Rhinebeck school library going higher tech

The library for Rhinebeck High School and Bulkeley Middle School is about to enter the 21st century.

The Rhinebeck School District accepted a $54,620 grant from the nonprofit Rhinebeck Science Foundation at the Board of Education meeting on Oct. 8. The grant will be used to buy computers, tablets and iPads, along with accessories and wireless access, for the library media center, housed at the high school.

“We were quite behind frankly,” said Jen Hammoud, president of the Rhinebeck Science Foundation, of the school district’s technology compared to other districts.

“Phase 1 of this grant is focused on the acquisition of technology resources for curricular integration through the Middle School/High School library media program. This involves the acquisition of about $47,000 of computer hardware, including Macbooks, iPads, Nexus tablets, and Chromebooks, and peripherals, such as a scanner, a printer, digital cameras, digital video recorders, and a wireless access point,” Superintendent Joe Phelan told The Observer.

“Phase 2 of the project, during which the HS/MS library media center space would be transformed into a state-of-the-art 21st century media center, including changes to the layout, will be developed after the technology is acquired, integrated and analyzed for use and need, and as grant funding is available,” he added.

The district’s Library Media Specialist Diane Linenbroker applied for the grant after an outside audit found that updates were needed.

Connecting Education Leadership, and Technology, a consultant group that helps schools and governments integrate technology, suggested that the district step up to be a tech leader in the area in January.

Ten staff members from varying disciplines¬ – -math, science, ELA, interior design, social studies, art –- are on board with Linenbroker to integrate the new technology into their classes.

The volunteer-driven Science Foundation was set up to help the Rhinebeck school district create and fund hands-on science activities. Some of its past programs include the RPI LEGO Robotics Camp in 2012 and 2013 and an archaeology field study in Rhinebeck.

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