Seven teachers and one teacher’s daughter voiced support for technology in classrooms during the School Board meeting on Aug. 15, leading up to board approval.
The Flagler School Board approved the lease purchase agreement to supply 1,310 iPads with Apple Inc. for use in Kindergarten through third grade across the district’s public elementary schools.
The motion was passed unanimously during the School Board meeting on Aug. 15. Director of Technology Ryan Deising presented the lease proposal, which will cost a total of $385,140. The money will come from the half-penny sales tax, which was approved by voters to increase access to technology in schools.
Seven Flagler Schools teachers and the daughter of a Flagler Schools teacher came forward for public comments voicing their unwavering support for the use of technology in K-3 classrooms. Reasons ranged from personal and professional. Among the reasons were: the importance of using technology for testing preparation, technology for the use of programs like Schoology, which allows users to create, manage and share content, and to help shy students get out of their shell.
Rymfire Elementary School second grade teacher Molly MacDonald appealed to the Board from a parent’s point of view. She said she made a big decision moving her daughter, who is starting Kindergarten, from a private school to public school this year.
“The biggest reason why was because of technology,” MacDonald said. “So, when McKenzie had to start her first day, and Ms. Baenen had mentioned to them that they wouldn’t have computers, I had a little girl that was very upset.”
After the School Board approved the purchase agreement, Board member Colleen Conklin clarified that the main reason questions were previously asked about the lease agreement is for the public’s benefit to understand why such a large purchase is being made.
“There are some concerns that it is a big purchase,” Conklin said. “We don’t want it just to appear that it’s sure — that we’re an open checkbook to Apple. It doesn’t work that way, so there is a justification when we’re spending those kinds of tax dollars.”
Conklin also emphasized that there should be healthy balance of technology and other hands-on, tactile learning in the classroom.