Starkville-oktibbeha school district awarded GEER grant for new technology

OKTIBBEHA COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI)- The Starkville-Oktibbeha School District is awarded $100,000 for new technology in the classroom.

It’s part of Governor Tate Reeves Emergency Education Relief Grant.

Part of that money put 25 cameras and microphones at two schools.

The devices are expected to improve learning experiences for students.

But, these resources will help in other areas too.

Educators tell me, having more resources and support in the classroom can reduce brain drain in Mississippi.

Students at Starkville High School may begin to notice something different.

See the black box?

It’s a portable microphone for teachers.

Thirteen devices are installed at Starkville High School.

Twelve devices are at Armstrong Jr. High School.

Classrooms have a microphone for teachers and students. There’s also a camera so educators can record classes for virtual learners.

” This is the one piece of technology that has been a game-changer,” teacher Shonna Ryals.

She said being able to communicate effectively is vital.

” When students are responding, I can pass it to a student who sits on one side of the classroom, and the other students can hear, said Ryals.

” I teach language, they need to be able to hear what I’m saying and the way I’m saying it, and I need to be able to hear them too,” said Teacher Doug Houston.

And, these resources play another role in the classroom to help retain teachers.

Educators are crossing state lines to search for higher-paying salaries, more equipment, and educational programs to benefit their profession in the field. Brain Drain is real. It’s beginning to happen a lot more throughout the state.

” I think that to be treated like a professional that we are. We’re all highly educated, and we work very hard. You can’t be a teacher and not be passionate about your students. It’s not about me. It’s about them,” said Ryals.

Houston said money is a concern for many.

But, it’s not the sole reason why he chose the classroom.

” Part of our pay is to see students grabbing onto the material that we’re teaching. Anytime you get that, it’s another incentive for teachers great the district is doing what they can do to help students learn in the classroom and help me be more effective as a teacher,” said Houston.

” Burn-out is real, and this year is harder than last year. There’s more to do and less time to do it. If I feel appreciated and I feel the freedom to get in there and teach the classes, it makes it much easier for me to not think about an out,” said Ryals.

Devices will be monitored over the next several weeks to analyze performance in the classroom.

Board members will then decide to install devices in the remaining classrooms.

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