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This subscriber spotlight is based on an interview with Pamela Brown, technology integrationist with Jamestown Public Schools in North Dakota.
Jamestown, ND, Public Schools
A rural North Dakota community leads the way in communications technology
Amid the corn, wheat, and soybean fields of south central North Dakota is a community that values using the latest technology to communicate as an essential part of their education system. Technology Integrationist Pamela Brown, a former math and technology teacher of more than 20 years, is leading the way in Jamestown, ND, and using the Resources for Educators newsletter Middle Years as an important tool in that effort.
Pam couldn’t love her current role more, which includes creating and updating the school district’s websites and training all staff on the latest software and technology. Optimizing communications to parents of students in Jamestown’s public schools is a key part of her role.
“We post each monthly issue of Middle Years on our website, and we also distribute it using the Blackboard app. We share the newsletter through the digital messaging system, and it drops right into the email of the parents or the app notification on their phones.”
Access to information—for all—is crucial
When Pam realized that all postings to the school district’s website would need to meet new Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility requirements by January 18, 2018, she contacted RFE’s customer care staff and received an extremely positive response.
“I’m really happy that RFE put so much effort into making the Middle Years newsletter ADA-compliant,” Pam said. “Whether or not a law made us do it, making sure the information we post reaches everyone was the right thing to do.”
Jamestown Middle School has been able to distribute electronic ADA-compliant versions of Middle Years since January 2018 as a free additional service RFE now offers to subscribers to all of our publications. These versions can be read by people using screen readers.
Parents get help with the “trials” of the tween years
Parents of middle school students in Jamestown have been enjoying the Middle Years newsletter for the past two years. Pam told us she has discussed with Principal Ryan Harty the impact the newsletter articles have had on fostering parent involvement.
“Parents have shared feedback with Principal Harty about how much they appreciate the newsletter and how it provides them talking points to begin conversations with their children. I think it helps the parents realize the things that are relevant in their children’s lives as they go through the trials of their middle years.”
As Pam knows well, information is only valuable if it actually reaches the intended audience. That’s why she will continue to learn about the latest technologies and the distribution channels that provide Jamestown with the best chance of getting across important messages such as those in the Middle Years newsletter. Thanks to her efforts at home and as part of her work on the North Dakota Association of Technology Leaders (NDATL) board, Jamestown schools are destined to remain on the cutting edge of technology and communications—and Middle Years is there to help keep Jamestown parents involved with their children’s education.