Technology plays a strong role in daily life now more than ever. As recipients of the Enhancing Education Through Technology American Recovery and Reinvestment Act competitive grant for one-time funds of $240,000 for students in seventh grade to 12th grade, the Turlock Unified School District can now give students, teachers and staff about the most up-to-date technology training.
“This is something we needed,” said Judi Green, supervisor of technology and data systems for TUSD. “This helps emphasize technology in the future. It lets students explore careers in technology.”
TUSD is planning to use the money to emphasize one main goal — building a focus program for a technology career pathway, Green said.
And to do that they are spending the money on three things: a student tech leadership program called the Mouse Squad, increased monitoring in student information systems to identify at-risk students, and increased technology professional development for staff.
The Mouse Squad will be implemented at the high school level as a technology class and at the junior high level as a club.
Next semester, Turlock High School will take the lead and implement the Mouse Squad class with Pitman High School taking it on in the 2011/2012 school year, Green said. Dutcher Middle School and Turlock Junior High School will test out the Mouse Squad Club next semester as well.
The class at the high school level will help teach students about technology such as technology technician skills and desktop trouble shooting, she said. The district is hoping that the Mouse Squad students will gain enough knowledge in technology that they can help out in the classroom and also pursue a career in technology after school.
Money is also being used to develop data reports to identify students who are at-risk of not graduating, and/or not career-ready. The data reports will not just be based off of test scores but also attendance, discipline, and much more, Green said.
The district will also be upgrading one lab each at the four schools with new technology. The older computers will be given to those in the Mouse Squad so they can practice on the computers.
Staff and teachers will also be trained with new technology through professional development, Green said.
For this grant, TUSD had to have a district technology plan in place and receiving funds was dependent on the number of students the district has. The district is also required to spend all the money by September 2011.
“This is a great opportunity for technology,” Green said.
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