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Schools launch social media-channels

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POSTED: February 27, 2014 7:30 a.m.
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Liberty County Schools' website is at liberty.k12.ga.us.

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Liberty County school-board members witnessed the district’s official social-media channels launch Tuesday morning during a regular work session.
The official launch and meeting was streamed live on the system’s main webpage and followed on Twitter.
Links to the system’s Facebook and Twitter pages can be found at the top of the district’s website, liberty.k12.ga.us.
The new Liberty County School System webpage actually launched last June, according to Cathy Lane, district technology specialist and social-media program supervisor. Lane acts as webmaster for the school system’s webpage, Facebook and Twitter pages, and individual schools’ webpages. Several high-school students also are involved in assisting with the system’s social-media pages.
Lane said Dr. Patti Crane, the system’s executive director of technology, initially created the Facebook and Twitter pages in August 2013, under the direction of John Lyles, assistant superintendent of operations.
School officials said the system’s social-media channels will post news, photos, video and other content to promote student achievements, as well as information for parents and residents.
Crane updated the board on how comfortable teachers are using technology in the classroom and informed them about equipment that needs to be maintained or replaced.
“We’ve not only done an analysis of where we are, but where we’re headed and what we need to do to get to that next level,” said Jason Rogers, assistant superintendent for administrative services.
The district has 5,500 computers and laptops available for teachers, Crane said. These pieces of equipment have an average age of 5 to 9 years, though some computers are as old as 11 years, she said. The district has 4,362 iPads with an average age of 2 years, 705 Smart Boards with an average age of 8 years, 471 CPS (Classroom Performance System) units with an average age of 7 years, and 803 (Smart Board) projectors with an average age of 5 to 7 years, according to Crane, who admitted equipment can be costly. Projector bulbs cost $300 each to replace, she said.
Teachers told administrators, by way of a survey, that they are most comfortable using Internet resources and Smart Boards. Faculty members want more “how-to” training, specifically focusing on the content they teach, Crane said. She said there is a push for blended professional training in technology, using both online and face-to-face training.
Crane said updating teachers’ laptops and providing them with iPads and netbooks are priorities. She added that mounting projectors in the middle and high schools also would benefit teachers and students.
In other school-board business, Mary Alexander, assistant superintendent for student services, told board members a math-assistance program would be implemented after students take the CRCT. ALLY (Aligning Level Specific Math Learning Opportunities that Yield Uncommon Results) is set up to help prepare eighth-graders for the ninth-grade coordinate-algebra course by offering them key terminology and basic subject components, Alexander said.
She also informed the board that the system has a total of $415,217 left in Title II funds to be spent on professional training. Some of the teacher training will be conducted through the summer, she said.
Title 1 funds will be spent on this Saturday’s Parent Involvement Conference, according to Alexander.
“Former NFL player Dusty Ziegler will be the guest speaker,” she said.  Ziegler previously served as chairman on the Effingham County Commission.
The conference will be held from 9:30 a.m.-noon Saturday at the board of education’s central office, 200 Bradwell St. in Hinesville. Parents will break into groups to explore such topics as avoiding homework hassles, technology resources, student-success strategies, communication with schools, math, test-taking tips and building a child’s personalized reading list.
Child care will be provided, school officials said.

 

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