Students will be putting away the pencil and paper soon in four classrooms at Greencastle High School and instead relying on laptop computers for all of their classwork, research and tests.
The school has been selected for a pilot program in English and science paid by the State Department of Education, which will put 30 computers in four classrooms to see how students and teachers handle a totally "tech" class.
"They are not to be used as labs," assistant Supt. Kirk Freeman told the Greencastle School Board this week in outlining the "inAccess" program at GHS. "The state goal is to have one computer for each student. This is a program for the state to learn how to use technology in the classroom at all times."
Taking notes and doing research online is the wave of the future in education, and Freeman predicted that all schools in the state will be asked to go with the technology option in the near future.
Since the state is also paying for the wire infrastructure for the classrooms, the pilot program is costing the school district nothing, Freeman said.
Planning is already in progress to get the computers installed this fall.
One test of the new system will be the Core 40 exam administered to students. That test must be taken on computer anyway, and the newly outfitted classrooms will provide a good opportunity for administering that test. In the past, classes were disrupted as students were relocated during the testing into classrooms with computers.
Less than a dozen schools have been selected for this pilot program, Freeman said, adding he thinks Greencastle was chosen because the school already has access to technology and uses it regularly in the classroom.
The grant for the program is $106,116 just to outfit the four classrooms. It is unclear if additional state money will be available for the program in the future, but Freeman said the program does not appear to be a one-year wonder.
The state has indicated it is not going to waste time and money by dropping the program while it is trying to get off the ground, he said. It is an initiative being pushed by the State Board of Education, and has been in the works for a few years.
In other business handled by board members Jack Berry, Mark Kannowski, Barry Fisher, Monica Fennell and Mike Dean, the school board:
-- Heard Greencastle High School has the highest enrollment in the Area 30 Career Center for the second year among the participating schools.
-- Granted approval of a $3,000 donation for the Tzouanakis School PTO for classroom supplies.
-- Approved a request from high school art teacher Robin Johnson to use the GHS art room to conduct a DePauw University art teaching methods class.
-- Approved an agreement with DePauw University for student teachers and student field experience observations.
-- Voted to declare some unneeded items from Deer Meadow and the high school of no value so they can be discarded.
-- Approved an overnight out-of-state field trip for the high school band to travel to Orlando, Fla., in May for the Stars Performance.
-- Learned that Ridpath School has received a grant from Arts Illinois that will be used to bring an African-American tap group to the school for a performance later this year.
-- Learned that the new corn boilers are nearly installed at the high school and a test firing is being scheduled in the next few weeks.
-- Commended GHS student Rena Warren for her participation in the Operation Catapult program at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology during the summer.
In personnel matters, the board approved:
-- Hiring Jody Rogers as a temporary teacher for the Denise Smedley leave of absence.
-- Pat Babbington and Laura McMaster as high school assistant cross country coaches.
-- Stephanie Beneker as high school girls assistant basketball lay coach.
-- Doug Miller's resignation as freshman girls basketball coach.
-- Lindsey Miller as sixth grade girls basketball coach.
-- William Earl as eighth grade girls basketball coach.
-- Jon Stucky as assistant to the athletic director.
-- Hiring Laura Davis Reeves as substitute bus driver.
-- The resignation of Chris Williamson as noon aide at Deer Meadow.
-- Hiring Janet Jayne as noon aide at the middle school.
-- Amanda Haddon as noon aide at Deer Meadow.
-- Hiring Denise Pursell, Debra Scott, Sara Bright and Toni Smith as instructional assistants.
-- Claudia Hinderliter as third shift custodian.
-- Sharon Hoskins, Janice Heavin, Terri Collins and Diane Kendall as website developers.
-- Stacy Carrell and Robert Hedge as department chairpersons.
-- Carrie Hamilton as high school choral director.
-- Denise Meyer and Lindsey Miller as student council advisers at the middle school.
-- Suzanne Funk ad Carrie Hamilton as middle school dance team supervisor.
-- Deborah Miller as supervisor of intrumural activities session one at Tzaouanakis School.
-- The resignation of Julie Jimenez as regular route bus driver.
The Greencastle School Board regularly meets at 7:30 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month in the Miller Education Center, 522 Anderson St. The meetings are open to the public.