Innovative Technology Pilot Program Proposed at Columbine Middle School

May 3rd @ 11:10 am in News by Scott Staley

Montrose & Olathe Schools

Students and Staff at Columbine Middle School could see a technology program come to fruition with the support from local business and community members.  This week, Jim and Sharen Branscome committed $60,000 as a challenge grant to the community to fund the Columbine Middle School “Technology as a Tool in the Classroom” demonstration project.

Columbine Middle School is proposing to implement a new innovative technology pilot program starting in the 2013-2014 school year.  The goal of the pilot program is to implement 21st Century Technology with staff and students at Columbine Middle School with the use of iPads and innovative online educational tools available from sources like Apple Computer and the Kahn Academy.org.   Ultimately, the program is designed to raise student achievement through the integration of technology, and to create a program that can be duplicated throughout the Montrose & Olathe School District.  Demonstration projects like this one in the US and elsewhere have shown that student achievement can advance dramatically because each student can progress at their own speed and teachers are given more time to concentrate on teaching rather than classroom management.

The pilot program will provide an iPad in the hands of ninety 7th grade students.  Each student will be given an iPad that they will keep for the two year program.  When the students move up to 8th grade, their iPads will move with them and the incoming 7th grade students will receive their own iPads. The proposed program will also provide an iPad and training for all teachers at Columbine Middle School.  Additionally there will be a mobile cart with 30 iPads for teachers not involved in the program to access iPads as a resource in their classrooms.  The District believes they will find that through the combination of innovative technology and teaching methods, the program can effectively leapfrog student performance to new levels of achievement.

While funding from the District and Jim and Sharen Branscome will jump start the program, additional funds are still needed to purchase 90 iPads for the first year and funding for year two. The District and Montrose Community Foundation will be partnering in fundraising efforts for the challenge grant.

According to Kjersten Davis, School Board President, “this is a great opportunity for our school district to develop an innovative program that can spread to all grades and all schools if proven to raise student achievement.”

Mark MacHale, Superintendent, said “this project is an example of innovative programs the district will be employing to raise student performance and engage them in more exciting ways to learn and master subject matter.”  The District will begin the process of hiring an educator with extensive experience in technology enhanced learning to lead the project, which will launch this summer if funding is secured.  The plan calls for substantial investment in technology and high-speed broadband, as well as in teacher training and online curriculum materials.

Jim Branscome stated, “Sharen and I are very pleased to be able to join with the District in such an exciting learning project.  Subject mastery and lifetime learning are the key to preparing students for the very competitive career challenges this century presents.  Education and economic development are linked at the hip, and it’s a global race that all our young people will have to run.  We hope others in the community can step forward to help make this project a significant milestone in raising Montrose & Olathe School District’s student achievement levels to above average for the region and state.”