All teachers are moving from the old-fashioned overheads to LCD projectors and document cameras allowing interactive learning to take place at all grade levels.
“We are also investigating the potential that iPads clearly hold for our school,” said Reed. “Our existing iPad pilot has been a huge success, and we hope we will be able to expand that program. As the new year starts, we are extremely excited about getting back to the business of educating tomorrow’s leaders.”
Ramona Community School’s principal is enthusiastic about a new technology tool obtained through a grant from Turning Technologies.
“We were awarded a set of handheld student response system devices,” said Carol Tennebaum, RCS principal. “Through this system, teachers will be able to construct questions in any content area, poll students, track individual responses, determine strengths and areas of need as well as store the data to integrate with other assessment information.”
Olive Peirce Middle
Olive Peirce Middle School already utilizes a variety of technological tools in its classrooms, but parents may now follow the Professional Learning Community on the social media network, Facebook. Information is available on the school’s website.
According to Principal Tony Newman, the focus at Ramona High School will remain on the preparation of students for college and career pathways.
“Our vision over the past five years has been on preparing our students to meet the challenges and decisions of college and/or career, and that dedication will not change,” said Newman. “The benefits of 21st century technology will simply enhance our focus.”
“Montecito High School is dedicated to student learning,” said Principal Cynthia Nakhshab. “Therefore, we are implementing a trimester program this year.”
The trimester program will allow students to earn 75 credits a year rather than the traditional 60 credits per year. Students who wish to graduate early or who need to recover credits to graduate on time may earn additional credits online in the school’s daily afternoon program.
As Aug. 29 approaches, students and parents are encouraged to check their school’s website for more detailed information regarding start times, necessary school supplies, Back-to-School night dates, and other details pertinent to a particular school site.
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- Four schools have ‘new’ principals
- RUSD Promotions & Graduations
- Enrollment continues to drop
- Graduation/Promotion Schedule
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