Carmel Valley Middle School seeks community help to upgrade school technologies

By Kelley Carlson

Carmel Valley Middle School is looking to the community for some tech support.

The campus has recently launched a campaign titled “CVMS 2.0 Upgrade Our School” in an effort to acquire new LCD projectors and to rewire the classrooms as a way to streamline audio/video technologies.

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Teacher Holly Clark prepares to show a TED Talks clip to a multimedia class. Photo: Kelley Carlson

This will be the first upgrade of this type at the school, which is in its 13th academic year, according to Principal Laurie Francis.

“We’ve tried to keep up as well as possible,” Francis said.

Assistant Principal Adam Camacho explained that many of the LCD projectors are “on their last legs,” despite proper maintenance being performed over the years. The projectors display videos, images and computer data on screens or flat surfaces in the classrooms. Since they were all bought at the same time, the majority of them are experiencing problems simultaneously. Unfortunately, these days, the replacement parts are more expensive than the projectors themselves, Camacho indicated.

Classrooms also need to be rewired, allowing for “simplified, faster and clearer” audio and video, he added.

“It’s clearing up what and how equipment gets plugged in,” he said.

Upgraded technology “will take us out several years,” Camacho said.

To address these issues, each CVMS family is being asked to donate a minimum of $40, said Teri Naftalin, PTSA president. If there is 100 percent participation, the school will raise the goal of $59,000.

“We have a great parent body who is very supportive,” Naftalin said.

The fundraising effort began during Back to School Night, on Sept. 17, and it will continue until the goal is achieved. The upgrade would occur immediately after the monies are acquired.

“However long it takes, and whatever we have to do,” Naftalin said. “We’re trying to get the word out to everyone. We want to make sure the school can offer the kids what they need.

“The current students are going to benefit, as well as the students coming in,” she added.

Current tech tools

CVMS uses quite a bit on technology, which enables it to be a high-performing campus.

PC computers are standard, although only a few classrooms have enough for each student. Teacher Jonathan Loeffler relies on this equipment for his multimedia, video and online journalism instruction. Among the topics he covers is video editing, flash animation, Web design, Photoshop, digital photography and Internet use, and he’s also in charge of the Bobcat News Network video broadcast and the school’s online newspaper. Loeffler indicated that he would benefit from an upgrade.

For now, “we’re getting by,” he said.

Another instructor who relies heavily on technology is Holly Clark, who teaches multimedia, “Academic Success” and English. Formerly a technology curriculum director in Chicago, Clark has a master’s degree in technology and education and is “passionate about technology in the classroom.”

In fact, everything is executed on a computer in Clark’s classroom.

“English is the most unique,” she said. “We never get out paper (to use).”

Clark is a fan of showing TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) Talks to her students — clips from the Internet that “brings” experts into the classroom to discuss various topics, such as a self-driving car or the future of digital books. They are shown via an LCD projector, Clark said, so sound and audio are crucial.

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