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Varnett installing interactive white boards, security cameras

Varnett is embarking on two key projects in preparation for the 2010-11 school year.

Staffers have begun installing the rest of the Promethean ActiveBoards for pre-kindergarten through second-grade classrooms. The boards, large interactive displays that combine the wonders of the computer and projection with the simplicity of a whiteboard, were installed in grades 3 through 5 earlier this year at all three campuses.

The summer work involves installing 28 boards with the 78-inch screens in the lower grades at the Southwest Campus, 16 at Northeast and 15 at East. The equipment replaces the dated chalk boards and overhead projectors and will encourage increased student participation and collaboration. For example, a teacher will be able to call up visual and written material from the internet to be used as learning tools.

Superintendent Annette Cluff has said installation of this technological advancement is the result of parents’ fund-raising efforts to ensure that their children receive an exemplary education utilizing 21st Century technology.

The other major project is the installation of 210 security cameras in areas throughout the district for student safety and the documentation of events or disputed occurrences. “There will be no blind spots,” said Alsie Cluff III, assistant facilities and operations manager. The new cameras are in addition to the estimated 150 already utilized on the campuses. Microphones are also being installed.

The cameras will better ensure the sighting of students as they walk down the hallways or enter and exit buildings. Or if a child falls and he says was pushed, Varnett officials will go to cameras for verification. “This is not so much about Big Brother; it’s about the safely of the kids,” Mr. Cluff said.

Alsie Cluff III, assistant facilities and operations manager, puts finishing touches on a Promethean ActiveBoard installed in a pre-kindergarten classroom at the Southwest Campus.

Technology coordinator Jeff Siler prepares to take security cameras for installation in buildings throughout the district.
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