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Parent groups help put elementary technology ahead of Ripon High

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POSTED September 11, 2012 8:15 p.m.

Trustees indicated Monday that the district still has a way to go towards achieving that goal.

“I know we’ve come a long way,” said Kit Oase in response to the state of technology report presented by Jacob Bradshaw.

He added, “This is the first step – we’re not there yet.”

Bradshaw, who is RUSD’s technology specialist, put together the report upon request from the school board.

Trustees, last month, approved a technology plan necessary for the E-Rate program that provides affordable telecommunication and internet access for school districts.

The state of technology report, meanwhile, served as “an overview of every bit of technology at every site,” Bradshaw said.

He reported that Ripon High had the lowest amount of technology, with the average age of a teacher’s laptop or desktop at five to seven years.

“(RHS) teachers are in need of new laptops and projectors ceiling mounted for security,” Bradshaw said in his report.

The high school library is also in need of replacing and discarding some of its oldest computers. Some of the replacement units have come from the elementary sites.

The elementary sites, according to board President Mike Fisher, are ahead of the high school when it comes to technology thanks to the Parent Faculty Clubs.

“New computers are traditionally a PFC gift to the elementary school,” he said.

RHS will often turn to boosters for support of sports, music and other programs. “The high school has so many areas of fundraising based on the students’ interest,” Fisher said.

That could soon change.

RHS Vice Principal Keith Rangel, speaking on behalf Principal Lance Morrow – he was unable to attend the school board meeting due to a family commitment – said that a PFC could soon be formed there to help out in areas such as technology.

“A PFC is coming together,” he said. “We should know more about it by mid to late September.”

Bradshaw estimated the cost to outfit new computers – that’s a pair of new ones in every class – at RHS at $47,000.

Jennifer Brogan said technology in the district is “at least 10 years behind.”

She and Katrina Elardi cofounded Ripon PALSS or Parents Actively Linked to Student Success, a parent group dedicated to providing the highest quality of education for RUSD students.

“Our students have better technology at the elementary schools than at the high school,” Brogan said. “The high school should be the crowned jewel of the district.”

She and Trustee Donna Parks believe that technology should be among the line items in the RUSD budget.

 Rod Wright, president of the Ripon Unified District Teachers Association, said the board “missed the boat” on placing technology on the proposed $25 million bond measure on the Nov. 6 ballot.

According to the Facilities Assessment and Implementation Plan prepared by consultants Caldwell Flores & Winters, the initial bond included a “method to fund future technology deployment, and replacements.”

The bond measure, if passed, would help pave the way for construction of permanent classrooms at both Colony Oak and Weston, replacing the aging the portable units, as well as pay off the school farm.

Superintendent Louise Johnson, in this case, indicated that money might be available elsewhere to help RUSD fund technology.

“There might be drips and drops of available funding programs,” she said.

Randy Gibbs, who handles technology for the San Joaquin County Office of Education, offered to help out in other ways.

At the county office, he operates with a staff of 20 compared to RUSD, where Bradshaw, who put together the report on his own, is the only person handling technology.

“We’re here to help and assist you,” Gibbs said.

Trustee Jack DeLiddo, in order to go forward, would prefer that the teachers review Bradshaw’s state of technology report.

“We need to put technology high on our priority list,” he said.

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