The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


September 7, 2007

New software enhances learning in core subjects

SUNBURY -- A month after receiving a $270,000 state grant, the Shikellamy School District was recently awarded another state grant for $339,000.

The "Classrooms for the Future" grant will be used to purchase computer hardware and software designed to enhance student learning in the four core studies -- science, math, social studies and English -- according to Pamela Emery, the district's director of education.

The technology is not meant to act as a crutch for teachers, she said, but as a tool to improve their curriculum.

Joanne Lauer, the district's technology coordinator, said the state emphasizes "It's not a technology grant. It's an instructional grant."

The district is also required to hire a "coach," who will assist teachers in the implementation of the technology.

The position is part time, Ms. Lauer told school board members Thursday night. But Shikellamy is hoping to share a coach with a neighboring school district, such as Selinsgrove, who would split time between both districts.

The cost of hiring the coach, who earns $30,000 a year at each district, is not part of the grant, but is rather picked up by the state.

Ms. Lauer said the district is working with the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit to identify the ideal candidate to be the district's technology coach.

"The coach is supposed to be somebody who understands teaching technology in the classroom," she said.

In other business:

n Superintendent Alan Lonoconus said the district's curriculum coordinating council will be off the ground soon.

The council, consisting of school board members, administration and teachers, will be focused on examining and improving the district's curriculum.

"It will be a vehicle in which we continually review our curriculum," he said. "Obviously there won't be wholesale changes every time we review things. ... But I think we're going to make some changes in the next couple years."

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