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FPS expands technology footprint

Posted: Monday, Nov 25th, 2013

In a world where technology rules most everything, the Flandreau Public School has decided to add on to its already extensive web footprint.

At the beginning of the year, the School introduced a program called the ICU or ‘Intensive Care Unit’ for students who have missed assignments, need extra help, or did poor quality of work.

The program is set for the last 20 minutes of every school day, meaning that all teachers, coaches, and other faculty are available for assistance, students not on the list can leave school at that time.

For example, if a student turns in an poorly done Math assignment, his or her teacher would go onto the ICU website, place the students information on it, and then that student reports to ICU to get help to better understand the assignment; the same goes for missed assignment, or late assignments.

One of the best features of the new program is that once a student is placed on ICU, an email is sent to each parent or guardian, as well as a text message to one of them, letting them know their child is on the ICU list, and to help keep them accountable. Once an assignment is completed, another email is sent out to inform the parents/guardians that the assignment is complete.

“Parents I have talked to have been very pleased because of the availability to teachers, make-up and missing work is completed in a timely manner, which helps with continuity and a great incentive for students to make good use of their class time so they can be dismissed early,” Flandreau Technology Coordinator Marda Olson says.

According to Superintendent Rick Weber, the amount of failing students has dropped drastically from 39 at this time last year, to just 15 now with the ICU program.

But the school’s technology upgrade doesn’t stop there, the school has made the move to Facebook.com, the popular social media site.

Olson has been working on making a Facebook profile page for the school for a while now and has officially launched it for access to the world.

Between Olson, Superintendent Weber and the School Board, they decided that this was a way to keep people up to date with information, events, weather issues, as well as share photos from the events at the school such as programs and plays to sports and concerts.

Flandreau joins a list of several other schools that have made this jump such as Kimball, Harrisburg and Garretson.

It is important to note that the website is not guaranteed to be all-inclusive, and photos used or taken by the staff aren’t guaranteed to be used on the site.

Again, the footprint continues to grow. As the school’s technology coordinator, she has amassed thousands of photos over the years and really has nothing to do with them. She didn’t want to throw them away so she searched around and found a website that she could store all the photos.

The site is called SmugMug, and it allows the school to put photos from past years on there for the school to sell to parents, students, and relatives.

The school had the option of giving the photos away for free or charging a small fee per print, and chose to go with charging the money in order to raise money for the yearbook.

Currently, the yearbook’s cost is subsidized through the district and they are losing money on printing them, the hope is that with the raised funds, they can offset that cost; any additional money past that will be used for camera equipment as approved by the School Board.

Right now, Olson plans on using photos from as far back as 2009-10, but she says it is a work in progress and it takes time to collect, review and upload the photos to the site. As more photos come in, they will be placed on the site for people to purchase.

The school says that photos will consist not only of sporting events but also concerts, All-School Reunion photos, Veterans Day photos and much more.

“We have so many pictures that may be to interest of parents and community members that would otherwise be left to sit on a server,” Olson said. “Hopefully others will be able to enjoy them and appreciate the work of our student photographers,” she added.

The site has not yet gone live, but Olson says to watch the School’s webpage for the link when it does.

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