, Muskogee, OK

December 30, 2013

Tech, titles top school year

By Cathy Spaulding
Times Staff Writer

— By Cathy Spaulding

Times Staff Writer

Fort Gibson students got their hands on new technology and new band instruments this year.

The school district’s $5.48 million bond issue passed in March was Fort Gibson’s top news story for 2013. Two bond issues passed by more than 81 percent of the vote.

A $4.82 million bond issue helped fund new roofs at the Early Learning Center and high school gym as well as new band instruments, new turf at the football field and a new science lab. About $1.4 million helped fund new technology, including the district’s One-to-One digital device initiative.

Another proposal, for $665,000 helps fund new buses and other vehicles.

It didn’t take long for Fort Gibson voters to see results of the bond passage. Roof work was done during the fall.

The new artificial turf was ready in time for the Fort Gibson Tigers’ home opener. That enabled the Royal Regiment band to practice their marching routines each day.

 “The students were excited about practicing on the new football field,” band director LaNell Spyres said in September. “Before, it was only two days, because the grass had to be mowed.”

Band members received their new drums and new low brass instruments, Spyres said.

Other bond projects have yet to be completed, Fort Gibson School Superintendent Derald Glover said this week. He said he expects new lighting for the softball field should be ready by the time the spring season starts.

Work also is to be done this year for improved science labs, Glover said.

The district launched its One-to-One digital program when the 2014 school year started. The program sought to get each student from preschool to high school senior access to a laptop or tablet computer.

To start the year, the district ordered 1,300 refurbished Dell laptops and 190 new tablets from CDI Computer Dealers. In addition, 350 to 400 students brought their own devices to school as part of the program.

Fort Gibson Intermediate Elementary School got a technology boost with a $65,000 grant from the Oklahoma Educational Technology Trust. The grant, awarded in May, included $40,000 for digital interactive boards, tablet computers for each classroom and a web cam. Another $25,000 helped fund teacher training.

“I feel we have leap-frogged into the future,” Intermediate Elementary Principal Sherry Rybolt said in an August story.

She said classes also could use the web cam to chat with authors of favorite books, Rybolt said.