Cypress Palm Middle School - First of its kind.
A laptop for every student - hope it works out!
One of Collier County’s newest schools will offer free laptop computers to students, among other amenities
By Katherine Lewis
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Cypress Palm Middle School is setting itself apart from its peers in Collier County.
It is the first middle school in the county to pilot a modular lab that will allow students to learn how to do everything from designing a house to installing the plumbing, drywall and tile.
All of the students who attend the school receive their own laptops, which is something no other middle school students have.
And it is the first school to be designed in the district’s new, two-story building plan.
Yes, the Sabre Cats have started their first year distinguishing themselves from the pack.. Principal John Kasten said some of the new things the school is implementing will help students.
Take the technology labs. The plan is to help direct students who might be interested in the construction trades. The labs will give the students practical experience on how to wire a house, install plumbing, law bricks, set tiles and pour foundation slabs.
Once the students have completed the labs, they will move on to learning how to design a house, drafting plans first with pencils and then with computers.
Finally, the students will build models of their dream houses.
“The program was written for high school students, but we rewrote it for middle school students,” said Howard Berryman, the district’s director of career education. “It’s about making the curriculum relate to the real world.”
It is also about helping the students choose the high school academies or pathways they want to choose once they get to Palmetto Ridge High School, the feeder high school of Cypress Palm Middle School. In addition to the construction and drafting labs, Cypress Palm Middle School also has a large kitchen where district officials eventually hope to conduct culinary classes.
Kasten said that while national figures show about 80 percent of students go to college, only 10 to 15 percent of careers need a four-year degree.
“Things like the technology lab allow us to give students the practical experience they are going to need when they think about careers,” he said.
The teachers said they were impressed with the technology in the school.
“In the time I have been gone, the technology has really boomed,” said Sandy Diegel, a math and science teacher who recently returned to teaching after raising her children. “It’s been exciting.”
Students having their own laptops was a definite plus for some teachers.
“I am very excited about the technology,” said Kerrie Thomas, a language arts teacher at the school. “The school has wireless capabilities. And all of the students have their own laptops, which will open a world for them that they didn’t have before.”
Kasten said the 800 students who will attend Cypress Palm Middle School will leave the school better prepared for high school.
“We’re in a unique situation,” he said.