Technology plays a large role in many aspects of day-to-day life, and education is no different. Technology is rapidly changing the way students learn and how instructors teach. Computers have replaced chalkboards as the go-to tool in classrooms today. Technology is part of education for children of all ages and it’s also a part of their daily lives. Social media and Internet access have changed the way educators teach, how students learn and the way parents, teacher and students communicate.
Schools must prepare students to be college and career ready and to interact with the higher education expectations and business communities as they exist today. Creating a learning environment that supports future career paths and provides college readiness requires that the district provide current technology and rapid access through secure bandwidth and connectivity. In order to provide these options to our staff and students, Kalispell Public Schools currently has a technology levy in front of the voters of this community.
As Bill Gates said, “In terms of getting groups of kids together and motivating them, nothing replaces a teacher. Technology is just a tool.” Technology as a tool can create more engaged and challenged students in the hands of an effective teacher. The ability to locate information, distinguish the truth embedded in research, think critically and present information in many types of media is all aided by computers in the classroom. Technology-based assessment also allows teachers to track student learning more efficiently and be more specific in providing intervention and enrichment. Currently, our schools utilize technology to provide alternative classes through resources such as the Montana Digital Academy. Online content in some form is integrated into all classrooms with the virtually endless resources provided through the internet for every grade level. Students with special needs have more access through software programs and schools are expanding regular class offerings to include some digital options. Next year Glacier and Flathead high schools and the Kalispell Middle School will offer Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) classes. Many local businesses have created collaborations and provided mentors making real life connections with a variety of technology projects. School District No. 5 appreciates the endorsement of our technology levy request by the Kalispell Chamber of Commerce.
I would like to thank our parents and community members for the ongoing support of Kalispell Public Schools. The support you have provided has allowed the District to create many curriculum options that connect students to school. The graduation rate has increased by 5 percent and the dropout rates have decreased by 3.5 percent over the last five years. The District believes that this can be at least partially attributed to more alternatives for students and additional focused instructional support starting at an early age and continuing high school. Many of these options have become available through the use of educational technology. We appreciate your consideration of our technology levy and encourage you to log in to our website http://www.sd5.k12.mt.us to see a detailed overview of how the levy funds will be used.
Darlene Schottle is superintendent of Kalispell schools.
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