TUPPER LAKE - Faculty and staff of the Tupper Lake Central School District, which begins school today, plan to focus this year on the big picture of how technology is affecting the students there.
District Superintendent Seth McGowan said that as today's students grow up increasingly familiar with technology, their needs are changing.
"It's really a complete shift in thinking," McGowan said. "It's not the hardware, it's not the software, it's the thinking skills that accompany this generation of technological natives."
Tupper Lake Middle/High School students, including Broyce Guerette, holding a skateboard, helmet and a cast on his arm, step off the bus this morning for the first day of classes.
(Enterprise photo — Jessica Collier)
McGowan said he has been speaking to faculty in the district about how the schools need to stay on top of these changes and figure out how to capitalize on them. Students today have infinite amounts of information at their fingertips, and the schools will need to help them sort through it, McGowan said.
Some individual technology improvements include the installation of a new security system and an emergency call system at the school. A set of surveillance cameras and a new key-card system are being installed at both L.P Quinn Elementary School and the middle/high school.
McGowan said the school tested the new emergency call system, AlertNow, last week.
"Everything that we wanted to have happen happened," McGowan said. "It worked flawlessly."
The system can call every household of students in the district, or it can isolate specific groups of students, like football players or fourth-graders, to call.
McGowan said some time in the next month he will probably send a welcome message out to all the houses in the district via the call system.
Beyond this year's technology focus, McGowan said the schools will continue refining their educational process.
"That's not very flashy, but boy, that's important," McGowan said.
He said the district has been making an effort to make instructional decisions based on real data, like statewide and local assessment statistics.
"We're doing a much better job of that, and this year we're going to push that even more," McGowan said. "And, of course, technology is going to play a huge piece in that."