Technology abounds at WJ Schools

Jefferson Local Schools has put technological innovation to work.

Across the buildings, the district has 450 desktop computers, 12 servers, 40 printers, 20 Smartboards, a student information system, and an online grade book system for teachers, students and their parents.

“Every department at Jefferson Local Schools uses technology in one way or another,” said Curt Dennis, director of technology at the Nov. 3 school board meeting. “From maintenance to the athletic department and foodservice, we all use technology.”

Dennis was at the meeting to give his assessment of the state of technological development in the district and to give an overview of the future.

“In four years, we want to change our phone system for a voiceover IP phone system, and while the overlay looks expensive, we will see the cost benefits go down,” he said.

Dennis said the district also could see an increase in its number of Smartboards.

“The teachers tell me that this has been a great tool for their students. The kids love them, and the interaction has been very nice.”

Technology and its upkeep can be very expensive, but Jefferson Local Schools has done some tweaking in expenditures to keep the costs down.

Last year, they stopped paying $6,000 a year for a printing contract by switching to a program that allows the district to buy its own toner and only pay for broken parts. They have changed their anti-virus software provider resulting in a savings of $1,500 per year, and stopped paying for imaging software and implemented Microsoft’s free Desktop Development Software.

“This past summer was the first chance for a full-scale trial with the new machines… there were a couple of bumps, but it went very well overall,” Dennis said. “I have presented this to other technology coordinators in the state because word spread of our district’s use of it.

“It has caused some pretty big savings for every district involved.”

Dennis noted that in the three years he has been with Jefferson Local Schools, the district has not increased the technology budget.

“Technology is one area where we can provide leadership, where other schools can look at us for ideas,” said Superintendent William Mullet.

In other news, the American Jazz Experience will perform for the middle school students on Nov. 20.

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