EMMETSBURG - Students in the Emmetsburg Community School District have moved into the digital age.
According to Superintendent John Joynt, the system is in its second year of the one-to-one computer program.
"All the high school kids have a laptop," he said. "All the other grades have carts with computers."
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Emmetsburg Middle School sixth-grader Haley Jackson gets ready to check out a laptop computer from the storage cart recently. The Middle School students share the computers.
He said the carts travel from classroom to classroom. He said there were a few growing pains with the system but that they've worked themselves out.
The machines are here to stay.
"We wouldn't go back," he said.
There are several benefits to the laptops, he said; they include getting students used to working with technology and keeping them more engaged.
"These skills are expected in their jobs in the future," he said. "It helps them get used to the real world."
For the high school students, the machines are as important as notebooks were to previous generations.
"They use them," he said. "They can't go anywhere without them."
Once they graduate, the students will have the option to purchase the laptops.
"They have their whole lives on them," he said.
In addition to the computer program, he said that staff and students at West Elementary School are slated to get some much-needed room.
"We are working on adding on to West Elementary," he said.
The plans include a new gym, lunchroom, office area and converting the current library into several classrooms. The project is needed to address overcrowding, he said, because the talented and gifted program has to meet in a hallway and that a bubble of students will require three units instead of the normal two.
"We have to have another classroom by the fall of 2014," he said.
The district is working on the capital loan notes, planning with an architect and getting the bid process going.
If all goes well?
"Maybe we can start digging in the summer," he said.
The addition won't be a half measure.
"We're not going to put a Band-aid on it," he said.
Another issue facing the district is whether to remain in the Lake Conference. He said they are investigating the issue and looking at other conferences.
In the coming year, he said the district will be working to implement the Iowa Core Curriculum.
"The teachers have been working hard on that," he said.
It means changes for the students too.
"Math got a lot harder for everybody," he said. "Everything is more advanced."
While the Iowa Department of Education requires more documentation with the new standards, he said they are also providing more guidance.
"It's a give-and-take learning process," he said.