PTO Buys Computers

ST. MARYS — Local students have been utilizing some new equipment in their school to enhance what they are learning in their classrooms.

Students at St. Marys Primary School recently received new computers in their computer lab, bringing their equipment up-to-date with the computers and technology currently utilized in their classrooms.

“We got 26 new computers,” Principal Sue Sherman said. “They are awesome.”

The St. Marys Elementary PTO approved the purchase of the brand-new Dell computers for the lab, at a cost of less than $20,000.

“We had a computer lab last year,” Sherman said, noting the computers in the lab last year were all new. “With all the new technology in the building, the teachers’ workstations in their classrooms were old, so we needed to put our newest computers there.”

The newer computers, she said, had better compatibility with the technology in the classrooms, such as the ENO boards the teachers use.

“All the old computers had different types of operating systems and some were even 12-years-old,” Sherman said. “It was almost impossible to use them in lessons.”

So, the PTO approved the purchase of the new computers, which were installed in the school’s computer lab earlier this month.

“We use them for our math and reading assessments,” Sherman said. “There are software programs that we have purchased that let them take assessments. There are also instructional websites we use.”

Josh Van Gundy, who teaches second grade at the school, noted a few of the programs he uses with his students when they visit the computer lab.

“We have YPP, or Yearly Progress Pro, which does basic math assessments,” he said. “We try to take a quiz every week.”

The programs, Van Gundy noted, enable him to see if a student is struggling in a certain area.

“I can assign individual things for the students,” he said.

“I can individualize tests, like if they’re having problems with word problems I can focus on that.”

The students can also keep track of their Reading Counts, or independent reading, scores.

“That documents what they’re reading and if they’re understanding what they read,” Van Gundy said.

He noted the students can also participate in online math games and online reading games to practice what they’re learning.

Two of Van Gundy’s students, Alivia Rush and Jacob Helsel, noted what they like about using the computers during their classtime.

“I like to do Reading Counts on them,” Alivia said.

Jacob said he likes to play games.

“I like to play subtraction games,” Jacob said. “They make it more fun.”