Superintendent Hardy Murphy announced to the Evanston/Skokie District 65 School Board Monday night two activities that are inserting the district more into the digital age, starting with kindergarten.

Effective immediately, parents of incoming kindergarten students can begin the registration process by completing an online application that is available on the district’s website.

And on February 1, the district will participate in a nationwide Digital Learning Day, designed to celebrate innovative thinking and to encourage teachers to make more effective use of web-based resources to enhance their teaching to students who are often two steps ahead of their teachers on such matters.

The online kindergarten registration process is new this year, designed to reduce the amount of paper used by the district, according to Lora Taira, chief information officer. Completing the registration form is Step 1, she said, but the parent still has to come to the district offices at 1500 McDaniel Avenue to bring in documents required to verify the student’s residency and age.

But when they bring in the required documents, such as a birth certificate and real estate tax bills, the district will scan those documents into their computers, rather than photocopying them as was previously done, thereby conserving paper, Taira said.

While the parent can still come into the office and fill out the form manually, Taira added, the online option saves them some time by enabling them to complete the form in advance at their convenience.

The Digital Learning Day on Feb. 1 is a project of the Alliance for Excellent Education, a Washington-based educational advocacy group, whose president is former West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise. In announcing the program, Wise noted that “digital learning gives teachers more opportunities to personalize education, utilize data and content more efficiently, and be more innovative in their teaching.”

A highlight of the day is a national town meeting, at which schools, libraries, community programs, and classrooms will demonstrate their usage of digital media to improve teaching and learning.

Among the national partners in the Digital Learning Day are Google, Intel Corp., and the Carnegie Corp.  of New York.

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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