"The Laptop High School"
Since 1999, the 10-12 grade students at Fertile-Beltrami have had the opportunity to use a laptop computer for the school year. Cost to the students, only $35 service fee plus a $100 deposit. The deposit is returned when the computer is returned.
Why a laptop school? The mission of the laptop program was to "level the playing field" for our students. As the need for technology skills increased, the faculty was finding that there was a larger and larger gap between the "have computers at home" students and the "have nots". The school district felt that it wanted to, not only help students, but also increase the technology exposure to the community by allowing students to have their laptops at home to share with family. Fertile-Beltrami adopted a PC platform, and is currently using Windows 95 as the operating system. Microsoft Office Professional is the across the curriculum software. A move to Vista and Office 2007 will be made in the near future. As each year has passed, the evaluation of the program and the comments from "laptop alumni" has supported the school district's mission to enhance technology education.
The mission of technology for Fertile-Beltrami Public School District #599 is to integrate effective and efficient administrative and instructional applications of technology into the school day. The goal is to promote learning and enhance communication and collaboration among teachers, staff, administrators, parents, and students in and outside of the school building.
The vision of Fertile-Beltrami Public School District #599, is that students, faculty, and staff will be enabled by technology to solve problems, improve their productivity, and gain the skills necessary to become life-long learners and contributing members of society. To realize that vision, the members of Fertile-Beltrami Public School District #599, must be able to:
- ensure that appropriate technologies are identified and their applications are integrated into the No Child Left Behind legislation;
- enable administration and faculty to access test data, evaluate data, and use data to drive the curriculum forward enabling the school district to improve student performance;
- create staff development programs that maximize the effective use of technology and ensure that all staff receive support allowing them the opportunity reach basic technological competence as defined by the district;
- identify student needs and match technology to meet those needs;
- ensure community access to the district's technology system;
- assist teachers and staff in taking attendance, grading, producing report cards, and performing other record keeping tasks enabling teachers and staff to facilitate the progress of each individual child;
- enable teachers to use technology to receive support from other educators increasing the range and strength of their professional competencies
Fertile-Beltrami offers a wide technology curriculum with up-to-date commercial software. Courses include: Computer Aided Drafting (Ag. Tech. Dept), Microsoft Office User Certification (Bus Dept), Web Design (Bus Dept), and Video Editing (Bus Dept). In addition the business department has a student run web design business called "Advance Com-Technology from the Up and Coming". This youth entrepreneurship opportunity is for 3rd year computer students who apply for the position of Webmaster. Throughout the school year the webmasters are responsible for the design and maintenance of the school's website, design and maintenance of the city of Fertile's website, and the design and maintenance of twenty-nine local business sites. In addition they are responsible for several "out of district" web sites. These students come to work during the school day. They set goals each Monday and report on goal completion on Fridays. They maintain their own bank account, and at the end of the school year award three $500 scholarships to seniors majoring in technology/business. In 1999, Advance come was awarded 1st place for the Profiles of Excellence Exemplary Program by the Minnesota Rural Education Association, and again in 2005 they were award 1st place for the Best Continuing Program by MREA. This year there are nine webmasters that are running the company. This year the webmasters are also going to be assigned several faculty members who can use these students to assist them in their technology needs. Podcasting is a number one priority for this year.
Another technology opportunity for staff that is provided by the business department is "Computer Buddies". This program provides one-on-one student tutors to an elementary class that comes into the lab to do computer projects. The elementary teacher just needs to make arrangements with the business teacher for the time slot and the specific needs. The high school business class then goes to the lab to help the younger students. It has proven to be a great program, not only because it helps faculty and students, but it also makes for a good "role model" opportunity.
The Fertile-Beltrami Business Department has articulation agreements with the area technical colleges for Advanced Standing Credits for Computer App I & II, Web Design and Accounting III & IV. The business department also is part of the "College in the High School Program" with the University of MN-Crookston. Students taking Computer App I & II and Web Design have the opportunity to earn 6 college credits prior to graduation.
The Fertile-Beltrami website (http://fertilebeltrami.k12.mn.us) is a valuable asset to students, parents, and community.