This week, the Monett R-1 School District marked a huge milestone when it launched its innovative "1:World" initiative. On Tuesday night, Monett High School was the site of a huge celebration as the school handed out over 600 computers to its students. Through the initiative, the R-1 School Board has made a sizable investment in the education of its young people by providing funding for the purchase of laptops for every high school student in ninth through 12th grades.
Monett has raised the bar for other school districts in southwest Missouri and across the state. We are impressed with the R-1 District's bold vision for the future and the school leadership's willingness to embrace technology in an effort to better prepare students for success in the global marketplace. The program is also expected to produce an eventual savings for the district when it comes to the purchase of expensive textbooks and teaching materials. Those educational tools can be now be accessed electronically via the computer at a lower cost.
The "1:World" initiative marks a major change in the district's approach to teaching, and it will create a learning environment similar to the one students will experience when they enter college. And while this may come as a shocking change to some, the use of personal computers in the classroom is now status quo at college campuses everywhere.
I used to be a tried and true "pen and paper" gal, and I still love the feel of a book or a newspaper in my hands, but in recent years, we have undergone major technological advancements in my industry and I have learned to embrace them. If newspapers are to survive and thrive, we must learn how to reach younger readers who prefer to receive their news electronically, and the laptop initiative at the high school supports that fact.
I firmly believe the "1:World" program will enhance learning and engage students even more in the educational process. And remember, these computers are just tools - like textbooks and overhead projectors and chalkboards of old. Nothing can replace the invaluable personal interaction between teachers and students, and this program doesn't change that.
Superintendent Dr. John Jungmann quoted Dewey in his speech to students and parents on Tuesday night, saying that "if we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow." And in keeping with the R-1 District's mission of preparing students for the future, the "1:World" initiative is the first major step toward helping students reach their full potential. It creates a challenging and exciting educational environment that is "student focused and future driven," to borrow Dr. Jungmann's words.
I commend R-1 school board members, administrators and teachers for their vision, their innovation and their courage in embracing a new teaching model. You have proven you're willing to do what is needed to help students succeed, and therein lies the promise for a bright future for the entire Monett community.