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By RON BENNINGFIELD
LaRue County Schools is well into its first year of district-wide implementation of a student program designed to motivate all students involved, advance their individual capabilities and at the same time, create leadership opportunities through the use of technology.
“The Student Technology Leadership Program is a statewide program that uses project-based learning to empower students to use technology to learn and achieve,” said Freddie Newby, the district’s chief information officer. “We have had STLP for several years at the high school and off and on at each school over the years, but this the first year we have officially had a district-wide program that involved each school to compete.”
Regional level competition works toward competing at the state level. Both Abraham Lincoln and Hodgenville elementary schools qualified this year to participate in the state competition at Rupp Arena in Lexington March 28.
Beth Neville, STLP coordinator at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School, said her team’s competitive project will be focused on drug awareness.
“We will have a booth with displays and pictures on the drug awareness theme. Our team members will answer judges’ questions and will show a video that our members produced with student interviews, facts, and other information,” Neville shared.
ALES students also compiled results from an online survey that polled fellow students on drug awareness.
School coordinators guide students to create products, provide services or carry out projects that help the school and community. STLP, open to all students, allows them to demonstrate what they know in various categories.
More than 60 students across the district are involved in the program meant to tap into their interests as well as to challenge and motivate them.
Elementary students are into video production. The middle school has been providing school news via a PowerPoint slide show that runs throughout the day.
“The slide show provides important upcoming information and current news to students during lunch as well,” said Newby. “The high school’s STLP has a student help desk that repairs student laptops.”
“Our Laptops of LaRue Initiative — each high school student is issued a computer — would not be a success without the help of our student help desk being led by Shannon Bowen and Theresa Banks,” he added.
Bowen is the high school coordinator; Banks serves as the school’s technology resource technician. Other school coordinators are Deana Paden at the middle school and Jennifer Price at Hodgenville Elementary School. Additional technology resource technicians include Jennifer Adams, middle school; Carla Graham, ALES; and Brandie Wright, HES. Evelyn Kirkpatrick serves as media specialist.
The coordinators help students organize meetings, select projects that aid the school and community, assist in seeing those projects to fruition and prepare their students for state competition.
Resource technicians help coordinators with day-to-day organization and program management.
“The media specialist assists each program with establishing a collaboratively focused group of students that provide media-based news for the school,” said Newby. “These are recorded video broadcasts that the students present, edit and distribute much like a TV news station would.”
Laptop repairs made by STLP students have prepared them to enter the vocational field with a good understanding of laptop reparation and of operating a help desk, according to Newby.
“We have seen students that are usually meek and who lack confidence find their niche in life and attempt things that they never would have tried if it weren’t for the STLP program,” he said. “I would like to see students providing community technology lessons such as surfing the Internet, using Microsoft Office — Word, Excel, etc.— Movie Maker and photo editing.”
Ron Benningfield is a correspondent for LaRue County Schools.