School official explains new Internet safeguards and expanded rollout of iPads

A new measure to make inappropriate online content inaccessible to students, and plans to expand the number of students with iPads in their hands, are in the works for Huntington County schools.

Chuck Grable, assistant superintendent of the Huntington County Community School Corporation, presented a technology update to the school board on Monday evening, Feb. 11.

Grable said he wanted the board to know "where we've started and where we've come so far" concerning the 1:1 digital initiative.

He recapped the corporation's accomplishments throughout the 2012-13 school year, detailing the obstacles such as bandwidth issues and safe Internet searches, and explained the timeline in which these issues were solved.

He also set forth a proposed timeline for the next rollout of iPads to kindergarten through fifth grade students.

Currently, the plan is to distribute the next round of iPads before the 2013-14 school year.

After March 1, Grable says, 250 students throughout the county will participate in a trial run for the proposed district-wide firewall, which Grable says will prevent students from accessing inappropriate content on any iPad whether the student is in or out of school.

After the pilot of that firewall, he anticipates plans will move forward to implement the iPads at the elementary level.

The board also heard a presentation by Lancaster Principal Russ Degitz. Degitz thanked his staff members for the "tremendous job" they do, and explained some of Lancaster's special programs such as "30 Reasons to Celebrate" and rewarding students' "life skills." These programs reward students for good behavior, which Degitz says encourages them to continue on that path.

In other business:

• The board approved four new ECA employees: Todd Fiedler, eighth grade boys' track at Crestview; Barb Gressley, seventh grade girls' track at Crestview; Ray Houser, boys' soccer coach at Crestview; and Sandra Willcox, eighth grade girls' track at Crestview.

• Jon Bennett, assistant superintendent for business and classified staff, said the 2013 budgets have been certified, with $25,000 to $30,000 more in funds than last year.

• The board scheduled a Stakeholder Focus Group meeting for March 6; an administrative session of the board for March 15; and an executive session of the board for March 16.

• Grable reported that in the most recent Sumdog math contest at Crestview Middle School several students placed in the top slots, with Braden Updike finishing in first place overall.

He also congratulated Riverview Middle School on their geography team's win.

• The board congratulated Lincoln Elementary School Principal Adam Drummond on being named Outstanding Alumni by Ball State University.