Technology awareness night for Northdale parents

Parents and students were invited to spend an evening at Northdale Middle School Sept. 25.

Parents and students were invited to spend an evening at Northdale Middle School Sept. 25.
Parents and students were invited to spend an evening at Northdale Middle School Sept. 25.

It was the school’s second annual communication/technology night.

Students and parents ate pizza together before going their separate ways – the students for activities in the gym, weight room and swimming pool, while parents attended several sessions to become aware of the technology and communication methods available at the school.

According to Principal Laurie Jacklitch, attendance was greater than at the first event last year.

“But we would still like to see more,” Jacklitch said.

Tracy Ward, teacher on special assignment who organized the event, said that the largest number at the event were parents of sixth-grade students, probably because they were new to the school this year.

According to the invitation to parents sent by the school for the event, a primary goal of Northdale is to maintain open communication with parents/guardians.

One way is to make parents/guardians aware of the methods of communication available at Northdale to support students’ academic success.

The second goal was to showcase the many ways the school is using technology in the classrooms, Ward said.

Following the pizza with their child, all parents attended a digital citizenship or Internet safety presentation by Coon Rapids Police Officer Bill Michael, the department’s forensics investigator.

Then the parents were split up into three groups according to their student’s grade to rotate through three different presentations the rest of the evening.

• A-H Connect, which took place in the computer lab, during which teachers presented a “hands on” tutorial demonstrating how parents could access their child’s grades as well as navigate the site for other online support.

• MCA information, where parents learned more about the MCA testing process and teachers were available to answer individual questions from parents/guardians about the test as well as provide parents/guardians with one-on-one access to their child’s test scores.

• Technology session in which teachers talked about how technology is used in the classroom and there were demonstrations using Promethean boards, clickers, slates and document cameras.

Students were not allowed to take part in their activities unless their parents/guardians were at the communication/technology sessions, nor could they tag along with parents/guardians of other students.

The goals is to make communication/technology night an annual event at the school, Jacklitch said.

“We have received good feedback from parents,” she said.

According to Ward, Northdale has 1,165 students this year.

Enrollment has been declining; at one point it was around 1,500, Ward said.

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]