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Rotary donation adds teaching technology at Walker Elementary

 Posted: 6:05 PM February 04, 2014

Every classroom in Walker Elementary School is now equipped with electronic "smart boards" for teacher instruction, thanks to donations from the Ashland Rotary Club.

The Rotary started its "Adopt Walker School" program this year, collecting donations of about $19,000 towards helping the school, which has a high level of low income students.

"The teachers are more than thrilled," said Rotarian Jim Batzer, who began volunteering in the school with his wife and fellow Rotarian, Barbara Allen, last year.

Batzer said he saw that the school and its students could use extra financial help, so he appealed to the teachers, asking them to make a list of needs for their students.

"We really got to know the teachers and felt drawn to the kids," said Batzer. "They're in poverty and they're struggling."

The school had used grant money a few years ago to buy smart boards — electronic chalk boards that can easily pull information from the Internet for use during instruction — but only had the money for seven of the school's thirteen classrooms.

This year the Rotary donated $14,200 to the school, enough to equip the remaining classrooms with smart boards.

"Imagine an iPad, but it's big and on the wall," said Walker Principal Patty Michiels. "It's like a Power Point presentation that's interactive."

Teachers can easily pull information from the Internet and present it to an entire classroom, she said.

Michiels said the Rotary's contribution was an important gift for the school, where 60 percent of families qualify for free or reduced lunch for students — a measurement used to estimate poverty amongst families.

"We definitely could use the resources," she said. "It's a gift for the Rotary to partner with us."

— Teresa Ristow

Read more in Wednesday's Daily Tidings.

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