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Rockdale schools plan to go high-tech

Conyers - By the year 2010, all Rockdale County classrooms should be equipped to be 21st Century Classrooms.

Currently, Rockdale County Public Schools has 357 21st Century Classrooms - 116 in the elementary schools, 135 in the four middle schools and 106 in the three high schools and Rockdale Career Academy.

These are classrooms that include projectors, Internet connections with a high bandwidth, interactive screens and boards and other ways for students to interact with teachers using high-technology equipment.

The school system has developed a three-phase plan to fully implement the special classrooms into the schools by the start of the 2010-11 school year, Phil Budensiek, chief operations officer for RCPS, said during a presentation to the Rockdale County Board of Education during its May work session.

Over the summer, the school system will begin phase one by adding 37 more 21st Century Classrooms in the high schools, 40 in the middle schools and 38 in the elementary schools. This includes adding the technology to math and science classrooms in the three high schools and in Edwards and Memorial middle schools and to the fifth-grade classrooms in nine of the elementary schools.

General Ray Davis Middle School and Conyers Middle School, among others, are not in this first phase because they are "ahead of the game" already, Budensiek said. Davis Middle is equipped with 68 21st Century Classrooms and 53 are already online at CMS, he said.

Phase two is scheduled to take place during the summer of 2009. This includes putting 21st Century Classrooms in middle- and high-school language arts and social studies classrooms and third- and fourth-grade classrooms.

Phase three is scheduled to take place during the summer of 2010. This final phase will include adding high-technology to classrooms for special education and kindergarten through second-grade and all other remaining high school rooms.

The cost to outfit each classroom with the new technology runs between $5,000 and $7,000, depending on the grade level and equipment, in addition to training and adding more power in older schools with an insufficient power supply. The project is funded through special purpose local option sales tax funds.

"We're excited about it," Budensiek said. "By the time we get this nailed out, we hope there will be even newer technology we'll have to get."

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.

SideBar: At a glance

School - Total number of 21st Century Classrooms

· Barksdale Elementary - 6

· C.J. Hicks Elementary - 9

· Flat Shoals Elementary - 6

· Honey Creek Elementary - 13

· Hightower Trail Elementary - 16

· J.H. House Elementary - 11

· Lorraine Elementary - 4

· Peeks Chapel Elementary - 12

· Pine Street Elementary - 7

· Shoal Creek Elementary - 10

· Sims Elementary - 22

· Conyers Middle - 53

· General Ray Davis Middle - 68

· Edwards Middle - 6

· Memorial Middle - 8

· Heritage High - 22

· Rockdale County High - 23

· Salem High - 18

· Rockdale Career Academy - 43

Source: Rockdale County Public Schools