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Published: Wednesday, 7/27/2005

Perrysburg Tech-based programs ready for schools

BY RACHEL ZINN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

New high school classes, an expanded computer-based reading curriculum for elementary students, and an on-line system that will allow parents to check their children's grades are among the technology programs set to begin at Perrysburg schools during the upcoming school year.

Perrysburg High School will offer two new electives called "Web design" and "technology in the workplace." The first class will teach students how to create Web pages, and the second will show students how to search for jobs using on-line databases, create resumes, and use software programs like PowerPoint that are used in the workplace.

John Crecelius, the district's curriculum director, said the new high school classes will be ideal for students coming from junior high school. The junior high last year began requiring technology classes.

"We wanted to make sure these students had some advanced courses they could take when they come to the high school," Mr. Crecelius said.

The elementary schools also are incorporating more technology into the school day by expanding the use of the Waterford Early Reading Program, which provides lessons on the computer to help students master the basics of reading.

The district previously used Waterford in its all-day kindergarten classes and for some half-day kindergarten classes and special needs students in other grade levels. A $22,500 state grant received this year will fund teacher training, materials, and software purchases at Toth Elementary School, where Waterford is used with special education students.

This school year, all the elementary schools will begin using Waterford in first-grade classes.

"We've had great success with it. Waterford motivates kids to want to read," Mr. Crecelius said. "We're finding that every child in all-day kindergarten is reading at the first-grade, if not the second-grade, level by the time they leave kindergarten."

The district is spending $1.1 million over the next three years to expand the Waterford reading program to all first-grade classes. The money pays for equipment, software, teacher training, and a license that would allow the district to eventually expand the program to second grade classes.

Parents will get a taste of new technology this school year with an on-line grading system that will be used in sixth through 12th grades. By second semester, the district plans to let parents access the grading files.

"After the teachers get comfortable with it, there will be a piece where parents can log in and check on their own child's progress," Brent Shafer, technology director for the district, said. "Every other district I've talked to that has implemented the program has liked it."

The Perrysburg Digital Academy, sponsored by the district, will begin its third year this fall. The academy allows students in all grades to take on-line classes from home.

Shawn Deitemeyer, the academy's coordinator until his resignation goes into effect next month, said many students take both traditional classes and on-line classes. He said the digital classes were particularly effective last year in helping students pass classes they had fallen behind in and were failing.

"We helped a couple of seniors graduate," he said.

This year, Perrysburg teachers will start designing the on-line courses instead of contracting the job out to a separate educational agency.

"We're pretty excited about getting our people more involved with the teaching," Mr. Crecelius said.



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