Portsmouth schools prep for Aug 27 start (with new tech!)


In an e-mail sent to parents this morning, the Portsmouth School Department provided info about the upcoming school year, recapped schedules, covered free and reduced price lunch, and offered a brief technology update. You can download the full pdf, and here's the tech info:

We are very fortunate to have our Portsmouth community who supports and values the use of technology in education. This summer, we made investments in our network infrastructure and in our systems to support the curriculum, improve efficiencies and to prepare for high stakes online testing. As the new school year begins, we plan to make investments in our valued employees to ensure that they are well trained and proficient in using the equipment, integrating it into the classroom and serving as technology role models to our students.

Portsmouth High School has two more wings (four in total) of classrooms that have interactive projectors and document cameras. The Art Department and the TV Studio has refreshed MacBooks and the Modern World Language and Science Department’s mobile carts have been refreshed. At Portsmouth Middle School, the 4th and 5th grade now join the Math, Science and Computer classes in being outfitted with Interactive White Boards. The 7th grade Math curriculum highlights rigorous digital content. A mobile cart of thirty laptops has been configured and deployed to support this initiative. The Music lab has been upgraded. We are very proud to have the opportunity to improve the elementary schools. Each school has mobile cart refreshes and we are in the preparation stages of building a stationery classroom computer lab. Each teacher will supplement their classroom set of document camera, projector and netbook with the mimeo device. This device will enhance teaching and learning by turning the projector into an interactive classroom device. The 8-year-old thin clients have been removed in each classroom and replaced with three Mac mini devices dedicated to student use.

This new equipment and our initiatives would be useless without the dedication of our Administration, Teachers and Staff who embrace the use of technology in their classrooms and in their daily work. They are eager to learn and practice while they integrate technology into lessons to improve student performance. We are very privileged to have our technology team who is dedicated to supporting all users in the district to use the technology and to improve technology skills. Our team has been very busy during the summer, and look forward to a very exciting school year, 2014!

Full disclosure: I'm a volunteer member of the District technology committee and and appointed member of the School Committee technology subcommittee. Without speaking for either group, have to say that I'm delighted to see the thin clients replaced with actual workstations.

And for all the work that's been underway to enhance our kids learning environment, a big thank you to the IT staff, teachers, and volunteers who have been working behind the scenes to make this happen. You all rock.