INDIAN LAND --
Indian Land Middle School is preparing for another school year with changes in store for teachers and students.
Last year, Indian Land Middle began creating a Kindle Fire lab, stocked with the popular tablet computer. The school has 30 Kindle Fires, donated by the Rotary Club, PTA and by special donation from a grandparent of a student.
Principal David McDonald McDonald hopes to grow that lab to 60 Kindle Fires by the end of the year.
Students use teacher-approved apps to help them study for tests and read books on the Kindles.
“It’s just another piece of technology they can use,” McDonald said. “Textbooks are obsolete. This is the future.”
Students are also allowed to bring tablets from home to work on. They are only allowed on the Internet with the supervision of a teacher, but can use the tablets throughout the day to take notes or read books.
“If we don’t embrace this, we’re going to be in a mess in public education. We have to give the kids the opportunity to use what they know,” McDonald said.
New staff, programs
The school will add a new assistant principal this year, bringing the total to two assistants to work with McDonald.
“We’ve been due one for awhile but with budget cuts we haven’t been able to,” McDonald said. “It gives us the opportunity to spend more individual time with students and teachers.”
New classes will also be offered in the fall, including a STEM program headed by Lisa Bachini, focusing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
“The teacher will teach from those fields, doing things with robotics and aviation. It’s a good way to push those math and science skills,” McDonald said.
As in the past, the school will also continue to focus on ways to improve students’ reading skills.
Middle School 101 classes will focus more on reading strategies and skills. The class will teach students to improve their reading comprehension, read faster and more fluently.
“That tends to be the area kids struggle the most. If they struggle with reading, they struggle with all classes,” McDonald said. “Reading is in everything.”
This will be the fifth year the school participates in the One School, One Book program. Their selection, “Roberto Clemente, the Story of a Champion,” is the school’s first nonfiction selection. After school starts, students and staff will read the book and have opportunities to discuss it.
“We’re always looking for something new to do for these kids. We’re looking for bigger and better,” McDonald said.