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South Colonie Central School District News

South Colonie Smart Schools Draft Investment Plan

The South Colonie Board of Education has approved the district’s preliminary Smart School Improvement Plan (SSPI) proposal for enhanced technology devices, equipment and school security. Funding for the project, about $2 million in state money, will be provided from the Smart Schools Bond Act approved by New York State voters in November 2014.

The funding is being used to purchase new technology including Chromebooks, iPads, LCD projectors, interactive whiteboards, servers, surveillance cameras, door access controllers as well as WIFI access points.

A public hearing was held on August 2 prior to the regular Board of Education meeting. The feedback period has concluded. Thank you for those who submitted questions and comments about the plan. The feedback e-mail address was:

click here to view the draft smart schools investment plan (pdf)


Some content below from Times Union story ...

The goal behind the plan is that this fall, every ninth- and 10th-grader at Colonie Central High School will be given a Chromebook to use in school and at home. The Chromebooks will help improve learning, reduce use of paper, lower the cost of purchasing textbooks and take a load out of students' backpacks. In subsequent years, the plan is to expand the program for juniors and then seniors.

The district experimented this past year with 130 ninth-graders in three honors classes receiving the low-cost laptops.

"The teachers essentially went paperless in the classroom," said South Colonie IT Director Dr. David Perry. "It's a major shift not only for our teachers but our students. Students could preview what the next day's lesson would be. It also allows a student who can't be in class, be it illness or something else, to keep up."

The district can then buy electronic versions of textbooks, which can be updated more swiftly. That literally could take a load off students' shoulders. "Backpacks become 40- to 50-pound challenges to carry around all the time," Perry said.

Smartboards also will be purchased with the funds. Unlike blackboards, the Smartboards enable teachers to project images from the Internet onto a larger screen. Lessons can be recorded and then displayed. It allows not only for instructional use but videoconferencing.

The district also will use some funds for other technology improvements.

"We are trying to update our infrastructure: our servers, our wireless access points and our security," he said. With more students and more devices in the district, he said, there is a need to increase bandwidth.

In the second year of the four-year plan, the district intends to replace locks on doors with keyless entry. A keyless card system would allow the district to monitor who enters the building, he said, and enable access to be shut off when a person no longer needs to get into a building.

In the final two years, the district intends to overhaul its entire security system, he said. The systems would be able to detect if a door is left ajar and alert officials.