Google coming to El Capitan High School in Merced

02/18/2014 8:36 PM

02/18/2014 8:37 PM

The Google Leadership Symposium comes to the new, high-tech El Capitan High School campus in Merced on Friday.

Jorge Arteaga, information technology director for the Merced Union High School District, said more than 60 school superintendents, assistant superintendents and IT specialists will attend the all-day regional symposium at Merced’s newest campus on Farmdale Avenue.

“It will be a huge deal,” said Arteaga of the chance to show how technology has been integrated into the learning environment of the school, which opened in August.

Administrators from the Monterey, San Jose, Sacramento and San Joaquin Valley areas will attend the symposium, which runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., beginning with breakfast in the cafeteria, speeches in the theater, lunch, and tours of the campus. The event ends with a teacher-student panel.

Anthony Johnson, school principal, said the fact Google chose his campus for the symposium site is an honor and a testament to the hard work of students and teachers at the school, which relies entirely on computers and not textbooks for its instruction.

Johnson will be the keynote speaker. His school, which now serves only freshmen and sophomores but will add juniors next fall, uses Google’s “Applications for Education,” which allows students to share documents and collaborate on assignments. He said the digital learning initiative has been going very well.

Scott Scambray, MUHSD superintendent, said El Capitan’s hosting the symposium is a great pat on the back for the district and a feather in the cap of teachers and its information technology department.

After breakfast, a welcome from Scambray, and Johnson’s remarks, seven breakout sessions are to be conducted, focusing on leadership, infrastructure-management, curriculum design, professional development, community and student engagement and assessment, Arteaga said.

Arteaga said one of the key characteristics of the Google program is that it allows collaboration between students and teachers. The Web-based program connects students to educational tools that benefit them the most, he added.

Johnson said students and teachers at El Capitan are still learning how to use the computer-based, paperless system, but a high level of instruction is taking place.

“Hopefully we can learn and continue to grow,” Johnson said.

Local feeder school districts within the high school district, including Merced City, Weaver, McSwain, Atwater and Livingston, will send representatives to the symposium as well. More than 30 school districts throughout California will be represented.

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