Sunday, May 27, 2018
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New school year signals optimism, adjustment

MONROE - If Wall Street executives think they're the only ones walking around with PalmPilots and doing business online, they should go back to school.

Teachers in the Monroe Pubic School District will be using PalmPilots to score elementary students in Michigan's Qualitative Reading Inventory Tests in reading and math. Last year, the district was one of only two districts in the nation to test the technology in a pilot program.

“When it's a good idea, the teachers pick up on it right away,” said Chris Butler, assistant superintendent for elementary education. “The teachers were e-mailing me, saying it was a real timesaver. ... Our goal is not to jump on every bandwagon that comes down the road, but we try to pick up on good ideas out there.”

At the high school level, Monroe is expanding the Virtual High School online instruction program it started in the district last year. The program will allow students to take up to two courses over the Internet ranging from remedial classes to Advanced Placement coursework.

Randall Monday, assistant superintendent for secondary curriculum and instruction, said the district hopes to have the program completely up and running by second semester.

In Lima, Ohio, the school district has completed much of its ongoing $100 million building and improvement project, which will eventually replace or upgrade every instructional facility in the district with funding from the Ohio School Facilities Commission, said Kevin Reeks, director of public relations.

Brand-new Freedom Elementary on Calumet Avenue, Unity Elementary on Third Street, and Lima West Middle School on Cable Road will all be open for the 2002-2003 school year.

“The teachers are in the schools now preparing, and they love the new buildings,” Mr. Reeks said. “They love the new technology and the climate control. It's such an improvement. ... A campus community is beginning to take shape.”

Many districts in the area are overhauling their curriculums to align with state standards. Bowling Green is implementing a language arts course of study at every grade level, which means a new elementary reading program and new textbooks at the junior and senior high schools, said Kathy Zachel, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

“We just put it all together,” she said. “We hope we've hit the target, and we feel good.”

New Bedford Academy, Summerfield schools, and Airport schools also plan to revamp instructional programs to meet state content standards and benchmarks, said officials at those districts.

Several area schools are welcoming new principals: Wanda Owsley at Jefferson High School in Frenchtown Township, Mich., John Seppala at New Bedford Academy in Lambertville, Mich., and Jason O'Koon at Washington Intermediate School in Findlay.

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