The Depew School District is remaining ahead of the technological curve despite tighter budget constraints.
During the Board of Education meeting last week, district Technology Coordinator Maria Sommerfeldt presented an update on progress in several areas, including cyberbullying prevention, Internet security upgrades and the integration of new technologies into classrooms. Topping the list was ensuring that all computers were updated to Windows 7 because as of the spring, Microsoft no longer will support its XP operating system.
The district also has a new uninterrupted power supply to provide backup power in case of a blackout. Previously, if power was lost, a brownout would occur before the generator kicked on, causing servers to reboot.
Internet safety also has been addressed through lessons on recognizing and preventing cyberbullying. Sommerfeldt said that through the program, students are taught what they can do if they witness bullying and when the best time is to find an adult for help.
Sommerfeldt said that ongoing technology projects include updating aging hardware and software; enhancing learning with new SMART boards, scientific calculators, iPads, iMacs and computer-based teaching; and integrating My Big Campus, a secure online discussion group setting, into lessons.
“It is an instructional environment where students and teachers can communicate,” she said, adding that teachers and students can share lessons and ideas at school or at home.
Trustee Nancy Fumerelle asked Sommerfeldt if she had anything for a wish list, and Sommerfeldt replied that the district could use 200 new laptops to replace aging devices. She added that continued funding and a maintained staff would help the district to keep up with emerging technologies.
Superintendent Jeffrey Rabey commended Sommerfeldt for her ability to accurately forecast district needs, recycle equipment and redeploy technology.
“Maria does a really good job,” Rabey said.
The School Board’s next meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 21, in the cafeteria of Depew High School, 5201 Transit Road.