Latest technology coming to SMFC elementary schools 

An interactive whiteboard and new computers are just two of the technology upgrades San Mateo-Foster City Elementary School District officials plan to bring to the classrooms by next school year.

The district’s chief business official, Micaela Ochoa, said the district wants every classroom to have the new technology.

“Kids can sit at their desk and write on the board using a tablet or go up to the board and write on it with their fingers,” she said. “We want to be consistent districtwide, so we are putting it in every classroom.”

The $9.3 million to put these interactive whiteboards in the district’s 570 classrooms is part of Measure L, a $298 million bond passed by voters in 2008.

Officials hope to have this technology installed by the new school year.

According to the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities, the interactive whiteboards have positive and negative effects.

The boards make learning easier and support various learning styles. The drawbacks, though, include cognitive overload, a passive role for students and preparation time of lesson plans, as listed in a study printed by the organization in September 2009.

In addition to the technology upgrades, four schools in the district will have will have modernization and facility upgrades as a result of Measure L funds.

College Park Elementary School, Fiesta Gardens International School in San Mateo and Foster City Elementary School will each get an estimated $20 million in modernization, according to Ochoa.

Modernization includes new roofs, windows and energy-efficient walls and doors, Ochoa said. These three schools were next in line for needed upgrades.

During these upgrades, Ochoa said, the schools will also address some capacity issues.

The district has been struggling with a growing elementary population as new families move to the area. Many of the schools are at capacity. Discussions to build a fourth elementary school in Foster City have been placed on hold until the district receives updated enrollment projections, which are expected next month.

Until then, Baywood Elementary School in San Mateo will receive a new instructional building with 10 new classrooms from the bond money. A total cost estimate was not available.

“We’re still growing,” Ochoa said. “So we still need to address capacity short term and look at an elementary in the long term.”

Upgrading

Uses for Measure L:

- Modernize facilities
- New construction
- Overcrowding relief
- Seismic upgrades
- Technology upgrades

Source: San Mateo-Foster City School District

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

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