CV board talks tech, budget options
BY DONNA WALKER, Correspondent
Third-grade students from Leola Elementary School gave Conestoga Valley School District board members a hands-on lesson on how they use iPads in their classrooms to improve literacy.
Students waited patiently in Leola's auditorium for the school board's March 18 meeting to begin after a community forum in which the district presented 2013-14 preliminary budget figures to residents.
One item not seen on the list of possible budget reductions presented at the forum was learning with iPads. Ten iPads were purchased with grant money from the Conestoga Valley Education Foundation at the request of Leola third-grade teachers Katherine Schneider, Jennifer Krouse and David Paul.
In a telephone interview, Leola principal Colleen Pavlovec gave them credit for securing the technology.
"It was this group of third-grade teachers that wanted to try something new," Pavlovec said.
The teachers wrote the grant last year and began using the items this year. The district has about 200 iPads in all, all purchased with grant money.
At the school board meeting, students demonstrated how the new technology helps them learn core skills in reading, writing and math. School board members also saw how the software sparks creativity with programs such as Toon Tastic, in which students build their own digital cartoons. As students create segments of their stories, their voices also are recorded, which improves fluency.
The 10 iPads are shared among the three third-grade classrooms at Leola Elementary, according to a schedule agreed upon by the teachers.
Also at the meeting, board members discussed feedback received at the community forum regarding the district's 2013-14 preliminary budget. About 30 community members attended the forum, which allowed them to ask questions about the inevitable school tax hike and how it will affect student's education.
The district presented a long list of possible reductions that will keep the tax rate increase at 1.7 percent, the level set by the state for the district. It also presented additional lists of reductions if the tax rate goes to 2 percent and another if it's 2.5 percent.
Board president Daryl Stoltzfus said after the forum that he was approached by a resident who supports the schools but is finding it difficult to afford the taxes.
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