Livermore Falls board approves computers for high school students

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LIVERMORE FALLS — Every student at Livermore Falls High School will have a computer after RSU 36 directors Thursday unanimously authorized the superintendent to acquire 160 Apple computers at $299 each.

When every student at the high school has a laptop that can be taken home it will allow the school to truly use technology as a teaching tool, Superintendent Susan Pratt told the board.

“It’s a different model of teaching but it changes the way a classroom operates,” she said.

The computers will provide a better opportunity for assignments and communication outside the classroom just as middle school students in the system presently have.

Pratt has found funds within the budget to accommodate the nearly $48,000 needed for the computers allowing the school to buy into the state lease program. The leases could be carried over if schools consolidate.

The new computers will be the same as those purchased for the school last year so that staff and students will have the same accessibility. Funds may also be available to help parents who cannot afford Internet access, she said.

This could be the last chance to buy into the state program so if no action is taken, it could mean waiting another three to four years for this opportunity, she said. At today’s pace of technological change that is a long time.

In other preparations for the start of school, the board approved reinstating a late bus to give students the opportunity to stay after school for more study and extra help.

The bus had been eliminated from the budget but Pratt recommended reinstating it in light of the focus to improve studies and help students complete courses successfully.

The bus, used by high- and middle-school students, makes up to 24 stops depending on who’s using the bus. The expense would range between $3,000 and $5,000 depending on the number of days the bus runs. The funds are available within the budget, Pratt said.

The board also approved the hiring of Katie LaFreniere of Livermore Falls as an English teacher at the high school and Jan Barlow of South Paris as an art teacher at the high school.

Deanna Hamblin was hired as a half-time school nurse and Sandra Foss as a 30-hour bus driver.

The RSU 36 staff will meet on Aug. 30 prior to the return of students on Sept. 1.

The board approved keeping school lunch prices the same as last year and approved a new student code of conduct that defines unacceptable student behavior, establishes standards of student responsibility for behavior and indicates consequences for violation of the code.

The code was taken from present school policies and will be posted on the school’s website and included in the student handbook.

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