by Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer
A comprehensive five-year technology plan was approved by the Royalton School Board in June. It sets in motion a process to provide iPads to every student in the district by the end of the five years.
A committee comprised of Supt. Dr. Jon Ellerbusch, Elementary Principal Dr. Phil Gurbada, Secondary Principal Joel Swenson and Technology Coordinator David Lemm formulated the plan.
Currently, every teacher in the district has an iPad as well as one for each special education student and special education paraprofessional.
Beginning with the 2013-2014 school year, an iPad Mini with a case will be given to all students in grades five and nine, with six iPads put into all kindergarten through fourth-grade classrooms.
“Those students receiving an iPad in grades five and nine will keep their assigned iPad to use during the school year for four years,” Ellerbusch said. “When those ninth graders graduate, they will have the option to purchase their iPad. When the fifth graders complete eighth grade, their iPad will be redistributed to pre-school and community education. For their ninth-grade year, they will be issued a new iPad.”
For the 2014-2015, 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 school years, iPads will be given to all students in grades four, five and nine.
The used fourth-grade iPads will be passed down to lower grades each year, as the fourth grade students move into fifth grade, where they receive a new iPad.
Going forward, students in fourth, fifth and ninth grades will continue to receive new iPads as the cycling of up-to-date technology continues.
“At the end of the five years, every student in the district will be using their own assigned iPad,” said Ellerbusch. “The five-year cycle was designed to get ‘full life’ out of the technology tool and to be fiscally sustainable for years to come.”
Lemm, who is employed full time by the district and works at both buildings, is a 2009 graduate of St. Cloud State University. He was an Apple certified technician working for Tech Check in Sartell prior to his employment with the Royalton School District.
“I would really like to see everybody work together to make all the different pieces of technology that we have work,” Lemm said. “One big purpose of the iPad phase-in plan is organizational. Making assignments paperless will be saving the district money.”
Other business to come before the Royalton School Board Monday included:
• Approving the June meeting minutes with one change reflecting that the hold on negotiating until October was at the request of Royalton Educators Minnesota;
• Approving the increase of some meal prices by 10 cents, following federal mandate to bring prices up. All regular lunch prices, high school breakfast and adult meals will rise. “We are still lower than some surrounding districts,” said Business Manager Mary Plante.. Director Tom Justin voted no, “I supported an adult increase, but I think we charge enough for the students;”
• Tabling discussion of hiring Springsted Financial Services as financial advisers, due to a possible conflict of interest if they are tied to the bond process, as a proposed contract indicates; and
• Hearing a recommendation from Justin to turn on the air conditioning during the predicted days of high humidity and 90-plus degree heat so the cleaned carpeting dries faster without mold. “With the carpets being steam-cleaned, money spent now would be much less than cleanup later,” said Director Jim Block.
The next meeting of the Royalton School Board will be Monday, Aug. 19 at 7 p.m. at the high school.