Thursday, August 17, 2000
Cynthia Ferrendelli doesn't doubt the importance of her volunteer service on the school district's Technology Commission.
"We have to give our kids the chance to compete in a global economy and computerized world," she said. "The change is happening. We can either get caught up in it, or be left in the dust."
The Steamboat Springs School Board, she said, " has made a tremendous effort to make sure the kids aren't left in the dust."
Ferrendelli and other current members of the commission will continue their work this year. At its Monday meeting, the school board reappointed the same group of volunteers who have been serving on the district's Technology and Growth commissions. Commission members all re-volunteered for the positions.
"It's a very worthwhile cause," Ferrendelli said. "I enjoy being an active member because it's good to give the district some direction and forethought regarding these issues."
The Technology Commission's goals will basically continue unchanged, Ferrendelli said: to keep up with technology and technological advances, and to make sure that every student has adequate access and education to keep up on his or her own.
As a sign of the technology skills local students are picking up: Steamboat Springs Middle School students will be using the district's newest software to help the community during the 2000-2001 school year.
Eighth-grade teachers George Weber and Lisa Lorenz are leading their students on new projects that will involve geographical information systems software.
Eighth-graders will map parts of the Routt Nation Forest impacted by the blowdown and beetle infestation, record the past 100 years of Yampa River changes and work with the Colorado Department of Wildlife to track local bear sightings.
"It's really exciting. This is great stuff," said middle school staff and technology coordinator Sue Wenzlau.
The Growth Commission's primary objectives are to keep class sizes small, to focus on district content standards, and to use its funding to purchase land for future growth.
The commission already has purchased about 36 acres in the Steamboat II area as a prospective site for a new school.
A half-cent sales tax helps the district deal with growth in the student population and increase technology resources. The tax has generated about $1.5 million a year. Each of the commissions receives 40 percent, or about $600,000 of that amount. The remaining 20 percent is held in reserve in case one of the commissions needs extra funding for a special project at some point.
To reach Bonnie Nadzam call 871-4205 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org