As Camden students go back to school today, they might see their new school superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard, who started last week. But they are more likely to see more immediate changes that directly affect them.
We sat down with the state-appointed leader on Friday to discuss his plans for Camden schools. A lot of his work in the first few months will be focused on simply looking at how Camden schools currently operate and taking note of what teachers, students and families have to say about the system. (Check out today's story on Rouhanifard HERE)
There are some changes that have already been implemented by state officials for the start of this school year such as new technology, including mini i-Pads and Google Chrome books at certain schools. Each students will also get two sets of language arts and math books (one for home and one to keep in the classroom), which is a big step up from the photocopies of books the youths used to receive.
Gov. Christie will be at Riletta Cream Elementary School to chat with students, according to a press advisory. He will likely be discussing the new technology at that school, one of three technology pilot sites in the district. When I visited Cream on Friday, the school's technology coordinator Bobbie Harrison was happily unpacking the new 55 i-Pad minis and about another 50 Google Chromebooks. The third graders get to use the mini i-Pads for class, while the Chromebooks will be for the sixth graders.
"We're infusing technology in our academic programs," Harrison said. The students "will have them all day, can use them for brojects... each child will have a google account they can access anywhere too."
Some of the programs the students will use might include Garage Band for music class or some math apps to use in class, Harrison said.
The plan for the new technology pilot came from state Department of Education leaders not the district, state officials said. With a $178,000 price tag, paid by the state, the Camden School District received: 55 iPad minis, 175 Chromebooks, 26 laptops, three iMacs, two PCs, as well as some accessories, green screens and a mobile smart board.