La Crosse Referendum could fund student technology advancements - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

La Crosse Referendum could fund student technology advancements

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LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) - On April 1, La Crosse voters will decide whether the district can exceed state imposed revenue limits for another five years.

At issue is a nearly $21 million referendum, the same amount as the referendum that expires this June. Taxes will not increase with approval.

If it passes, the referendum will fund three core components: educational programs, building and safety maintenance and technology.

Longfellow/LDI Middle School has already implemented some of the tech advances.

In Nathan Niehausen's 7th grade math class, each student has the chance to be the teacher while sitting in their seat. With an iPad in hand, students can show the class how they work through an equation in real-time.

"The ability that I was giving kids to see a topic, to understand a topic and to be able to be able to process through a topic has been exponentially bigger here," Niehausen said.

It's thanks to new technology funded by the district's current referendum.

All middle school and charter school students were given iPads to promote interactive learning.

"For them, it's about relevance. It's about, 'How do I make my learning as authentic, or as real world, or meaningful as possible,'" said Longfellow/LDI principal Penny A. Reedy.

Reedy said the digital device is given to all students for the entire year.

"So let's say you're working on a web page. You capture the web page on the iPad and they can go home without WiFi," she said.

"The efficacy of (a) collaborative learning environment and making it really real for kids today, really requires the technology," said Vicki Lyons, director of technological services for the La Crosse District.

Lyons said the new referendum would fund technology for high school students and potentially students in grades three through five.

"I have kids a lot more invested in their learning, I have a lot of kids more excited about their learning," Niehausen said.

And to a teacher like Niehausen, that's what school is all about.

Before the April 1 vote, there's one more meeting for the community to learn more about this referendum. It will be hosted Thursday, March 20 at 6 p.m. in the Hogan Administrative Center auditorium.
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