Posted Date: 07/01/2019
Keeping up with technology demands can be challenging especially for a small, rural school district, but Celeste ISD has been committed to innovation and technology advancement for many years. After receiving two of the TEA rural technology grants, Celeste was able to establish a very popular technology lending program at the high school and place technology in the hands of our students. The funding for the grants ended in 2016, but Superintendent Brad Connelly and the Celeste ISD Board of Trustees have stepped in locally by providing financial support to allow lending programs, upgrades, and technology requests to continue.
Upgrading technology is essential and never-ending with ongoing technology advancement. With approval to move forward with the needed upgrades for the 2018-19 school year, projects begin with the purchase of 38 Dell computers to replace aging equipment. Next, 118 Chromebooks were added throughout the district. Several classrooms received new projectors and document cameras. School security seems to be a critical component of technology these days, so additional campus security cameras, software, and monitoring equipment were installed. To accommodate the need for higher classroom Internet access demands and for the new wireless devices throughout the district, more wireless access points were added. Several Chromebook mobile carts were purchased to enhance math and English classes at the high school and junior high. Additional Chromebooks have also been distributed to individual elementary classrooms. Finally, a new mobile SMART interactive whiteboard was purchased for the junior high classrooms to enhance STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) lessons.
The true reward for technology integration comes as you observe even our youngest learners being engaged, excited and creative. The new implemented technology has inspired student resourcefulness, communication and imagination. One could easily observe these learner outcomes in the first grade classrooms this past year as teachers Elesha Shaw and Hunter Offill used Chromebooks with their students for animal research. The students learned to share assignments, use online resources and present their animal to the class using Google classroom technology. The students stayed actively engaged throughout the project. The teachers were especially happy to observe how an ordinary assignment was transformed into an exciting learning experience for their students.
Celeste Junior High students embraced their new Chromebooks by seamlessly integrating the devices throughout all their core subjects with Google Classroom Apps. Students utilized this technology for writing and research as well as in the science classroom.
High school English classes used new Chromebook carts to access Google Classroom where they utilized the online program to receive assignments and then create, research and submit lessons. Juniors and seniors took advantage of the new online devices as well as the Internet and equipment lending program for dual credit courses which require online access to classes. Finally, students in digital graphic classes enjoyed the new Adobe Creative Cloud software upgrade. Students utilized the latest version of Adobe Photoshop to create beautiful, professional looking artwork and graphics.
Technology changes rapidly. It seems like there is a new innovation produced nearly every day. It is certain that technology demands will quickly emerge for the upcoming school year, and Celeste ISD will be prepared to keep up with these advanced challenges to meet the needs of our students and give them the best innovative education possible.