Schools move forward with technology program, adopt calendar
by Eddie Burkhalter
eburkhalter@annistonstar.com
Superintendent Jon Paul Campbell gave the board an update on the school system technology programs during Monday’s Jacksonville School Board meeting,

The system already has 88 laptops in three separate MacBook carts for students, and will be purchasing 4 additional MacBook carts over the summer, Campbell said, bringing the total number of laptops to 208.

But iPads will be the center of the system’s digital conversion, Campbell said. Once iPads are purchased this summer, Campbell said each student in grades 4-12 will be issued an iPad. In Pre-k through grade 3, there will be eight iPads in each class, he said.

In a previous meeting the board approved the transfer of two teachers already employed with the system to become digital instructional specialists, beginning June 1.

“All this is going to happen,” Campbell said. “…We really believe it’s going to impact not just our student but the entire city.”

There will be training sessions over the summer to help parents and students become acquainted with the electronic devices, but Campbell said the dates of those sessions haven’t been finalized.

The board also approved a 2013-14 school calendar.

“Last year we had 175 instructional days,” Campbell said. This year, the district’s calendar committee agreed on 174 instructional days.

According to the calendar, teachers will begin Aug. 7 – or as late as Aug. 12 if they attend summer training sessions — and students will begin school August 19. The last day for students will be May 22.

Holidays throughout the school year will be Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veteran’s Day and the entire week of Thanksgiving, matching up with Jacksonville State University’s holiday schedule. Presidents Day will be a flex day, Campbell said.

Christmas break for students will be Dec. through Jan. 6, with teachers returning to school Jan. 3. Spring break will be March 24-28, also matching JSU’s schedule.

Also during the meeting, Jacksonville High eighth-grader Anna Pollard, winner of this year’s Calhoun County Future Farmers of America Prepared Public Speaking competition, performed the speech to the board that won her the award.

This year makes the 28th in a row that Jacksonville High has won the award, said agri-science teacher Ricky Whaley.

Before closing the regular meeting, the board voted to go into an executive session to discuss  a disciplinary matter involving a student, which is allowable under the Alabama Open Meetings Act.

In other business, Campbell announced the district will hold a State of the Schools meeting April 25th at the Jacksonville High School cafeteria at 6:30 p.m..

Staff Writer Eddie Burkhalter: 256-235-3563. On Twitter @burkhalter_star.
© 2013