School board given technology update, recognition from students

By Jamie Miller

Top on the agenda at the January meeting of the Bryant Board of Education Monday night was a presentation from Mark McDougal and Tait Shrum, both members of the Technology Department for the district. They presented the board with[more] research and development findings related to desktop delivery and communication systems.

McDougal began by informing the board that over 700 workstations throughout the Bryant district are seven-plus years old. He proceeded to explain that his department’s goal is to find a solution to the old desktops that would be cost efficient. He suggested finding a solution that would allow 24/7 access to the district’s network for students and teachers. Thin Clients, Net Tops, and Class Link were all suggestions that were given to the board for thought. These systems are programs that depend heavily on some other computer (its server) to fulfill its traditional computational roles. McDougal also demonstrated the Thin Client, implying that this might be a fix to the outdated desktops that are scattered throughout the district.

Shrum proceeded to follow McDougal by addressing the district’s need for a new phone system. The current phone system is maxed out to capacity and there are currently four systems that the district is using. The main phone system that is being used is no longer being produced and therefore replacements for the phones is difficult to find and expensive. Shrum suggested exploring Polycom open source software to slowly replace all existing systems.

Both McDougal and Shrum will return to the board in February to present cost analysis and budgets for desktop and phone system solutions.

Glenda Bloxom’s first grade class from Bryant Elementary School kicked off the meeting by recognizing the board for all of the work and hours that they put into their positions. A video was shown from Bryant Elementary students and employees thanking the board and first grade students handed out cards to their favorite board member.

After the first grade students finished their presentations, the Bryant Middle School Technology team was recognized for their recent accomplishments. The team won second overall in the Razorback Technology Challenge , a technology and engineering competition that had over 40 schools competing. The competition took place Dec. 8 at the University of Arkansas.

In addition to their second place overall finish, the team also won the following awards: second in Technology Quiz Bowl, second in Problem Solving, second in Graphic Arts Design and first place in Graphic Arts Design.

The Bryant High School Cheerleaders also recently won recognition at the highly competitive Class 7A Arkansas State Cheerleading Championship where they placed second. This qualified the squad to travel to Orlando, Fla., in February to compete in the Universal Cheerleaders Association’s National High School Cheerleading Championship.



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