LAKEWOOD — The Lakewood School District celebrated Lakewood High School’s 30th birthday on March 19 as part of their open house and technology expo which showcased state-of-the-art learning tools while seeking to enlist the community’s support for future improvements.
Amidst all the standard displays for school programs and departments, as well as community organizations that benefit students, the cafeteria of Lakewood High School was bustling with students and parents alike who wanted to test out technology that many students have already applied to their school lessons.
Third-graders Angela McDonald and Arawyn Love used one of the multitude of laptops on the row of cafeteria tables to demonstrate to their dads how they’d gleaned new insights into a familiar favorite.
“We used this program to make our own visual of Wilbur from Charlotte’s Web,” Angela McDonald said. “It’s easier to work on computers than on paper, where you have to print everything out.”
“What the program does is, it lets them take a character from the book and figure out how they can express his traits in a recognizable way,” said Steve McDonald, Angela’s father.
“These girls have taught me how to use PowerPoint in ways that I didn’t know,” laughed Christian Love, Arawyn’s father.
Fifth-grader Lennen Detrick tested out another laptop that was equipped with a skateboarding simulation that allowed her to change the angle of the skateboarder’s half-pipe ramp which sent him flying into the air if it wasn’t angled just right.
“It makes it easier to learn geometry and physics,” Lennen Detrick said.
“This level of technology is absolutely necessary for the classroom,” said Ron Detrick, Lennen’s father, who teaches algebra, science and physics at Lakewood Middle School. “The workforce they’ll be entering demands it. They need to have as much exposure to technology as possible, to incorporate it into their problem-solving. Computer programs like these increase student engagement and ensure that they won’t be fearful of new technology.”
Lakewood School District Superintendent Dr. Dennis Haddock added that part of the district’s focus on the future involves bringing its 30-year-old high school up to speed, in the wake of a previous bond issue which voters approved to fix the rest of the district’s facilities except for the high school.
“The previous bond also included funding for partial planning and design work for the high school,” said school district facilities support consultant Fred Owyen. “Right now we’re doing site investigations for what would be a February 2014 bond which would be strictly focused on modernizing the high school and run through 2017.”
Michael McGavock of McGranahan Architects, which has been retained by the Lakewood School District for the early design work, touched upon some of the reasons why these upgrades are increasingly imperative.
“We’re looking at building an addition to the current main building that will replace its existing satellite buildings, so that there will be one continuous building,” McGavock said. “We’ll also want more windowed classrooms. I’ve never seen so many windowless classrooms, and that affects the classes that students can schedule because they can’t have more than three classes without windows. Security would also be improved through a single building because right now there’s all sorts of different doors through which people can enter.”