While district leaders are the first to tell you that technology doesn’t take the place of excellent teaching, it plays an important role in preparing students to navigate the 21st century global economy. And it's extremely effective! Just ask a teacher who has introduced SuccessMaker or iPads to their classroom. These programs and tools are expanding the methods and horizons of students and educators and will become an even more significant aspect of daily instruction as LBUSD transitions to the Common Core instruction.

Investing in educational technology the right way is an ongoing process. SchoolPower has utilized its Fund-a-Need for various technology programs over the past few years. Through monthly meetings and reports, the LBUSD/SchoolPower leadership team strives to assure that funding priorities have been thoroughly vetted so that donor dollars can be maximized. Funding discussions focus on issues like whether the resources are consistent with the district’s long term goals and curriculum, whether the technology is efficiently supported by and consistent with the district’s existing technology, whether the technology can be sustained over time and whether teachers have access to the training and are ready to take on a new tool. The end result has helped to take the Laguna Beach Unified School District from being one of the weakest technologically in Orange County to one of the strongest.

2014 Fund-a-Need: xTremely iNteractive

"Last year's Fund-a-Need upgraded the district’s wireless network and allowed the increased use of classroom technology at all four schools,” said SchoolPower President Lynn Gregory. “We now have the infrastructure in place to take the next step with these new tools."

The crowd raised paddles and pledged approximately $140,000 for this year’s Fund-a-Need, including an especially impactful and inspiring donation by Holly and David Wilson. In addition to their many contributions to the event, the Wilsons generously committed $37,880 to purchase Apple TVs and large screen monitors.

Via a video, "What Does a 21st Century Classroom Look Like?", the audience heard from Laguna's teachers about changes on local school campuses. "It's been really exciting to integrate technology into the classroom so much more this year," said Sarah Schaeffer, a Thurston Middle School English teacher. "Obviously, the end goal is not just technology for technology's sake. Students need these skills to be successful 21st century learners."

"When we are able to use technology, it is some of the highest engagement we have with our students," said El Morro teacher Greg Togawa. "They're focused. They're motivated. They want to learn."

2013 Fund-a-Need: Xtremely Wireless

SchoolPower’s 2013 fund-a-need raised $150,000 (including a $50,000 gift from Endowment) to upgrade the wireless infrastructure a all four Laguna Beach schools. These generous donations provided the latest infrastructure and technology access to our students, greatly enhancing their learning and overall educational experience.

Technology grants awarded for the past three school years are:

5 Laptops for Center Enrichment, $3871, TOW
iPad classroom pilot program, $600, LBHS
History Alive! Virtual Notebook, $10000, Michelle Martinez, TMS

iPads for Education Elementary 5th grade pilot project funded by combined Endowment Grant and a donation from the Martini family, $37300, 5th grade teams), TOW and ELM
iPad cases, $4200, EM, Tauna Knudson
Innovative teaching using the iPod Touch, $7500, TOW, Ron LaMotte
Expanding Multimedia at Thurston, $990, Andy Crisp

Structured Independent Learning on a Laptop, $9999, EM, 4th grade team
Rtl Progress Laptops, $6000, EM, Kim Adams
Innovative Teaching using the iPod Touch ,$8000, Linda Barker, TOW
Laptops for 5th grade, $8000, TOW, Rosie Haynes