Monday, September 01, 2014

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New Belton school uses technology to enhance learning

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TWC News: New Belton school uses technology to enhance learning
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For more than 700 students in the Belton Independent School District, the first day of school signifies another new beginning. Monday, South Belton Middle School will open its doors to students for the first time.

Voters approved the bond for the new school in 2009. Belton ISD officials expected construction to cost $29 million, but the project finished under budget at $23.1 million.

The brand new building has local students and parents excited to get started.

"We heard comments from parents who wished they could come to school with [the students], parents asking us where we were selling the coffee because it felt like a Starbucks or big college campus," principal Tammy Becker said.

The school’s band director, Joshua Essary, has been busy making final preparations for the fresh batch of students next week.

"It's been a whole lot of unpacking and organizing and situating,” he said. “We've had all new instruments, new stands, lockers are new, locker combinations."

However, not just the building is new. The school will also use new technology to challenge students to come up with answers to real world problems.

"We're going to be using an instructional approach called challenge-based learning, that's a project with Apple, in which the students engage with the teacher in a challenge," Becker said. "We are excited, and we want to capitalize on that excitement next week as we really work to move our instruction forward."

Every student will be issued an iPad at the start of the school year. Also, Essary said his students will be able to get automatic feedback from a specialized computer in the band hall.

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