The estimated 220 seniors who will be enrolled at RAHS for the 2012-2013 school year will be greeted with a warm welcome. This welcome will cost the high school over $110,000. The main reason for the cost is not textbooks, nor is it new teachers or desks. This fund-guzzler is something far more advanced: Etch-A-Sketches. This advancement in technology is hurtling RAHS into the 21st century.
"This is a direction we need to go in,” Principal Rob Taylor stated regarding the subject of Etch-A-Sketches for seniors, a controversial topic in the district. With recent teacher lay offs still haunting the halls of Reedsburg’s schools, and the constant threat of more to come, many wonder if Etch-A-Sketches are really necessary at a time when need is overwhelming but funds are depleted. But for Taylor, there is no question: “We need to get out ahead of the curve of technology...to prepare students for whatever comes next.”
“The Three Year Plan,” as RAHS’ tech plan has been referred to, involves several changes which will be implemented over the next three school years. “First, we’ll start with type writers,” Taylor explained. Fax machines are also on the list of possible technologies, but this has not yet been approved by the school board. Next, we will “utilize what we have,” Taylor said. This means that we will not fully gut RAHS’ technology, but rather improve the areas that need improvement the most.
Not only will students benefit from this new plan, however, but teachers will as well. “We will put Etch-A-Sketches in the hands of at least twelve core senior teachers,” Taylor explained, adding that the teachers would be trained as to how to utilize the new technology to the advantage of their students. “We’re looking for ways to give students more opportunities, because I know we will have to cut more teachers,” Taylor commented.
A presentation will be made to the school board to request funding for this project. Most of this money is expected to come from the sale of Rock Springs elementary school, which closed at the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year. The district is said to be asking for upwards of $150,000 for the school. In regards to finding options cheaper than Etch-A-Sketches, “I could get a Doodle Bear cheaper, but we are an Etch-A-Sketch district, and we are not changing,” Taylor stated, adding “long term, this is more cost effective.” Students will be able to sketch their notes and graphing calculators onto the devices and will use them as a learning tool in class.
It is obvious that this plan will not be put into action without many setbacks and ample resistance, but this does not phase the brains of the operation. “I do not think in terms of whether it will work or not,” Taylor said. “I just find a way to make it work.”
By Jordyn Schara