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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Fort Thomas Schools Continues to Expand Digital Conversion

FTM file. 
By Jennifer Summer 

In 2014, the Fort Thomas Board of Education approved plans to move forward with a major instructional technology initiative. The Fort Thomas Digital Conversion Plan is specifically meant to ensure that we effectively leverage technology as an instructional tool in order to better prepare our students for 21st century success.

In August 2014, all Highlands Middle School students received MacBook Air laptops; Highlands High School students will received the same in August 2015.

At the April 14th Board of Education meeting, Board Chair, Karen Allen, reported on the Elementary Digital Conversion Committee.  The committee consists of about twenty-five members and they have recommended that iPads be given to students in grades K - 5 for the Elementary Digital Conversion roll-out.

The students will also be able to bring their iPads home with them.

RELATED: Macbook Airs Teach Students To Work Like Adults (OCT 2014)

Allen accompanied Gene Kirchner, Ginger Webb, Diana McGhee and all three elementary principals on a visit to the Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California to discuss ideas and strategies on the implementation of a one-to-one iPad initiative.  Teachers and staff will begin learning how to teach with the iPads this year, with professional development is scheduled for May 27.

Superintendent Kirchner stated, “It takes a lot of support in that type of environment in order to make it work both from a technical perspective and also from an instructional perspective. It’s a tremendous opportunity for the teachers to meet our kids where they are in terms of their world and the way they view the world. 

We do have an instructional technology specialist at the middle school and the high school, so we would like to add that elementary component.  This individual will work with all three schools.  Their role essentially is to work in the area of technical support, but most importantly to provide ideas and support around how to implement the technology into instruction in a meaningful way.  We will be looking for someone with a strong background in technology integration who understands teaching and learning.”

It was then recommended to the board that this position be added to the elementary schools, one employee per school.  Allen stated that this position was definitely workable and in the budget.

“We put these in the budget and made it balance to date,” Mr. Kirchner added.  The position of instructional technology specialist was approved unanimously.

The elementary iPads will be issued to students in the 2016-17 school year.

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