The school year is not the only thing new in the Oneonta City School District.
Students on Wednesday greeted new administrators, technology and sports fields.
Oneonta Middle School Principal Coleen Moore said the halls were filled with a “busy, nervous excitement,” slowed only by the thermometer’s climb to 90 degrees. Given that this is the Northeast, classrooms and hallways are not air-conditioned.
The heat didn’t stop sports and play on the district’s new turf playing field, phase one of a three-phase, multi-year capital project. The girls soccer team was practicing on the turf before its home game that night.
Former Assistant Principal Anne Wolstenholme has taken the mantle of Oneonta High School principal after Thomas Brindley retired at the end of last school year. She has been in education for 34 years.
While she is the new the face of the school, Wolstenholme is familiar at OHS; she was assistant principal for five years.
“It’s a shift I’m welcome to,” she said of her first day as principal. “It’s a good feeling. There’s no other job like the one we have as educators.”
Wolstenholme’s promotion left an assistant principal position open. Joseph Ballard, previously a dean of students Charlotte Valley Central School District, took the job. Wolstenholme said they are going to be a “good team.”
Last year Oneonta Middle School implemented a 1:1 Chromebook initiative in which each seventh- and eighth-grader received a Google Chromebook for school assignments and homework. The pilot program was successful, Moore said, and this year sixth-graders will also receive a Chromebook.
Moore said students use the laptops for homework assignments, textbooks, tests and communicating with teachers.
“They’re learning how to use technology professionally and appropriately,” Moore said.
Sixth-graders received the Chromebooks at orientation on Aug. 23 to get acquainted with the devices ahead of the school year. Moore said they are doing well with them.
The high school followed suit and rolled out a 1:1 initiative school-wide beginning this year.
A junior said he is skeptical of the Chromebook initiative, saying that the educational pivot toward a digital platform might be inaccessible to those who do not have internet in their homes.
Wolstenholme affirmed that OHS wasn’t going paperless anytime soon and that the school will work to accommodate any students who might not have access at home by providing space before or after school if needed. So far, she said, she has not been notified of any students requiring accommodation.
“It’s a tool,” Wolstenholme said. “And we have a responsibility to prepare students for what society and the world at large expect. As the world goes, so does education.”
Whitney Bashaw, staff writer, can be reached at (607) 441-7218 or email@example.com . Follow her on Twitter @DS_WhitneyB .