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Roxboro Community School (RCS) today announced its highly anticipated RCS School of the Future Initiative to students and parents. The RCS School of the Future Initiative was developed over many months with the goal of enhancing the core mission of the school, one facet of which was to be a school that used technology in unique ways to enhance the student learning experience.
The RCS School of the Future Initiative is primarily shaped by the fact that RCS is committed to being on the cutting edge of technology and its use in education, that middle school students will have regular access to computers in the school, and high school students will have their own take home computer to be used in all curriculum areas. It is also shaped by the following more specific objectives:
Enhance the learning environment and teach children to be critical thinkers through the use of technology,
Prepare students for using technology in a post secondary school environment including college and the professional work environment,
Eliminate the boundaries set by traditional school environments; students learn at different paces based on their abilities and their specific needs,
Support parent involvement in their children's educational experience through the use of technology.
The RCS School of the Future Initiative represents a significant investment of the school's resources and the RCS Board of Directors has committed to spend in excess of $1.5 million over the next 10 years to support technology in the school.
"This isn't something we're just planning on doing one year and then forgetting about," said RCS Board Chair Donald Long, "We are committed to the long term education of our students and as such we must be commited to long-term funding of their technology needs and their technology education. We want our parents and students to know they are going to get an education at RCS that is like no other. We have exceptional teachers and we plan to enhance their abilities with technology that helps students learn better."
The RCS School of the Future Initiative is a comprehensive approach to incorporating technology into every aspect of the school and its curiculum. The plan is highlighted by the following features:
Provide laptop computers to our Senior class as a pilot project for all high school students to have laptop computers - August, 2009,
Install an internal television system and create RCS-TV, with monitors in the Bulldog Café, the main lobby/foyer area, and the media center - August, 2009,
Provide a Mobile Computing Lab for use by teachers and students - August, 2009,
Install the infrastructure to support the new RCS School of the Future Initiative. This includes wireless access points, backup devices, switches, cabling, file servers, increased internet bandwidth, etc. - August, 2009,
Create unique student computer login accounts with email, data storage, and appropriate security - August, 2009
Replace all teacher desktop computers with laptop computers - January, 2010,
Transform the Bulldog Café into the Bulldog Internet Café with the installation of 40 computers to serve students during lunch and as an additional computer lab when lunch is not being served - February, 2010,
Install television monitors in all classrooms, making RCS-TV available to the whole school - April, 2010
Beyond the end of the 2009-2010 school year, the plan will be fully implemented for the 2010-2011 school year, so expect the following to be implemented by August, 2010.
Provide laptops to all high school students,
Develop, identify, and purchase all software and technology items for teacher classrooms that are specific to the curriculum,
Incorporate multimedia presentations, the internet, and other technology into the lesson plans where appropriate. The object is to change the way students learn and to use the technology available to us to do it. (Please visit the web site http://www.microsoft.com/education/lessonplans.mspx for sample lesson plans that demonstrate how teaching might change once students have all of the technology available to them).
Develop an advanced Network Administration curriculum for Junior and Senior level students. The students will be managing and maintaining the school's technology systems in a way that few other schools are currently doing. Courses will be developed to teach students how to run a professional computer system with the same technologies used in the business world.
Provide an internship opportunity for up to three students. Students would apply for three open positions to work on the RCS computer system during the summer. These will be full time, paying summer jobs for those who qualify.
The RCS School of the Future Initiative is not just about putting computer equipment in the hands of students and teachers. It is about changing the way students learn and teachers teach, so the RCS School of the Future Initiative calls on teachers to develop new lesson plans that might not be focused so much on opening a book to a certain page, reading a passage, and answering questions. The school of the future will use technology so that teachers and students meet objectives in ways that take into account differences in personalities, individual abilities, and learning styles. The School of the Future will not be a mass production facility, rather it will produce a customized learning experience.
According to RCS Principal Walter Finnigan, "The workplace of the future will continue to be technology driven. The college of the future will continue to be technology driven. It makes sense that middle school and high school should also be technology driven so that our students have a better shot at succeeding both acedemically and professionally."
Finnigan continued, "As I've said before, our goal is to be to be among the best schools in the nation and the RCS School of the Future Initiative is just one of the ways we plan to acheive that goal. We want to offer a tailored educational experience to our students and the only way we can do that is by using the same technology currently being used in the private sector. There are very few schools accross the nation who have embraced this idea like RCS is embracing it, but it really just makes sense to do so. It should just ring true to people."