SMART Board campaign begins today

Karen Moewe for IVC District 321
Illinois Valley Central District Superintendent Dr. Nick Polyak shows sixth-grade students at Chillicothe Elementary Center how the SMART Board is in many ways like a giant computer screen.

The community is invited to a demonstration of the new SMART Board technology which will be installed in Illinois Valley Central classrooms throughout the district by the beginning of the 2011-12 school year.

The SMART Board Campaign Kick-Off, hosted by IVC Families for SMART Students will be from 4 to 9 p.m. tonight in the Illinois Valley Central High School commons and auditorium. Demonstrations will be ongoing throughout the evening.

IVC Families for SMART Students is a group which formed specifically to help bring the cutting-edge technology to IVC District classrooms. The group includes members of Parent Teacher Associations from all IVC District schools, the IVC Educational Foundation and a variety of community groups and organizations.

What started as a PTA project has blossomed into a community and district-wide campaign. The members of the South School PTA watched a presentation about SMART Board technology and decided to put their annual fundraising efforts toward bringing the digital whiteboards to each classroom in the school.

“As a parent, I saw my son struggle with core math lessons. He was very uninterested in learning in the traditional classroom setting. When introduced to the SMART board, I knew immediately this is what would capture his attention and help build his skills in math. He would see the math lesson being taught on a SMART board as the same type of experience he receives when he is using other interactive technologies. With a SMART board he would be able to receive immediate feedback and gratification,” said South School PTA and IVC Families for SMART Students member Brook Cranford.

After contacting an area sales representative, the PTA and district administrators learned a new upgraded version of the SMART Board was about to be unveiled. The updates made the SMART Board technology even more interactive and provided incredible opportunities for teachers and students.

The Illinois Valley Central District Board of Education approved the expenditure for the new SMART Boards and the PTAs in each of the district’s schools have pledged to help pay for the technology.

As IVC District Superintendent Dr. Nick Polyak demonstrated uses of the SMART Board to various community members and groups, support for the campaign has grown. To assist the grassroots campaign to finance the technology, IVC Families for SMART Students want members of the community to have the opportunity to see the interactive capabilities of the new teaching tool at the April 4 open house.

Likening it to an 87-inch diagonal I-Pad, Polyak sees limitless uses for the interactive SMART Boards in the classroom. Access to more than 50,000 vetted lesson plans to use with SMART Boards is just a few clicks away, offering students hands-on projects for virtually every subject and level of learning.

“This instructional technology will provide opportunities for our teachers to engage their students in new and exciting ways.  We will deliver content in ways that connect with the technological world the students are living in,” said Polyak.

Literature with information about improved test scores and why the interactive whiteboards help engage students, has been gathered by IVC Families for SMART Students and will be distributed at the SMART Board Campaign Kick-off.