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Correspondent

HARVARD — A major topic the Harvard Elementary School (HES) Council is focused on this year includes the distribution of Smart Boards and how to standardize the technology for system-wide use.

The devices offer PowerPoint-style show-and-tell options in the classroom with Internet links and hands-on interaction, said HES Principal Mary Beth Banios, but they aren’t new.

“The technology has been around for about 40 years,” she said.

Smart boards are as practical as they are versatile, she said, and with “free for life” software upgrades, they’re not likely to be outdated.

“It’s an economical purchase,” she said.

The request for the boards was on practical wish list Banios and The Bromfield School Principal James O’Shea submitted and the committee approved, for a total of $53,021.

But the money won’t come from the school budget. Instead, it will be paid out of the Shaw Trust, a charitable fund that pours about $50,000 annually into the schools.

The Shaw Trust will be tapped for the following items this year:

* Eleven sound amplification systems for special education for $12,782.

* Five Smart Board and projection systems for HES for $20,000.

* Six requests from The Bromfield School for $20,239.

The items for Bromfield include a half-dozen Motorola Walkie Talkies for physical education teachers, administrators, the school nurse and the special education office to enhance communication and safety throughout the building; storage cabinets for the guidance department, 75 classroom chairs, 10 lab tables for the new science lab, 24 student lockers and an automatic scrubber for custodial services.

The items are described in detail in the requests, and the two principals and Special Education Director Charles Horn further explained why they are needed.

The chairs are overdue replacements for temporary equipment, they said, and the lab tables are use-specific, suitable for dissecting. The lockers are needed to move all senior lockers to one area of the school.

In addition, the sound amplification systems, which enhance the clarity of a speaker’s voice for hearing-impaired students, tie into existing special equipment teachers already use for those students. They will also noticeably improve the sound quality of the teachers’ voices for others in the room.

The units are mounted on a wall in designated rooms, but they are portable and can be moved to other rooms if necessary, said Horn.