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Schools to start getting more interactive whiteboards

Posted: December 18, 2011 - 12:03am  |  Updated: December 18, 2011 - 3:59am

Twitter @DonnieFetter

 

The Columbia County school board signed off last week on a plan to start replacing LCD projectors in classrooms with interactive whiteboards.

Interactive whiteboards, such as the Promethean boards already used in some classrooms, essentially project a computer screen onto a colorless background called a whiteboard. Teachers can manipulate the images from the whiteboard, using audio and video files to accentuate lessons.

The interactive whiteboards cost about $1,800 each, about double the cost of LCD projectors, Superintendent Charles Nagle told the board.

However, Nagle said, the whiteboards are cheaper to maintain.

Still, considering the expense, Nagle said the whiteboards would be introduced to classrooms on an incremental basis or as LCD projectors break down.

Depending on available funding, in the general fund and the 1-percent sales tax, Nagle said the whiteboards could be added to two or three classrooms each year.

“It just makes common sense, (considering) where we’re going in a technological sense,” board member Mike Sleeper said.

Many classrooms in the system already use the technology to great effect, officials said.

Also at the meeting, a group wishing to build an arts and science center in Evans asked the school board to consider leasing them part of the property at Bel Air Elementary School.

The group wishing to build the Arts and Resource Center said they’d like to build the facility on a 5-acre site in the northeast corner of the 16-acre property, near wetlands.

Nagle said there are “tremendous legal questions to ask ... before we travel further down that road.”

The board has said they intend to sell the school property, located on a major commercial corridor along North Belair Road, after the school possibly closes in 2014.

Once construction concludes on new Evans and Martinez elementary schools, students currently zoned for Bel Air Elementary will be divided among those new, larger schools.

ALSO AT THE MEETING

• Stevens Creek Elementary School was recognized for being named a Georgia School of Excellence. Stevens Creek Elementary is the only Augusta-area school, and one of just 26 in the state, to receive the designation. To qualify, schools must place in the top 10 percent of highest performing schools on assessments in reading or math, or have attained the greatest continuous gains in student achievement for the past three years. Stevens Creek was chosen for being among the top 10 percent of highest performing schools.

• The board recognized Lakeside High School senior Emily Ding for making it to the semi-finals of the National Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology. Ding conducted research into cells that can cause cancer in children.

• A policy was revised to mandate any school employee getting into a wreck while operating a system vehicle undergo a drug and alcohol test.

• The board approved enrollment projections for next school year. Officials estimate that the system will grow by 387 pupils for a total enrollment of 24,071. With those projections set, Nagle said his staff can start working on the budget for next school year.

• The school board approved the use of a new communication system that allows school officials to contact parents using pre-recorded voice messages, emails or texts. “If we have a snow day and cancel school, we immediately can notify the entire community,” Nagle said.

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