WALSENBURG— The big news of the night was the decision to provide iPads for every student in the district. The BOE voted to allocate close to $300,000 for the purchase of 550 iPads, which will be used as each student’s personal learning tool. Each iPad will have completely up to date E-textbooks and learning applications downloaded on them for the classes each student, in every grade level, is taking. According to Superintendent Michael Moore, this will bring district students into the 21st century because every grade level of students will be supplied with tools necessary to make them competitive in an increasingly technological world. The move completely replaces paper textbooks, which are expensive and quickly become outdated. RE-1 teachers have long complained about outdated textbooks. District history books don’t include the events of the Gulf Wars or 9-11. The science books are almost thirty years old. Upper level mathematic books can cost as much as $275, not counting the graphing calculators students need to take these courses. The district had approved spending $175,000 for textbooks at their last meeting, and providing
the electronic devices will meet the budgetary constraints of the district. The purchase can be financed over a three year period which will not have as much an impact on the general fund this year. One of the reasons for this move is to make RE-1 schools the most competitive in the area, and to attract new students to the district. The district has also purchased over 100 new computers and has improved its wireless technology with seven access points in John Mall, six in Gardner and 15 in Peakview. Ceiling projectors have been installed and high speed switches have been purchased to pick up the anticipated needed Wi-Fi volume. Safeguards will be pre-populated on the iPads to avoid unwanted downloads. Apps will be preloaded and the E-texts can be updated as needed remotely. There will be discussions later on the logistics of assigning the devices to the students. Superintendent Moore will write about this in detail next week. In other business, the RE-1 Board of Education is hiring to fill several vacated positions. Instructional aides and cooks were rehired, several teaching positions were filled, and several extra duty assignments were approved. Gardner’s volleyball coach will be Megan Archuleta, assisted by Karlie Lasley. The Peakview football coach is Tobias DeHerra, assisted by Chuck Vigil, Joe Hibpshman, Santiago Bobian and Kevin Vallejos. The JMHS volleyball coach will be Josh Vialpando, assisted by Veronica Pedraza, Faith Grinstead and Jennifer Vialpando. The JMHS golf coaches will be Erin Ruiz and Lisa Brgoch. The JMHS football has not yet been named to date. If necessary, George Purnell will open football practices beginning August 11th, to ensure athletes will be ready for permanent coaching staff. The district hopes coaching applicants will commit within the next few days. The board also accepted with regret, the resignation of high school counselor Maria de la Cruz who accepted a position with Pueblo Community College. De la Cruz, who has been with the district nearly nine years, said in her letter, “It will provide an opportunity for advancement in my career.” She will assist JMHS with student schedules, college concurrent enrollment students, and the 21st Century grant throughout the transition. Her daughter will remain a student at JMHS.