Grant to provide Pottsville Area School District with new technology
While not all school districts have the technological ability to go virtual during severe winter weather, a new grant is helping Pottsville to do that and more.
POTTSVILLE, Pa. — This is a normal day in a STEM class at John S. Clarke Elementary in Pottsville. While it may not look like it, the students are doing enrichment activities through iPads.
Now it’s out with the old and in with the new, as a federal grant that’s just shy of $1 million will provide more than 2,400 new iPads.
Meaning students of all grade levels in the Pottsville Area School District will receive one.
“Our iPads that we currently offer for the students are at the end of their lifetime. Meaning they are no longer supported by Apple, they won’t receive updates anymore. So this will give us the ability to refresh and provide new technology to the students,” said Technology Director Andrew Diehl.
But this money is being used for more than new tablets. It will also go towards funding resources for students who may not have internet access at home.
“We do have some hotspots that we are able to give out on a regular basis. So families just need to communicate their needs with us,” added Superintendent Dr. Sarah Yoder.
The teachers at John S. Clarke Elementary say making students comfortable around technology at a young age will set them up for success when finding a job in their adult life.
“This Bluetooth device that may simulate a toy right now, but in the future, later on, they may be controlling full-sized robots the same way they’re controlling these robots now,” Riyuichi Narita, the elementary school’s STEM teacher, said.
The technological upgrade also allows school to stay in session despite inclement weather.
Pottsville Area School District has already implemented virtual learning on snow days.
“The ability to call a virtual day instead of a snow day allows school districts to stay on track and also provide some valuable learning opportunities for students, especially since we do know that post-secondary education does have a lot of online opportunities for instruction,” Dr. Yoder explained.
Even with the increased technology, administrative staff at the Pottsville Area School District says they balance virtual days and school closures to keep the magic that comes with snow days.
Check out WNEP’s YouTube channel.