Sunday, January 24, 2010

Construction Update

The roof is 98% complete on the addition. This is great news as the weather will not be a deterrent to construction progress. The 2% remaining is where all the heating/air conditioning rooftop units will be installed. They are temporarily covered until the HVAC subcontractor arrives. All of the HVAC units are on site, an installation just needs to be completed.

The building is also now set up with a more permanent and efficient heat source as the general contractor is heating the entire area, especially the commons that needs to be thawed out in order to pour the floor.

The block layers have a few odds and ends on the commons restrooms before they begin to brick the exterior. The exterior consists of a 4 foot brick and then insulation covered by a stucco-type finish from the brick up.

More pictures will be posted soon.

Apple Open House - Making A Difference

On January 13th, Newell-Fonda CSD hosted an open house for other schools interested in implementing a 1:1 laptop program in their school. What an exciting day to see the enthusiasm of these 23 schools and nearly 85 participants. Those attending ranged from superintendents, principals, board members, teachers, and parents.

Spirit Lake CSD brought over 15 people in search of support of a PPEL vote on February 2 to implement a 1:1 in grades 5-12 and carts in grades K-4. In addition, they will be purchasing an array of additional technology. Because my parents live in the Great Lakes region, my dad ran across an editorial of one of the attendees. It would be easy to take offense to the comment "The school had everything to be a struggling or dormant school in a small rural town, with low enrollment and old facilities." But what followed, confirmed how we feel of the advantage we give our students each and every day. In addition, it confirms that our 1:1 becomes less and less about the laptop and more about changing instruction and learning. Read the entire article here.

Great job of involving the stakeholders by first year superintendent Dave Smith. I look forward in working with Spirit Lake in the future as the work towards a 1:1 program. Check out the web presence in pursuit of communicating to the community the importance of this vote. Good luck to superintendent Smith.

Apple Distinguished Recognition

Newell, IA December 23, 2009 Newell-Fonda Community School is pleased to announce that it has been named an Apple Distinguished School for the implementation of its 1:1 laptop program. The Apple Distinguished School designation is reserved for schools that have implemented a 21st century vision of education using Apple technology. “Our 9-12 laptop program is changing the way we look at education,” states Superintendent Jeff Dicks.

Newell-Fonda is the first school district in Iowa to receive this distinction and 1 of only 53 in the nation. “By putting a device in the hands of each student, we have leveled the playing field. We see this as an opportunity to teach in real time, which means we are giving teachers and students access to the most relevant and up-to-date content on the internet.”

The selection of Newell-Fonda as an Apple Distinguished School highlights its successes in enhancing and extending teaching and learning with thoughtful and innovative implementations of technology. “We are able to collaborate with other schools not only in Iowa but also around the world, including Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay,” states Alynn Coppock, 9-12 principal. Coppock continues, “Because of the collaboration between our high school teachers and our elementary teachers, our first graders are also doing a project using Skype, a free product that enables them to video conference with 80 schools around the world.”

There will be a formal presentation by Apple on January 13, 2010 prior to an already scheduled technology open house. Apple will present the award at 9:00 a.m. followed by the open house. “We do an open house to allow other schools, board members, prospective students, and parents to see the power and advantages of a 1:1 learning environment,” Dicks states. Newell-Fonda is very excited to have the opportunity to teach their students to become responsible consumers of digital content. More information will be available concerning the open house.