Classroom environment much different with new tools.
This afternoon, Sulphur
Springs School District
officially dedicated their newest addition; Golden
Oak Community School.
The elementary school was built through a unique partnership
with Pardee Homes, in an area the company has yet to develop. The school site
sits on the corner of Via Princessa and Golden Valley
Road in Fair Oaks Ranch.
It was only in August that students began attending classes
in the modern buildings, which house some futuristic technology that is giving
teachers more interactive ways to educate children.
A Smart Board system is in every classroom, and it looks
just like a standard whiteboard. However, it utilizes a projector screen
hanging from the ceiling and it interfaces with a laptop computer. The
whiteboard is synced up as giant touch screen, allowing students to underline
words, create drawings or participate in interactive learning programs in the
Smart Board system.
To demonstrate the system, Kim Tredick’s 6th
grade class challenged SCV movers and shakers like Mayor Bob Kellar, Sheriff’s
Captain Anthony LaBerge, Small Business
Paul De La Cerda and Jim Bizzelle from Pardee Homes to a science quiz show.
Contestants used the screen to buzz in and select their answers. After 14
questions, the adults squeaked out a win; however they did rely on recruiting
two of the class students to help them. (Also noteworthy is the fact that
Captain LaBerge jokingly contemplated using his handcuffs on the opposing team
to prevent them from buzzing in before him, however he eventually chose to play
Another technological advancement in the classroom is the
ability to amplify the teacher’s voice. Each teacher wears a microphone that is
hooked up to a 4-speaker surround sound system, which presents the lesson loud
and clear for students in both the front and the back of the class.
“Kids today have instant access, via the internet and
electronic devices, to colorful, quick and lively ways to gather information
and knowledge,” said Golden Oak Principal Gail Abril. “Schools that keep up
with this new fact of life are the schools that will serve our students the
While Golden Oak
is the first to be fully outfitted with the technology, other schools in the
Sulphur Springs District have brought similar programs partially on board. The results
have District officials excited about the future.
“On a tangible level, we have an increase in academic
performance as shown with better test scores,” said Sulphur Springs
Superintendent Dr. Robert Nolet. “On an intangible level, without hard data, we
know that our students are more actively involved and engaged and that we are
dealing with fewer discipline problems.”
Pardee Homes elected to build the school even before they
developed the next stage of their master planned community. Sulphur Springs
officials said that they have a very special relationship with Pardee, calling
them a “responsible developer.”
Principal Abril summed up the special relationship by
comparing what they could have gotten, verses what they did get.
“A school is just not built with the architectural features
that we have, with the technology that we have, without a partnership such as
the one we have with Pardee Homes,” she said. “If a school district or a state
would give you the basics, we got the super deluxe and we’re very excited about