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Colton-Pierrepont superintendent takes notebook IT talk to Saranac Lake

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COLTON – Colton-Pierrepont Central School District Superintendent Joseph Kardash will speak at a forum in Saranac Lake Oct. 10 about how his 335-student district equipped every student in the district from third grade up with inexpensive network-enabled netbooks, how he connected them to the Cloud and what the results have been.

School board members, teachers, IT professionals and leaders of parent-teacher groups in the Keene, Keene Valley, Lake Placid, Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake school districts have been invited to the forum Oct. 10 in the large group instruction room, upper level, Saranac Lake High School. The program will begin promptly at 7 p.m. Complimentary pizza will be served starting at 6 p.m.

The forum was conceived by members of the AdkAction.org board who heard Kardash deliver a similar presentation to a standing ovation in June at the North Country Technology Symposium at Clarkson University. AdkAction.org co-sponsors for the Tri-Lakes presentation are The Adirondack Community Trust, SLHS Parent Faculty Organization and Slic Network Solutions.

Every student from third grade up has his own netbook in Colton-Pierrepont, and students from grades 7 to 12 can take them home at night. Students complete all their assignments on the netbooks and teachers grade and return them with comments via the internet Cloud, where servers store the work securely as part of the cost of the netbooks (less than $200 each).

The netbook program has helped reduce school administrative service costs, provided help for busy teachers and given students research tools. Perhaps most important, Kardash says, the program provides computer fluency, which Kardash says is essential for college and career readiness, but which he says New York State fails to measure.

Like all other school districts in the Adirondacks and the nation, Colton-Pierrepont faced the looming 2014 deadline for mandated standardized testing online with computers. Affordable netbooks came on the market at about the time Colton-Pierrepont was coming to terms with the mandate, he said.

“Netbooks seemed like a better investment than just a Band-Aid – better use of our funds” (to fulfill the mandate), he said.

The Colton-Pierrepont IT director, Peter Edwards, will assist Kardash in the Oct. 10 presentation.

Kardash said his district, which introduced netbooks three years ago, is now beginning to experience exponential results. Students and teachers, who first used the netbooks three years ago, are now reaping the rewards.

“You don’t get to see exponential growth in a school district. It’s a system that’s been designed for linear growth for 100 years,” he said.

Participants in the forum will have a chance to take a test drive on several “loaners” of the machines Colton-Pierrepont is using.

The public is welcome at the forum; however, space in the room is limited. Reservations are required. Email alice@adkaction.org for more information.

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