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Marengo County Board of Education receives technology update

Technology Coordinator Kate Huggins provided an update for the Marengo County Board of Education at the most recent meeting on Dec. 19.

The district has changed website platforms for ADA compliance and purchased several new pieces of technology, including 70 Chromebooks, four 25-port charging carts, two Viewsonic Interactive Panels, six iPads, 15 headphones with microphone, 18 Chromeboxes with new computer monitors and four desktops.

Items that were stolen from Sweet Water High School in late summer were also replaced, including 38 iPads, 40 Chromebooks, 33 Kindles, three desktops, and one printer.

A. L. Johnson High School recently acquired a SWIVL video camera for teachers to record themselves and assess their teaching skills. SWHS and Marengo High School are now outfitted with Chromeboxes and big screen TVs for scrolling announcements.

“It’s a good place to have important information for parents or anybody who comes in,” Huggins said, adding that it can also be used to share student achievements.

The district also received a Backpack Grant from the ALSDE, which allowed the purchase of a laptop, projector, Chromecast, tablet and online professional development opportunities for five teachers. The grant awarded approximately $7,000 to the district, and each school’s principal chose teachers to benefit from the supplies. SWHS teachers Brittany James, Angie Lewis and Phala Mims and ALJ teacher Wendy Sammons will benefit from the grant. A teacher from MHS will also benefit but has yet to be determined.

Other upgrades include replacing horns and speakers at the schools, purchasing Adobe Creative Cloud for the school system, upgrading to NextGen Payroll Server taking effect in Jan. 2020 and purchasing 100 Microsoft Office Suite licenses for students.

“They need those skills … whether they’re going to college or straight out into the workforce,” she said.

Professional development opportunities have also come with the technology updates. Huggins, K12 Instructional Leader Cathy Seale and Director of Special Education and Secondary Curriculum/Student Assessment Coordinator Kathy Pritchett all attended a recent PowerSchools summit. Upcoming training sessions are also being provided for other classroom technologies. Programs and software that the school district has recently introduced includes bookcreator.com, quizzes via Google Forms and eMints.

(This article originally appeared in the Wednesday, January 15 issue of the Demopolis Times.)