December 27, 2012 | Vol. 116 -- No. 36

Policy allows staff to use personal devices

Teachers in the Medical Lake School District are now approved to bring their own personal electronic devices for use on the district’s Internet servers.

At the school board meeting, Tuesday, Dec. 18, Superintendent Pam Veltri noted that this was just part of the changing of the times.

“That’s the main change we were talking about, with staff,” she said.

The district’s technology department would need to make sure the personal device is up to date with antivirus software before use in the school.

Part of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math grant the district received earlier this year involves students using iPads in the classroom.

Students must still use school computers to access the Internet in the classroom.

"Our goal in the technology minutes was to develop goals to move to that this school year. Last year we were looking at the research on it and moving in the right direction," Veltri said.

High school principal John McSmith presented some of the upgrades made to the school’s website, most of which are currently viewable from the home page.

“This is about five hours old,” he said at the meeting.

In large part, the upgrade features a number of different pages that show statistics relating to various tests offered, enrollment numbers, Advanced Placement test offerings and the overall mission of the school. One of the pages shows scores on recent SAT and ACT exams. McSmith said Medical Lake High School has a composite score of 34 on the ACT, and an average in the 700s on the SATs. The district also offers the opportunity for students to take practice tests, in order to get their timing down on certain sections, to prevent them from being stuck on one question while letting half of the test remain unanswered.

“There is an art to it,” he said of taking the exams.

Schools, he said, are needing to start promoting the idea of going to college to students before they reach the high school level. Even if it’s something simple as talking about mascots, the earlier a child begins to think of life after high school, the more prepared they tend to be. To help facilitate the idea of transitioning after graduation, the high school has hung college banners in the main entrance and college representatives are a regular sight on campus.

“Our goal is college readiness,” McSmith said.

Also at the school board meeting, the school board and Veltri praised the middle school for a good holiday concert performance earlier this month.

Rod Von Lehe was nominated to remain president of the school board for another year, with Julie Albright serving as vice president. The board nominated Peggy Schweikhardt as its legislative representative and Ron Cooper as its WIAA representative for athletics.

Veltri shared a story from the Huffington Post that mentioned some investors were looking at ways to involve private companies in education.

“Investors are looking at our K-12 public education system as an investment opportunity not the opportunity that our forefathers wanted for every citizen to be educated in a fair and equal system,” she said.

The article mentioned companies that were looking at a possible distant future of education where schools would outsource basic tasks within the district, like instruction of some classes or writing report cards, to private vendors.

James Eik can be reached at james@cheneyfreepress.com.

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