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Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified:"Destination School District" With Epson 3LCD PowerLite® Projectors

"With the Epson 3LCD projectors, the kids are actively learning, fully engaged with the subject at hand, and motivated to do well."

-- Bob Blackney, Director of Technology, Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District

Northeast Orange County in California has seen its terrain transformed from yesterday's bountiful orange groves to the populous suburbs of today. The Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District is working on another development with profound impact on the region's future, classroom technology.

In just a few short years, every classroom in the district's 22 elementary schools, 6 middle schools and 6 high schools will have an Epson 3LCD multimedia projector. Today, the Southern California district has about 600 projectors in use at schools within its 45 square miles.

How will the award-winning PYLUSD get the classroom technology tools it needs to better educate students? Recently, the district's communities of Placentia, Yorba Linda and parts of Anaheim, Brea and Fullerton, rallied together and passed a $200 million bond to modernize all qualifying schools. About 12 percent of the money is allocated to upgrading classroom technology. The technology department's plan is to add new ceiling-mounted projectors to 20 percent of the classrooms each year.

"Destination School District"

Because of the district's high standards, real estate agents rate the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District as a "destination school district." Located only miles from the Pacific Ocean and scenic mountain ranges, 18 of the 34 schools are California Distinguished Schools. Six are recipients of the National Blue Ribbon School award, considered the highest honor that an American school can achieve.

Despite its high ratings, the PYLUSD struggles with the same budget constraints and staffing issues as other public schools. Within its fold is a mixture of the underprivileged and affluent in northeast Orange County. Many students speak English as a second language and struggle to keep up. No matter what cards a school is dealt, the district is applying team effort to improve the infrastructure, classroom technology and overall achievement in all of its schools.

"Taking the time to understand the many perspectives of our district has been very helpful to me in getting the job done," said Bob Blackney, the district's director of technology. "I find it easier to identify the instructional needs of our schools, keep up with the moving target of technology, and communicate on a daily basis with staff and students."

Projector Advocate

When Blackney first joined the PYLUSD, the purchasing department was in charge of projectors. "There was no management plan to put projectors in the classroom, which wasn't unusual in those days," he said. "Technology people were expected to know more about computers and networks than projectors." As he saw the benefits of projectors in the classroom, he became an outspoken advocate. "The growing use of projectors in education clearly reflects a big change in the presentation of knowledge in our schools," said Blackney, who was a teacher and principal before he heard the technology department's siren song.

Blackney advised the district that it made more sense to use one projector vendor rather than confusing teachers with too many solutions. After doing research, he found that the Epson 3LCD PowerLite projectors had better performance, were highly reliable, and were priced for budget-conscious school districts. The projectors delivered powerful 3LCD image quality, plus high levels of color and white light output to the classroom.

The technology director appreciated the built-in closed captioning decoder, as it eliminated the need to purchase additional, costly decoders to fulfill the ADA requirements. Blackney also welcomed the auto keystone correction feature to automatically adjust the shape of the image and allow for quick set up of the projector. He can also remotely monitor the projectors throughout his fleet via the district's IP network. The Epson 3LCD PowerLite projector's energy efficient lamp provides more lumens per watt and lasts up to 4,000 hours,* which is a 50 percent longer lamp life than competitive models.

Motivating Students

Blackney highlighted one of the most important reasons the district must keep up with multimedia projector technology. "The students are not just sitting at their desks waiting to learn," he said. "With the Epson 3LCD projectors, the kids are actively learning, fully engaged with the subject at hand, and motivated to do well."

"When it comes to presenting information in this day and age, you don't stand a chance if you're just holding a stick of chalk," said Blackney. The higher standard of the Epson 3LCD PowerLite projector is changing the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District's classrooms forever.

*Lamp life results will vary depending on mode selected, environmental conditions, and usage. Lamp brightness decreases over time.

PowerLite is a registered trademark of Epson America, Inc