Palmyra School District preparing to launch tech initiative this fall

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Feb. 15, 2017 10:35 pm

PALMYRA, Mo. -- The Palmyra R-1 School District is making tentative plans to launch a one-to-one technology initiative in the fall.

Under the proposal, the district would lease enough Apple iPads to put one device in the hands of each of the district's 1,060 students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The tablets would then be used by students in classrooms and at home.

"That's what our goal is," Superintendent Eric Churchwell said Wednesday.

The district's Technology Committee -- formed two years ago -- presented a report on the proposal at this week's School Board meeting.

Churchwell said the district is working out details but it will likely lease tablets for a period of time and later exchange them for newer models. Churchwell said he was told such an arrangement could cost the district in the range of $100,000 to $150,000 a year.

He thinks the investment would be money well-spent.

"As you're trying to get kids ready to be successful after high school, if technology is not a part of that plan, they're not going to be ready to go out in the real world," he said.

"Technology is a part of our everyday life, whether we like it or not. There are things that kids can do with technology that are creative and engaging and really enhance the educational experience."

Churchwell said Palmyra's teachers have been preparing for the program. During the past year, he said, every teacher has been given an iPad and Apple laptop so they could explore ways to incorporate technology in their classrooms.

Churchwell said a group of teachers trained to use educational "apps" will share their knowledge with other teachers in a training program Friday.

Meanwhile, the district has been preparing for the onslaught of many new computing devices by upgrading the wireless infrastructure in all school buildings.

"We feel by next fall we'll be ready to go," he said.

The School Board also agreed to refinance $6 million in bonds as a way to save about $1.3 million in interest costs.

The board also:

º Approved the 2017-18 school year calendar, which shows classes starting Aug. 16 and ending May 25, 2018, with graduation slated for May 24.

º Awarded a $136,830 contract to Kmeier Roof Systems to replace three sections of roof at Palmyra Middle School.

º Heard a report from Churchwell on various education-related bills being considered by the Missouri Legislature.

º Accepted the resignations of Gayle Bourret, deaf educator, and Alysha Barnett, middle school girls basketball coach.

º Extended by one year the contracts of Brian Wosman, activities director/transportation director; Lora Hillman, elementary school principal; and Larry Seago, high school assistant principal and A-Plus coordinator.

º Offered contracts for 2017-18 to Jared Pontius, high school principal; Kinsey Cissna, special programs director; and Bridgette Augspurg, elementary school assistant principal.

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