Basehor-Linwood sixth-graders getting iPads in fall
After years of discussion about embracing technology in the classroom, the Basehor-Linwood school board put its money where its mouth is on Monday.
The board approved, 6-0, a $126,000 new program to provide each incoming sixth-grader at Basehor-Linwood Middle School with an Apple iPad.
“We’ve been talking about 21st century skills in this district for almost the entire 21st century to date,” district technology director Michael Kravets told board members, “and we’re finally taking a step toward that goal.”
The program, which will run up a cost of about $126,000 for the 2012-13 school year, will include the purchase of the iPad tablets, software, servers and other necessary equipment as well as training for teachers to learn how to use the devices in the classroom.
The purchase is part of a plan to eventually provide each Basehor-Linwood student with a tablet or a laptop computer for use at school and at home, Superintendent David Howard said, with the laptops going to Basehor-Linwood High School students. But for next year, sixth-graders alone will use the iPads as part of a pilot program.
“We have to start somewhere,” Howard said.
If the program is successful, Howard said, the sixth-graders will keep their iPads during their three years at the middle school, and each incoming crop of sixth-graders will receive a new set of tablets. Allowing the students to keep the devices throughout middle school should increase the chances that students will take care of them, he said.
“We’re planning on that being their iPad for three years,” Howard said.
The district will insure the devices itself, Kravets said, by requiring students to pay a $50 annual fee to be able to take them home. Otherwise, they’ll have to use them at school only.
Howard said the iPads could allow students to spend more time working on collaborative projects and less time simply listening to teachers lecture. Collaborative skills, he said, are more valuable than ever in the job market.
“That’s what employers always talk about,” Howard said.
Also during Monday’s school board meeting:
• Assistant Superintendent Mike Boyd said preliminary state assessment results suggested the district should meet the federal Adequate Yearly Progress standard for 2011-12. Final figures will be released by the Kansas State Department of Education in October.
• The board approved, 6-0, an agreement with Opaa Food Management of Chesterfield, Mo., to be the district’s first private food-service contractor. The district chose Opaa from five contractors that submitted bids. The company made a presentation to the board in February when it was considering the possibility of moving to a private provider rather than purchasing food through the state.
Howard said the shift could save the district between $50,000 and $100,000 in costs in 2012-13 and increase school-lunch participation.
• The board approved, 6-0, a bid from Rigdon Flooring to replace carpets at BLHS, Basehor Elementary School and Linwood Elementary school at a cost of about $54,700. The carpet replacement made up the largest portion of about $112,000 in capital outlay projects that the board approved in a separate 6-0 vote.
• The board approved, 6-0, a change to the district’s 2012-13 calendar to move parent-teacher conferences back one week because of a conflict with a BLHS football game.
• The board approved, 6-0, a new three-year contract with Easton Bus Services Inc., which will increase costs by 3 percent in each of the first two years and 2.5 percent in the final year.
• After a 30-minute executive session to discuss nonelected personnel, the board approved, 6-0, the appointments of Kylie White as a kindergarten teacher at LES, Katie Chenoweth as a first-grade teacher at BES, Holly Dulaney as a kindergarten teacher at Glenwood Ridge Elementary School and Tyler Cordtz as head wrestling coach at BLHS; the resignations of Noah Simpson as BLHS social studies teacher and Chris Heatwole as BLHS science teacher; and the resignation of Gaylene Oberndorfer, Basehor-Linwood Virtual School secretary.