Published: October 31, 2010
Chesterfield seniors explore cutting-edge technology
By Zachary Reid | TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER
The future of technology in Chesterfield County Public Schools is in the hands of students -- literally and figuratively.
For a couple of hours last week, about 70 county seniors from the Model Government program got to play with new devices -- netbooks, iPod touches, digital cameras and the like -- during one of the School Board's quarterly public engagement sessions. Then they got to do what students the world over would love to do: tell educational leaders how to use the stuff.
"Technology helps the students become more engaged in their education," Bryan Barahona of Meadowbrook said between takes on interviews he was taping for a brief documentary he made with Wael Zwain of Monacan and Morgan Chafin of Midlothian.
Those three, working with technology specialists Barbara Rutherford and Beth Harvey, used Flip cameras and free software to create a short movie that they aired moments later.
The enthusiasm caught the attention of Superintendent Marcus J. Newsome.
He shared the tip he'd just picked up from a student: "You can get a free iTouch app that does what a graphing calculator does," he said. "That's a $125 calculator."
He said he would love to see more emerging technology in schools, and he'd like to see it sooner rather than later.
"I'd love to get an iPad in the hands of every student," he said. When reminded of an ever-declining budget, he said, "It's something we can't afford not to do."
He said technology such as the Kindle book device could give students one, lightweight piece of equipment that could replace a backpack full of textbooks.
He and his staff weren't shy about asking for input.
"We have to do this as a team," said Lynda Gillespie, the school system's director of technology. "We have to work together, because the fact is, [students] know this stuff a lot better than most of our teachers do."
Published: October 22, 2010
Student program raises ethical questions in the real world
By Jeremy Slayton | TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER
Marcus J. Newsome stood before a group of medical assisting students at Chesterfield Technical Center yesterday and listened as they talked about ways students cheat in the classroom.
They didn't hold back as they discussed different methods, such as writing information on your hand or desk to getting the answers from someone who previously took the test. They also said it's easier to cheat in some classes than in others.
"Cheating delays success in the long run," said Newsome, superintendent of schools in Chesterfield County.
Newsome was one of 160 Richmond-area business and professional leaders to speak with 184 metro Richmond high school classes during the two-day Empowered Through Ethics program, a partnership between Junior Achievement of Central Virginia and area business and professional leaders.
"[Ethics is] doing the right thing, even when you know no one is listening, when no one is watching, even if it is unpopular," Newsome told the students.
The two-day program is geared to high school students because they are about to graduate and either head off to college or enter the work force. "Ethics is really pertinent to this age group," said Jess Burgess, education manager with Junior Achievement of Central Virginia.
Speakers focused their discussions on how ethics plays a role in facets of the business world. Chesterfield's chief information officer, Barry Condrey, discussed how ethics applies to the technology field. He asked the students if it was ethical for employers to hire (or fire) people based on social media postings.
Some students said it was a matter of privacy because it's done in private with family and friends. Others disagreed.
Condrey pointed out that once the information is added online, it becomes part of the public domain.
"The Internet never forgets," Condrey said with emphasis several times during the discussion.
One student asked how personal feelings play a role in making ethical decisions.
As people face ethics choices, Condrey said, it's up to the individual to set aside their personal feelings and look at the situation objectively.
"Look at it in a vacuum . . . is it right or is it wrong?" he said. "No one can really answer that question for you."
The talks generated discussion among the students on a range of topics and how they relate to ethics. After Newsome's talk, he said the teens broke off into groups to talk about medical ethics related to cloning, stem-cell research and abortion.
In an Oracle database programming class, Jim Eck, a vice president for Dominion Resources, told the students ethical questions will confront them in the work force.
"You have to ask yourself, 'Do I care more about success than ethical behavior?'" Eck said.
Published: October 16, 2010
For Chesterfield students, visiting author program explores insects
By Staff Reports
Chesterfield County students are learning about insects as agricultural farmhands -- and as weapons of war.
They're getting the buzz on bugs as part of a visiting author program that will bring entomologist Jeffrey A. Lockwood to L.C. Bird High School on Wednesday.
Lockwood, author of "Six-Legged Soldiers: Using Insects as Weapons of War, " will speak at 6:30 p.m. in a presentation that is open to the public.
In preparation for his visit, Bird students visited Virginia State University's Randolph Farm earlier this month to learn about honeybee research.
They also learned how insects naturally damage crops, said VSU professor Krishan Agrawal, a co-sponsor of the visiting author program with the university.
Lockwood's book also looks at how insects have been used as agents of biowarfare.
Melanie Haimes-Bartolf, instructional specialist for science for Chesterfield schools, said the VSU visit showed the students "the interaction between insects, agriculture and human beings."
-- Karin Kapsidelis
County in top 100 list for best places for young people
Published: September 28, 2010
Chesterfield County announced and celebrated Chesterfield County’s selection for the fourth consecutive time as “One of the 100 Best Places in America for Young People” by America’s Promise—the Alliance for Youth on Tuesday, Sept. 22. The alliance selects localities based on the manner in which they provide five promises to young people: Caring Adults, Safe Places, A Healthy Start, Effective Education, Opportunities to Help Others.
courtesy of Chesterfield County
From left to right: The Honorable Marshall Trammell, vice-chair, Chesterfield County School Board; Stella Edwards, president, Chesterfield County Council of PTAs/PTSAs; The Honorable David S. Wyman, chair, Chesterfield County School Board; Daniel Timberlake, Cosby High School Student; The Honorable Jim Holland, vice-chair, Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors; Abby Badura, Clover Hill High School student; and Sarah Snead, deputy county administrator for Human Services. | photo courtesy by Chesterfield County
The Nation’s Top Public Schools – Newsweek magazine
Active Summer, Active Minds – Washington Post
Efficiency and Effectiveness – International Center for Leadership in Education
Improving Student Performance in Times of Declining Resources – Dr. Willard Daggett
Strengthening Student Engagement – Dr. Richard Jones
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