Richmond Middle School has received another eMINTS grant that will create a second eMINTS classroom at the school.
“We were notified about receiving it less than a month ago, but the $28,850 check was presented the night of the school board meeting (June 9),” said Dr. Damon Kizzire, RMS principal.
Eighth grade science teacher Eddie Hodges said he was informed about the grant, made available by Bank of America, early this spring by Curriculum Director Julie Stevenson.
The grant will completely equip Eddie Hodge’s eighth grade science classroom with computers, a SmartBoard, the overhead camera that projects the information onto the SmartBoard, and the tables, as well as several hundred hours of professional development.
“Julie Stevenson asked Eddie (Hodges) if he wanted to apply for the additional grant. With his background in business, and having helped Mr.(William) Dooley with his grant, he wrote the grant himself. Julie and Tom Williamson [technology director] have been working with eMINTS for the last two-three years, so we have a tie in to knowing what they’re looking for,” said Dr. Kizzire.
“Only four schools in the state of Missouri would divide the $96,000 grant,” said Hodges.
These funds, along with district funds, would equip a second eMINTS classroom within a building in four Missouri school districts. Hodges said Mr. William Dooley, seventh grade science teacher at RMS, helped with this program when he established the first eMINTS classroom for the district just two years ago. Dooley retired at this end of the 2008-09 school year.
“The kids will be coming from the fourth and fifth grades at Sunrise, where they had a computer classroom to sixth grade, where we don’t yet have computer facilities, and then into seventh and eighth grade science where they pick it up again,” said Dr. Kizzire. Sixth grade students in the Expanded Horizons program spend an hour each day in the school’s computer lab.
“Education has come a long way in the past 33 years. We have seen students enter the technology age with gusto. Students were not ‘texting’ six years ago. Today, they all text, and communicate; quicker than anybody would have ever imagined,” wrote Mr. Dooley in his retirement letter. “We went from classroom use of filmstrips, audio reel-to-reel tapes and 16mm projectors to laptops, MP3s, YouTube, DVDs and digital camera images. The computer is no longer just a toy, but a necessity for learning. Students don’t see the computer as just a ‘game’ machine, but a useful tool to communicate their ideas after conducting online research.”
“The exciting thing about the eMINTS classroom is that it brings everything to the classroom that students need to compete and succeed in the math or science classroom. And not just the access to technology, but the training to help students integrate technology with learning,” said Hodges. “Technology in the Richmond School District has greatly improved in the past few years, thanks to Tom Williamson. It is always a great pursuit to look for every opportunity to improve what we are doing.”
Dr. Kizzire said some of the professional development training and some of the supplies will be in place to start the new school year with, but doesn’t anticipate the new computers to arrive until after the first of the year in 2010.
“At RMS, our principal, Dr. Damon Kizzire, continues to make it clear that RMS Rocks! So, it is only natural to desire the highest expectations for the students of Richmond. This is a desire that has been coordinated by the Board of Education and Mr. Robins (Superintendent. Jim Robins) throughout the entire school district,” said Hodges.
The eMINTS program originated in the state of Missouri as an educational program, in collaboration with the Missouri Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education and University of Missouri System Office of Academic Affairs, designed to train educators. The acronym stands for Enhancing Missouri’s Instructional Networked Teaching Strategies. The program’s goal focuses on technology in the classroom, as well as social interaction and student responsibility.