Partnerships at Helen Haller lead to schoolwide projector installation

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Helen Haller Elementary and a few other Sequim School District classrooms soon will be on board with the latest wave of classroom technology.


The district recently purchased 30 MimioProjectors, a projector that displays software from a teacher’s computer onto any surface with minimal shadowing.


Helen Haller will receive 25 of the projectors. Middle school teachers Diana Piersol and Rick Miko, thanks to a grant from the Sequim Education Foundation and a parent, will receive the projectors, too, along with Joe Van de Weghe’s math class at the high school, and one each in the Alternative High School and Olympic Peninsula Academy.


Russ Lodge, principal at Helen Haller, said most classrooms except for the music room, library and special education rooms will receive a projector before school starts.


“I’m thrilled every K-5 room will get one,” Lodge said. “We were expecting to get them all over a three-year period.”


The elementary school’s Parent Teacher Organization brought up the idea in September and eventually raised $12,000 for the 25 projectors, which was added to $9,000 from the school’s budget with the rest from the school district’s technology budget.


Technology Director Patra Boots said the initiative at Haller grew from the community of parents and staff to embrace and integrate the technology and enhance learning for their students.


All teachers will receive about three hours of training on the boards before school starts and a few of those staffers will receive in-depth training to help others.


Lodge said at his previous school, projectors like this and interactive boards have been standard for about eight years in all classrooms but that’s more usual with districts that run technology levies.


The projectors will be installed over whiteboards and are adaptable to classroom space. Lodge said if they went with projectors with physical interactive boards, it would be more expensive.


He’s excited for the vast amount of programs and resources teachers can find online for the projectors.


“The beauty of it is in planned preparation,” Lodge said. “The main draw is that kids with any video device, the media grabs their attention.”


MimioProjectors allow two students to write on the screen at a time for notes, presentations and to solve problems.


In the Sequim School District, there are four older interactive boards already in use.


Sharle Osborne, a fourth-grade teacher at Helen Haller, received grant funding three years ago for a Promethean projector, another brand of interactive board. Her husband, Steve Koehler, a science teacher at the middle school, received one, too.


Osborne said she’s excited the district and Helen Haller are taking this step.


“It’s an investment,” she said. “Having the community of teachers on the same system will encourage even more collaboration.”


She’s found a lot of useful ways to engage her students, from drawing grids to taking screen shots and printing off notes.


“It’s easy to save and find things,” she said. “Compared to writing on a whiteboard, the engagement is different with kids.”


Boots said they are exploring several initiatives like the projectors in classrooms. For the district’s projector order, it also received four Mimio Strips, portable interactive mounts that will be checked out to interested teachers.


Boots said this could lead to more purchases for the projectors next year.


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