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Improvements for New School Year

July 31, 2012

David Luessen/Times-Record Valley City Public Schools Technology Coordinator Bryan Kriewald explains the operation of a new Smart Board installed in a high school classroom over the summer. The boards interact with teachers’ computers, can be wirelessly connect to through an iPad, and everything written on them can be saved and printed.

Valley City Public School students in grades Kindergarten through 12 will return to schools that have been upgraded inside and out as classes resume Aug. 27 for the 2012-2013 school year.

Two very visible advancements include new press boxes and a scoreboard for Hanna Field, home of the Valley City High School Hi-Liner football team.

The press boxes were built by construction students at the Sheyenne Valley Area Career and Technology Center over the past school year and have already been installed. Schools superintendent Dean Koppelman said Monday the finishing touches are being made to the boxes, including indoor-outdoor carpeting.

The new scoreboard, made possible through several generous donations from area residents and businesses, may not be installed for the first Hi-Liner home game on Aug. 31, because it will not be shipped until the last week of August.

“Maybe we’ll get lucky and it will ship before that (the last week of August),” Koppelman said.

“When it’s all said and done it will be in the range of $55,000 and $65,000 by the time it is shipped and installed.”

The school has also made an investment into upgrading classroom technology by purchasing additional Smart Boards and Apple iPads.

Smart Boards are similar to dry-erase boards, but instead of markers, teachers and students write on them with special, ink-less, electronic pens. What’s written on the boards can be saved and printed for students who miss a day’s lecture, as well as sent to other classrooms.

“It’s an interactive white board that the teacher’s computer interfaces with,” said the schools’ technology coordinator Bryan Kriewald. “You could display videos, pause and draw things on them, you can draw on websites and point out things more interactively. Teachers’ textbooks are all on CD, so you could bring up the actual page in the books and highlight things.”

Kriewald said the push for Smart Boards began a couple years ago, and Valley City Schools are less than a dozen boards away from having them in every classroom in the district. Kriewald said smaller districts like Barnes County North have an advantage in getting the boards into every classroom, because the VCHS district has approximately 70 rooms among the elementary and high schools.

“We’d like to say we’re district-wide now, but that would be a slight exaggeration.”

While BCN, with fewer students, is moving to a 1:1 iPad initiative for every teacher and student (one person, one iPad), VCPS will at least get the devices available to every class room at 25 per building. The iPads can wirelessly connect to the Smart Boards, offer thousands of free or inexpensive educational applications and have been embraced by educators across the country.

“One-to-one is where you should go,” Kriewald said. “We have to be there, probably in three years. Text books are all on iPads now.”

One of the realities of such a move Kriewald pointed out, is the need for lockers to be equipped with capabilities for charging the devices batteries.

“Can you really trust every eighth-grader to come with a charged iPad in the morning? If they don’t, they don’t have any textbooks for the day. You charge an iPad for 20 minutes, they’re going to last all day.”

Other upgrades to the buildings include individual shower stalls in the junior and senior high school locker rooms for student privacy and an updated language arts curriculum to help students reach the reading proficiency levels required by the No Child Left Behind Act.

Koppelman said new audio equipment for the Jefferson and Washington Elementary School gymnasiums was also installed over the summer.

“Basically what had happened, is for these two buildings, we couldn’t even get parts any more for the sound systems. They had reached a point where we were struggling for sound... The sound systems had served roughly 40 years in those buildings, so we upgraded them, no question,” said Koppelman.

SUPERINTENDENT'S CORNER with Dean Koppelman
VCHS Returns to Class

I hope all of you have had a great summer and that you have been able to do all of the things you had planned. I find it hard to believe the start of another school year is right around the corner. As a reminder, our first day of school is Monday, Aug. 27, and is scheduled to be a full day.

The start of a school year has an excitement that is in a category all by itself. It is a wonderful feeling to think of seeing our students and staff once again, working together to make the best possible learning experience possible.

Facilities
Once again, this summer has been very busy with upgrades and maintenance of our facilities. To help ensure the safety of our students, we have added more security cameras within and outside the junior/senior high school building. Our elementary schools also have security cameras both inside and outside their buildings.

The locker rooms for both gymnasiums in our junior/senior high school building have had individual shower facilities installed. This is a really nice improvement for our students as we recognize the sensitivity involved in this area of student health.

The Hi-Liner Activity Center gymnasium has new lighting installed and hopefully you will notice the difference. The offices in our elementary school buildings have been updated and will definitely help the work environment.

Hanna Field, home for our football program, will have had some very nice changes take place. The new press boxes built by the Construction students and their instructor look outstanding! You will be hearing from Mr. Dan Larson, our Jr. High Principal and Activities Director, about a very nice scoreboard to be installed at Hanna Field. This was made possible due to donations received from some very fine individuals and businesses in our community.

I would like to thank our public very much for your continued financial support of our school district. There’s no question to me this effort allows us to maintain and update the fine facilities that we have.

Use of Debit Cards, Credit Cards at Jr/Sr High Registration
Credit cards and bank debit cards will be accepted for payment of fees at Jr/Sr High School registration. A fee of $3.00 will be charged per transaction. This service will be available throughout the school year for payment of fees and will be located in the Jr. High office.

Busing
In order to help us ensure the safety of our students and organize all of our bus routes, for those parents who wish for their student/s to ride any of our buses (city, rural or shuttle), we need you to register your students to ride the bus. A form will need to be completed for each child needing bus service.

Registration for busing takes place on Aug. 17 - 17 in the Central Administration Building. Hours are 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.
If the registration form is not completed, a student will not be able to ride the bus. If, you are not able to register on these dates, you will need to do so No later than Wednesday, Aug. 22 by stopping at the Central Administration building, located right across the street from the Junior/Senior High School building in downtown Valley City.

NOTE: The bus driver will plan to let children off at the first drop off option indicated on the registration form, Unless a parent contacts Dietrich’s Bus Service (845-1590).

Technology
I am very pleased to report we have had a number of upgrades to the technology in our facilities. Most classrooms in our districts now have Smart Boards installed. Each building will now have a good number of iPads available for use by our students and instructors.

You should notice quite an improvement with the sound in both elementary school gymnasiums. New, upgraded equipment has been installed and should really make a difference for our students, staff, and general public when attending various events in these facilities.

Curriculum
Our elementary students will have a new language arts curriculum to use this year. Our textbooks and curriculums have an established rotation schedule and are updated as needed.

Closing Remarks
I wish our students, staff, and parents, the very best this year. I look forward to working with all of you to help make this a very enjoyable school year for all. GO HI-LINERS!

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