Dunleith principal Sarah Towler said when she previously worked for the system’s Title I program, she used iPads for the system’s Spring Break Math Camp.
“The different applications that we put on our iPads really enhanced and helped the skills that kids need for math,” she said. “It’s just a different way of teaching, just a different tool.”
And iPads, she said, are much easier to use than laptops.
“You can whip out those iPads so much faster than uploading, downloading, turning it on, having so many issues,” she said. “That iPad is so easy to use, and it’s so easy for a kindergartener to use it for phonics or a fifth-grader to use it for a novel. I mean, we’re a literacy school, and we’re looking at 21st Century literacy.”
Towler said the purchase would be made using federal funds and include training and a warranty.
The agenda item calls for the iPads “to assist in promoting literacy by providing students opportunities to experience ebooks as well as other content related applications,” going on to say that “students and teachers will be able to use these within their classrooms, during intervention times, Saturday School and after school activities.”
Towler did not offer any more specifics, but said the school’s teachers “have lots of after-school, before-school and kind of ‘flex time’ within the day that we teach little groups of students certain skills, and this will help enhance it by adding those skills to them.”
The iPads would be kept at the school, Towler said.
The board will also consider a recommendation from Superintendent Dr. Emily Lembeck to create a wireless network at Marietta High School.
The system’s magnet elementary, the Marietta Center for Advanced Academics, has been wireless since 2005. All of the students there are issued a laptop, which must be kept at school. Under Lembeck’s recommendation, the board would pay $9,808 to Suwannee-based Smart WAVE Technologies to replace the dated wireless system at the magnet school. Provided a month-long pilot reveals no kinks in the technology, staff would move to spend another $56,561 to turn the high school wireless by spring semester.
“We can use computers throughout the school rather than having access restricted only to computer labs,” high school principal Leigh Colburn said.
In other business, Lembeck is recommending the following:
* Approve an elective film course at the high school.
* Hire CSM, Inc. at $9,800 for a one-year contract to provide E-Rate consulting services for the system. E-Rate is a federal program that provides discounted funding for telecommunications and Internet access. The firm would advise the school system on its eligibility for E-Rate services.
* Adopt a policy for having an architectural ‘firm of record.’ Under that policy, the board would have an architect of record for projects that don’t exceed $1 million. For projects that do exceed that amount, the system would solicit proposals for architectural services. Moreover, architect of record fees would not exceed 5 percent of a project’s cost unless extenuating circumstances require board approval.
* Hear a presentation on the test scores taken by Hickory Hills Elementary School students.
* Approve a staffing agreement with Soliant Health Services through May 25, 2012, to provide two speech-language pathologists for special-needs students for a total cost of $162,000.
* Purchase a 72-passenger school bus from Rush Enterprises for $76,219.50.
* Approve an agreement with the group that runs the Head Start program out of the system’s Allgood Elementary School building through September 30, 2012. Marietta City Schools also operates three classrooms for special-needs preschool children at the facility. Under the agreement, Marietta City Schools offers the building space, while Ninth District Opportunity provides all the other costs, such as maintenance and utilities.
Tonight’s meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the boardroom, located at 250 Howard St. in Marietta.