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.

Xtremely Wireless

New LBUSD Chief Technology Officer Sean Colt and his team are at work upgrading the wireless infrastructure at all four Laguna Beach school sites. Colt was charged with designing and implementing the installation of a wireless infrastructure at his previous district. Prior to his August start date, Colt collaborated on LBUSD’s plans with former Chief Technology Officer Victor Guthrie, who accepted a technology position in Abu Dhabi. According to Colt, the improved wireless infrastructure will “lay the foundation for 21st Century Learning and open the doors to ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) for students. This generous donation will provide the latest infrastructure and technology access to our students greatly enhancing their learning and overall educational experience.”

The $150,000 upgrade, funded by generous donors through SchoolPower’s 2013 fund-a-need (including a $50,000 gift from Endowment), is expected to be “xtremely” operational in October of 2013.

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