District purchases Chromebooks for teachers

Published 10:36 am Tuesday, September 1, 2015

There will be changes at Albert Lea Area Schools when students return to school a week from today.

The district is looking at having a one-to-one middle school and high school student to Chromebook ratio within the school district in the next three to four years.

For this year, the district purchased a Chromebook for each teacher, and about 200 of the 275 teachers in the school district have been trained in using the Chromebook, said Superintendent Mike Funk.

Mike Funk

Mike Funk

Funk hopes the training will help teachers have a solid understanding of Chromebooks when each student receives them.

Carts of Chromebooks will be in each of the eight buildings within the school district for student use, Funk said.

He said there will be no increase in local taxes in association with the plan. The funds will come from the general district operating fund. Each Chromebook is expected to cost $200.

“We live in the digital age so most of the information that is accessible is online,” Funk said. “If we give students that tool, it will help them, not only now but in the future.”

A French language course is also being introduced to complement Spanish language classes.

Albert Lea High School is also introducing new advanced placement courses to students. Students will take AP classes throughout the school year. Students will take an AP exam in May to determine whether they qualify for college credit. The district will be covering the cost for the students to take the test.

“This will increase the rigor of some of our course work at the high school,” Funk said, noting

he is looking forward to the school year.

“The reason I am in education is because I like working with students,” he said. “The energy level I get from students and staff from school, it just gets your blood pumping. The energy is a great feeling.”

Days off during the school year include:

MEA break, Oct. 15 to 18.

Thanksgiving break, Nov. 26 to 29.

Christmas break, Dec. 23 to Jan. 3.

Presidents Day, Feb. 15.

Spring break, March 21 to 27

Staff development, April 4

Memorial Day, May 30.

Last day of school, June 2.

Snow days may have to be made up the week after the last week of school, Funk said.

Theresa Groesbeck, special education teacher at Albert Lea Area Schools, said she is excited for the school year.

“I’m always excited to see the students,” Groesbeck said. “Being able to give students an opportunity they may not have otherwise and the ability to learn different ways of teaching through the students’ needs are my favorite parts of the job.”

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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