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Eye On Boise

Testimony: ‘Could find ways to use that money,’ ‘Excitement for learning’

In public testimony so far this morning on SB 1199:

Rob Winslow of the Idaho Association of School Administrators spoke in support of the bill. “Two key points that we greatly appreciate, certainly, are in the differential pay, it gives flexibility to districts in how they handle that differential pay, and … the other part for technology with a grant process, we support that. We have worked on grants before, and districts look fwd to that option as well.” Sen. Branden Durst asked Winslow if district superintendents have expressed any “consternation” about the bill. Winslow said, “At least the prior bill that has similar language, and things that we had time to discuss with them … they felt they could work through this. … They felt that all of them could find ways to use that money to take care of their needs.”

Colleen Johnson, principal at Paul Elementary, spoke in support of technology grants, describing her school’s experience with a grant from iSchool that supplied iPads for every student. “With the full school deployment, the entire staff had the opportunity to learn technology together,” she said. “Since we deployed the iPads in November, we’ve also seen an increase in academic achievement. … The most apparent benefit is higher student engagement and excitement for learning.” She noted that her school’s copy count went down by 20,000 copies after one month. “We will not need to buy consumables or workbooks for next year,” she said.

Ashley Johnson, a 5thgrade teacher at Paul Elementary, said, “They each have their own device, actively engaged in learning.” She said last year, she had six iPads in her class for 25 students to share; this year each student has his or her own. “I’ve seen increased excitement for learning,” she said. “This is a learning device, this isn’t to play games.”

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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