Students at Longview ISD magnet schools will get new technology in their classrooms after trustees at a special meeting Tuesday approved $1 million in spending for the campuses.
The magnet campuses include East Texas Montessori Prep Academy, Ware East Texas Montessori Academy, Forest Park Middle School, Longview High School and Ned E. Williams Elementary.
Magnet schools are those that offer specialized study or teaching methods and in doing so become eligible to receive additional funding to spend on supplies, books and other resources. Themes for magnet schools could include science, technology, engineering and mathematics — known as STEM; science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics — known as STEAM; fine and performing arts; international baccalaureate studies — known as IB; and career and technical education — known as CTE.
The Montessori academy, Ware and Forest Park also are three of the six campuses that Longview ISD is asking the Texas Education Agency for permission to make charter schools under the East Texas Advanced Academies.
Craig Coleman, magnet grant director, said the funding for the magnet schools comes from a grant received last year.
Superintendent James Wilcox said the grant is $15.3 million distributed over five years.
Coleman said using the grant money on technology will allow the district to use local funds on other needs.
The district will get 109 Smart Boards, interactive white boards that can display information from a computer and which will cost a total of about $750,000, Coleman said. The district also will get more Chromebooks, which are laptop computers, and other student devices.
“We have a lot of funding that is helping us to change the environment of those campuses,” he said. “We’re trying to get them to a one-to-one device situation and environment on all of those campuses.”
Wilcox said a benefit of the new technology is the delivery of instruction.
“We’ll have the latest technology in white boards that are interactive with what the students are doing in the class,” Wilcox said. “It’s just a tool for our teachers, and our students are so techno-savvy now that they enjoy the interaction with the technology.”
A program change in the special education department also was approved.
“The only thing we’re doing in special ed is just changing a little bit of some of our supervisory positions, not any teaching positions,” Wilcox said.