The Arapahoe Public School system has always been a leader in providing technology education for their students and staff, and since the implementation of the first students receiving individual iBooks in 2006, the district continues to stay above the curve in providing technology to aid in education.
The computer era for Arapahoe Public Schools began in the early 1980’s when then Superintendent Keith Pollard parked three Bell & Howell computers outside science teacher Connie Hoefs’ classroom and instructed her to start using them. The importance of computers didn’t waver when Alan Katzberg became Superintendent and Hoefs completed her Master’s Degree in Technology and the use of computers grew in the school system. Through the years members of the Board of Education and administration have continued making computers and technology a priority. Teachers and staff have had the opportunity to learn on and about computers, and how to implement them in their classroom and with their students. It isn’t just about computers, but it is also about technology and how students can use computers and technology for their educational experience.
Since 2006 high school students and recently junior high students, have had the privilege and opportunity to use laptops, but this year, technology has taken on a new avenue with elementary students and teachers having the opportunity to incorporate more technology and communication with students through the use of iPads.
In March of 2018, the Arapahoe Board of Education approved a four year lease for 130 iPads to be used for grades kindergarten through fourth and 110 MacBooks to be used for ninth through 12 grade. The computers that were being used by the high school student were purchased for a $1 buyout and rolled to grades five through eight. The annual lease payments are $51,013.57.
Julie Stagemeyer, kindergarten teacher; Lisa Schutz, first grade teacher; and Shari Mues, second grade teacher at Arapahoe are three of the elementary teachers that have incorporated iPads into their daily routine with their students.
Stagemeyer expressed her excitement to have iPads in the classroom and uses them mostly to supplement reading and math skills. She noted that there are also good programs that help students with gross and fine motor skills and handwriting, “which is important in kindergarten,” said Stagemeyer.
“We love using our iPads!” said Schutz. In the first grade classroom, Schutz said their reading program uses a wealth of digital resources for students to utilize the iPads including games that teach and enhance student’s reading skills, phonemic awareness, blending and building words. “Students are working on these skills two to three times a week during our reading time. They work individually on these skills to improve their reading ability,” said Schutz. They also use the iPads to do their weekly reading assessment.
Second grade students are enjoying the use of iPads for science, reading, phonics, social studies and math. Mues said in reading, the iPads are used for teaching phonics, vocabulary, word building, sentence structure and high frequency works. She said, “The iPads reinforce what the classroom teacher has taught or it can be used to re-teach a skills. Students can also explore new skills at different levels.”
Read the complete story in this week’s print edition of the Arapahoe Public Mirror or with an e-subscription.