Havre Public Schools trustees know that technology is playing an increasingly important role in students’ lives. And Tuesday they heard some numbers to prove it.
Havre Superintendent Andy Carlson told the trustees at their meeting Tuesday night about the results of a survey taken by Havre students of every grade.
The six-question survey was created to give the administration an idea of what they’re working with, as they start looking at how to update the district’s technology policy.
The first question asked if students had Internet access at home, and 93 percent said they did. The majority of those connections were broadband, cable or DSL, though some said they just used cellphone connections. About 10 percent use a dial-up connection.
Only 63 percent of parents said that they used the districts’ website, http://www.havre.k12.mt.us.
Trustee Theresa Miller said that she remembers not ever having a reason to check the site when her kids were at Highland Park Early Primary School.
Carlson said that the number is probably lower because the lack of use in elementary years pulled down the very high rates of participation in Havre High School, where nearly every parent logs on. Carlson said that working on bringing in parents of younger students is definitely a priority.
When asked about device availability, 63 percent of responders said they have some sort of portable device at home, mostly laptops, e-readers and iPads. Then 75 percent said that they would be allowed to bring a device from home to school. Carlson said this was lower for younger students.
Karla Geda, principal at Lincoln-McKinley Primary School, said she has seen a growing number of students bringing e-readers — Nooks and Kindles — into her classrooms.
Havre High School Assistant Principal Kipp Lewis said that the only devices in the classroom, so far, are the ones the school provides, but that smartphones are used all through the halls.
Carlson acknowledged the need for rule changes, as, under the current rules, almost every high school student should be in detentions constantly.
“Students may use cellular phones, pagers, and other electronic signaling or audio recording/playback devices on campus before school begins and after school ends, ” the high school’s student handbook says. “These devices must be kept out of sight and turned off during the school day, 8:15 to 3:17, with the exception of lunch time. Therefore, unauthorized use is grounds for confiscation of the device by school officials, including classroom teachers. ”
The board spoke with students at the meeting about the ubiquity of their devices, and everyone agreed that something needs to be done soon.
“What we’re saying now is, ‘don't bring it, because we can't deal with it, ’” Carlson said.