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Troy school board approves new technology

Troy City Schools moved one step closer to a 21st Century overhaul Monday as members of the Troy City School Board approved a bid worth $714,841.08 for new technological equipment, including computers and interactive white boards.

Board members accepted a bid from Information Transport Solutions for more than $630,000 in white boards, interactive slate boards, student response systems and document cameras from SMART Technologies, a company that provides technological equipment internationally for education, business and government.

The new technology also includes microphone speakers, DVD players and tuners to phase out antiquated TVs in the classroom.

The funds also covered 92 19-inch Dell desktop computers for $64,584, and 92 Hewlitt-Packard printers for $18,707.08.

District Technology Coordinator Wayne Hubbard said he planned to submit the purchase order for the new equipment today, and expects the shift to the new technology to begin in four to six weeks.

An interactive slate board is similar to an interactive white board, but is about the size of a sheet of paper, so that a teacher can hold the board and write on it during a lesson. The slates are also touch-screen operated, so no styluses are needed, Hubbard said.

A document camera is similar to an overhead projector, except that it can scan and project images and video from books and photographs.

A student response system—also known as a “clicker”—is an interactive remote control-type device for taking class quizzes. Some of the response systems will be equipped for writing out equations in math classes, Hubbard said.

The bid included installation costs, and funds have been set aside for training expenses, he added.

The new technology is available primarily in core classes, but board members have also included a few elective courses that will benefit from the interactive systems.

“We are moving right along trying to get our classrooms upgraded to 21st Century classrooms,” Superintendent Dr. Linda Felton-Smith said at the board meeting.

In other news, three of Troy City School teachers were recognized as Teachers of the Year. Karla Johnson from Charles Henderson High School, Bari Rasbury from Charles Henderson Middle School and Jennifer Lindsey from Troy Elementary School were all awarded at the meeting.

Science teacher Allisa Jordan received a Stars Award, a prize given by other employees within the Troy City School system for excellence in service and hard work.

Also at the meeting, Charles Henderson High School Principal Kathy Murphy presented before the board regarding graduation rates, dropout prevention and teachers’ efforts to stop students from ended their school careers early.

In her presentation, Murphy advocated a 24-hour waiting period for students and parents allowing their children to drop out, a one-on-one counsel with the principal for students who want to drop out, and focus on the “ABCs” of high graduation rates—attendance, behavior, and course performance.

She also mentioned efforts from social studies teachers to include lectures about the economic impact of dropouts on the state and the country.

At the end of the meeting, Smith announced that paychecks would be distributed to employees on Nov. 30, after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Board members also recognized the retirement of Patsy Powell, who worked in the child nutrition program at Troy Elementary School.