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Kids who code
July 5, 2017
At GenCyber Boot Camp, Memphis students get lessons in coding — and exposure to hot careers
Summer camps offered at the University of Memphis provide important training about cybersecurity and coding for that purpose.
August 24, 2016
How should schools handle sexting? Not like they are now, Denver professor says
A Denver professor argues for a different approach to sexting: Let teens do it as long as its consensual and focus on discouraging privacy violations and harassment.
June 30, 2016
We asked five Colorado teachers how they use technology in the classroom. This is what they said.
We spoke with teachers about how they are using technology in the classroom. The opinions varied, but the consensus was a good one.
February 15, 2016
McQueen: Tennessee Department of Education takes ‘full responsibility’ for online testing debacle
In a letter to state lawmakers, Education Commissioner Candice McQueen says her department shoulders blame for the failure to transition to online testing this year.
February 8, 2016
Tennessee’s switch to online testing starts rough as platform crashes on Day One
On the first day of online testing in Tennessee schools, a network outage keeps students from taking the state's new achievement test, delaying TNReady's rollout.
February 1, 2016
Haslam proposes $261 million more for K-12 education
Gov. Bill Haslam proposes new investments in teacher pay, technology, reading programs and high-need student populations.
October 2, 2015
Cabinet shuffle includes three new leaders for Shelby County Schools
Following the exit last summer of three top-level officials with Shelby County Schools, Superintendent Dorsey Hopson announces the addition of three new cabinet members.
Technology in schools
September 30, 2015
Tennessee school boards group teams with Apple on digital learning project
The Tennessee School Boards Association partners with Apple to launch the Tennessee Digital Learning Project, a platform to offer new digital resources for high school.
up close and personal
September 14, 2015
Northeast Denver charter puts a new spin on teaching and learning
At a new elementary charter school in Northeast Denver, students follow personalized schedules programmed into iPads they carry with them throughout the school day.
September 4, 2015
State says most districts are ‘online ready’ for new state assessment, with Shelby County an exception
When Tennessee students log on next spring to take their statewide assessments on computers, most districts will be ready, says a new state report.
April 24, 2015
Metro Nashville Schools first to partner with popular social media site
Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools is the first school district in the nation to partner officially with Nextdoor.
February 25, 2015
Tech contract approved after city acknowledges need for more transparency
A burst of concern over the contract's size and connection to a past scandal prompted city officials to say they will be more transparent in the future.
January 15, 2015
Education Department: Indiana schools unprepared for online tests
About 77 percent of Indiana schools are technologically ill-equipped to to reliably administer state ISTEP tests online, and the Indiana Department of Education told state lawmakers…
January 9, 2015
Yes, it’s time to embrace cell phones in class
Teacher John Giambalvo argues that educators shouldn't overlook specific, academic ways to use phones as soon as they are allowed.
End of an era
January 6, 2015
De Blasio set to announce end of cell phone ban
Mayor Bill de Blasio said that cell phone ban in schools will be lifted as early as March 2 and principals will be tasked with coming up with their own rules for how cell phones can be used on school grounds, according to the Daily News.
December 2, 2014
Audit: City losing track of thousands of school computers, tablets
Thousands of computers and iPads that belong in city schools are missing or unused because of poor record-keeping, according to a new audit from Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office.
November 18, 2014
Phase-out of ARIS follows years of educator frustrations
The imminent phase-out of ARIS, the student data management system, elicited cheers from educators and parents who found the system never quite delivered on its promise.
getting to know you
November 11, 2014
Metro State’s new education dean: Fund ed schools on quality, not quantity, of teachers
The dean of Metro's new education school talks Common Core, assessments, and what teachers need to know before they start on the first day.
October 29, 2014
What Fariña wants to keep from the Bloomberg era: tech, leadership focus
Since taking over the school system, Fariña has increased the experience requirements for both principals and district superintendents, moves that stand in contrast to the Bloomberg administration’s creation of a fast-track principal training program that drew criticism for filling the city’s schools with inexperienced leaders.
October 27, 2014
Gov. Cuomo’s commission on ed-tech spending recommends more online learning
Districts across New York should look to expand online learning with proceeds from the Smart Schools Bond Act, but should also focus on careful…
August 5, 2014
As computer science slowly makes inroads in schools, summer programs multiply
As demand for computer science education has increased, summer programs focused on coding have popped up around the city, offering students an introduction to the field.
teachers talk tech
July 30, 2014
On working tech into the classroom, teachers and students have plenty of ideas
Teachers shared their ideas and best practices for incorporating web-based apps into the classroom at the School Technology Summit Wednesday.
July 28, 2014
Top official says recent department turnover not a sign of problems
Deputy Chancellor Phil Weinberg said recent high-level departures do not indicate turmoil in his office during a segment of the "Brian Lehrer Show" Monday about education technology.
June 27, 2014
City to offer summer technology courses for teachers
In an effort to bring more technology to the classroom, Chancellor Carmen Fariña announced on Friday that teachers can apply for free training run…
May 21, 2014
De Blasio vows to expand tech programs hatched by Bloomberg
Mayor Bill de Blasio signaled his commitment to promote digital learning in schools on Wednesday and highlighted funding for that purpose. But the tech programs he promised to expand began under former Mayor Bloomberg.
April 28, 2014
The city’s attendance system is inefficient—and I’ve seen a better way
After moving from Philadelphia to New York City, a teacher argues that the city's pencil-and-paper attendance system is wildly inefficient.
April 17, 2014
Geoffrey Canada, Google’s Eric Schmidt to advise state on tech spending
The state is expecting to have an extra $2 billion on hand to invest in school technology and other upgrades over the next few years,…
High-Tech High Schools
March 21, 2014
Amid uncertain future, city's Digital Ready initiative spurs schools to experiment
A new Department of Education program, called Digital Ready, offers resources and support to 10 high schools as they experiment with new tools, partnerships, and methods of instruction and assessment. But its long-term prospects are uncertain.
January 22, 2014
Rise & Shine: Memphis students to eat for free this fall
January 8, 2014
Cuomo wants N.Y. voters to approve $2 billion for school technology
If Andrew Cuomo has his way, voters will do more this fall than reelect him to a second term as governor of New York State. They'll also approve a $2 billion bond to pay for classroom technology costs that could balloon in coming years.
August 26, 2013
Quinn: Girls should have their own tech schools
Mayoral candidate and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn wants to open at least five new all-girls middle schools, one in each borough, dedicated to science and math. "The point of the schools, and in particular that it’s girls only, is in part to send a message to girls, ‘This is a field for you,’" Quinn said at a press conference at Brooklyn Bridge Park today. Quinn herself attended an all-girls Catholic high school and has said she would expand single-sex schooling if she is elected. (Single-sex education has strong advocates, but researchers say there’s no evidence that it improves learning and could actually diminish students’ self-esteem.)
August 14, 2013
An uphill climb toward online testing awaits New York schools
Political and logistical impediments could thwart New York’s participation in a multi-state consortium formed to improve the quality of standardized tests. When New York adopted the Common Core learning standards in 2010, education officials also committed to participating in a federally funded consortium that would produce a computer-based assessment system tied to the standards. The computer-based testing would allow tests finally to require the kinds of critical thinking that the Common Core asks students to do, advocates say. In the online tests dreamed up by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, screens replace bubble sheets, students type their essays, and math problems are solved by dragging and dropping answers. Expedited grading would return results to schools in weeks, offering teachers valuable feedback before the end of the year. State officials have long signaled an intention to shift to the PARCC tests once they become available in the 2014-2015 school year. But they still have not formally committed to that plan, and State Education Commissioner John King suggested last week, in the wake of the state’s first round of Common Core-aligned tests, that the urgency had passed. "I suspect that we will perhaps move more slowly than some other states since we know that we have in place very high-quality Common Core assessments," King said.
May 28, 2013
Gap App winners think they can solve low middle school scores
Winners of the Gap App Challenge pose with Chancellor Dennis Walcott at Tweed Courthouse on Tuesday morning. The city Department of Education thinks it has found software developers who are solving the perpetual problem of middle school math. The department today announced four winners from its Gap App challenge — a competition inviting developers to submit programs that could help middle schools raise math scores, which remain stubbornly low. Developers submitted 200 apps to the challenge since it was first announced in January. The developer of the "Best Instructional App," KnowRe, has created an adaptive learning platform that offers Algebra 1 students different questions and challenges based on their previous answers. In the "Best Administrative and Engagement App" category, top-rated developer Hapara has created an interface that lets teachers see their students' work easily. "Our product is built exclusively on teacher and student feedback," the group says in an informational video.
May 28, 2013
It’s Tech Tuesday
Mayoral campaign season might have just kicked into high gear, but don’t tell that to the computer programmers who are descending on the city’s…
April 5, 2013
Liu's latest education report urges home computers for students
Comptroller John Liu wants the city to help every low-income high school graduate head off to college with his or her own computer. In a new report, Liu — who is also running for mayor — urges the city to partner with technology companies to provide refurbished computers to students who otherwise might not have a computer in college. He also recommends that the city encourage businesses to donate their outdated computer equipment to schools; and expand nonprofit programs that place computers in students' homes and train students to repair their schools' computers. The report on closing the "digital literacy divide" is the latest in a series about how the city can boost the number of its students who graduate from college and contribute to its economy. Altogether, Liu, who is responsible for the city's fiscal stewardship, calls for nearly $40 million a year in new spending on computers and technology programs. (Expanding the student-led computer support program could save the city $15 million a year, according to the report.) The report does not mention mobile technology, which a study released last month by the Pew Internet and American Life Project suggested might be closing the digital divide in some ways.
January 7, 2013
City wants tech developers to join battle for better math scores
Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Dennis Walcott today announced a competition to get software developers building math apps for middle schoolers. The latest development in Mayor Bloomberg's effort to turn New York City into a technology hotspot involves getting software developers to tackle one of the city's most intractable problems: middle school math scores. In a new initiative, the Gap App Challenge, developers will compete to come up with innovative apps that improve middle school students' math skills, Bloomberg and Chancellor Dennis Walcott announced today. The initiative combines two of the Department of Education's top priorities. For the last year, Walcott has focused on improving the city's lagging middle schools. And Bloomberg said today that math has gotten short shrift for too long. "Students who fall behind in middle school math are likely to remain behind through high school and less likely to graduate ready for college," he said. Principals, teachers, and department officials will join developers to judge app submissions. Winning proposals will net their developers financial and tech support, but any app entered into the competition could wind up in students' hands next fall.
November 14, 2012
City's Race to the Top-District bid centered on iZone expansion
Students at Brooklyn's Olympus Academy, a transfer high school, use online learning to move ahead at their own pace. The city is asking the U.S. Department of Education for funds to support additional efforts to "personalize education." Pitting itself against school districts across the country, the city has asked the U.S. Department of Education for $40 million to expand and augment its existing education technology programs. The city's biggest commitment in its application for Race to the Top-District, which city education officials filed last week, is to add as many as 100 schools to its three-year-old “Innovation Zone.” The application also promises to build innovative schools from the ground up and train teachers on how to use technology to improve instruction. Race to the Top-District is the latest effort by the Obama administration to entice state and local education officials to adopt its preferred policies. In the first Race to the Top grant competition, in 2010, New York State netted $700 million to overhaul teacher evaluations, add more charter schools, bulk up teacher preparation programs, and develop a statewide data system. Last year, the state fell short in its bid to win Race to the Top funds earmarked just for early childhood education. The current round — the first open to individual districts — is focused on "personalized education." City Department of Education officials say the Innovation Zone, which this year contains nearly 250 schools, makes the department uniquely positioned to turn federal funds into higher student achievement. "It’s something that we’ve been doing for three years," said David Weiner, the Department of Education deputy chancellor in charge of innovation. "We really believe that that puts us in a great place to capitalize on what we’ve learned."
October 5, 2012
Students weigh ethics of Facebook at West Side Collaborative
Seventh-graders Dasbry Enriquez and Ousmane Niambele created a chart about social media ethics during their English class at West Side Collaborative Middle School on Tuesday. Dasbry Enriquez doesn't have a Facebook account. But if the seventh-grader did, she said she would refrain from posting personal information about her friends to the site without their permission. "It's not my business," she said. Her classmates agreed, but several noted that if someone else posted personal information, it would be hard to ignore, especially if it said somebody they knew was hurt or in trouble. Enriquez was among two dozen students who spent Tuesday morning debating the finer points of Internet privacy and social media ethics during their English class at West Side Collaborative Middle School. The lesson was planned for Digital Citizenship Day, meant to educate young people about the right ways to use the web. Almost all of the students were in agreement how to handle a number of hypothetical dilemmas that social media users might face. But they also acknowledged that the most ethical course of action is not always obvious, or easy to take.
September 20, 2012
Simmering tensions at NEST+M boil over on Curriculum Night
PHOTO: Caroline BaumanKathy Stokes, a PTA officer, spoke to a NEST+m mother who did not know that teachers were boycotting Curriculum Night. Teachers at a school where hundreds of parents signed a petition against the principal this summer continued the protest today by boycotting Curriculum Night. Teachers at New Explorations in Science, Technology, and Math, or NEST+M, announced the boycott via email this afternoon, telling parents that Principal Olga Livanis had not soothed relations with the staff after she surprised several of them with "unsatisfactory" ratings. When parents arrived for the annual introduction to what their children would be learning this year at the citywide school for gifted and talented students, they were told that many teachers had stayed home and given a copy of the email announcing the boycott. "I feel really awful to hear this," said Angela Stokes, a former teacher whose daughter is a sophomore in NEST's high school. "I had this idyllic idea about NEST being away from all the muck and the mire of the DOE. NEST is not immune, I'm finding out." Livanis has butted heads with parents and teachers since 2006, when she was installed as principal after the school's founding leader was removed amid controversy and over some parents' objections. In June, hundreds of parents registered official objections after several well liked teachers received the low ratings. Their petition, which was delivered to Department of Education officials, also called on Livanis to improve the way she communicates with members of the school community. But two weeks into the new school year, teachers said today that there had been no changes.
August 14, 2012
Want to boost students' tech skills? There's an app class for that
Adam Israfil pitches his book reviewing app to peers at NYC Generation Tech. "Have you ever worried about lost papers?" Steffany Ceron read from a notecard to three fellow students powwowing in a semicircle of desks. "Well don't worry, this app can help." Ceron and her peers were among a half-dozen groups of high school students feverishly preparing to present their ideas for mobile phone applications designed to help students stay organized, prepare for exams, or make clothing and food choices. Together, the 29 students are enrolled in New York City's Generation Technology, a fledgling summer program that teaches city high school students how to design and market apps that solve common educational problems. Over two weeks this August, the students — who range from native New Yorkers with experience building digital tools to recent immigrants — are receiving a crash course in digital entrepreneurship, funded by the city's Economic Development Corporation. The program represents one prong of the Bloomberg administration's recent push to remake New York City into a technology hub to rival California's Silicon Valley. Like the computer engineering-themed school that's set to open next month, Generation Tech aims to seed technology talent locally by investing in city students. During the day-long classes, the students review a manual on entrepreneurship, calculate the costs and benefits of various business models, and listen to lectures from the founders of local technology start-ups such as Kickstarter. The class is fast-paced and packed with group presentations and discussion questions designed to get students thinking creatively about business: What is the lifetime value of a New York Times subscriber to the company? How would you help a rapper promote a show in Queens? To be eligible, students must come from a low-income family or attend a school where at least half of students come from low-income families. Only a few of the participants had experience creating mobile apps before this summer, and many said the program also marked their first time practicing public speaking.
July 19, 2012
Tech-savvy teachers build educational apps in pilot program
PHOTO: Lisa Larson-Walker/SlateEDesign Lab members brainstorm ideas in group meeting. (Courtesy of Hsing Wei) Dara Ross didn't know how to write code or develop online software until she joined a pilot program that offered to help teachers use technology in the classroom last year. By the program's end, the high school English teacher had helped build several of her own educational mobile apps, including one that assesses her students’ emotions after they read. Another one featured an animated robot that acted as a reading buddy. She and five fellow teachers did that with the help of tech savvy mentors as participants in Digital Teachers Corp, a program launched last year by New Visions for Public Schools, a national non-profit organization, and as lab members in EDesign Lab, an initiative to bridge the educational technology gap between software developers and educators. “It was valuable to work on education with teachers and technologists; I think that combination is not usually talked about,” said Ross, who teaches English as a second language at Brooklyn International High School. She became interested in incorporating technology in her curriculum when she started creating online videos for her students. The EDesign Lab is entering its second year and looking for a new crop of teachers to join. Getting technology into the classroom has been a slow process, in part because the people who develop software and build digital tools aren't in touch with the learning needs of students. Participants in the pilot said the program helped them quickly bridge that divide by getting in the same room and working out problems together.
June 14, 2012
Students showcase tech innovations as federal funding ends
Congressman Charles Rangel visits students at the Innovation Celebration in Harlem. A pool of federal funds that has enabled schools and teachers to get help adopting new technologies is drying up at the end of the summer. By the end of August, the Department of Education will no longer receive a federal grant called Title II-D, which helped schools pay for technology training centers in each borough, online curriculum, iPads, laptops, and other tools. The U.S. Department of Education decided to eliminate Title II-D funds last year after the Obama administration reorganized its education budget to cut programs considered to be inefficient. The administration slashed the $100 million budget for education technology. That means the city may have to find another way to pay for its technology centers and school gizmos without more funding, which amounted to $22.5 million over three years. “I think people are working on seeing if there could be some sort of sustained support, but there's nothing that's been formally announced,” said Lisa Nielsen, who runs the Manhattan section of the department’s Educational Technology office. The Education Technology office distributes the grants across five boroughs and helps train teachers at the borough's technology center and in classrooms. The office also help schools use funding to buy items that encourage technological innovations in the classroom, such as iPads. Nielsen and nearly 25 department employees are also expected to lose their positions because of the cuts. They will enter the Absent Teacher Reserve pool after August 30, when the funding ends. “The relevance of us is that we are really able to personalize support to each school. I don’t believe that the schools will be able to take on using technology well without this sort of support,” added Nielsen. "When you're the technology liaison or the media library specialist in your school, there’s usually just one of you so you feel alone. This was an opportunity to bring everyone together, to share ideas."
May 21, 2012
Wired Olympus students race toward diploma at their own pace
Danielle Boone at work in her U.S. History class. Danielle Boone's U.S. History class at Olympus Academy High School had just begun, but she didn't need a teacher to tell her what to do. The glowing screen looking back at her told her everything she needed to know. Boone typed out the final section of an assignment on immigration – "a FIVE-sentence summary paragraph (including analysis sentence) about immigration and urbanization" – which she emailed to her teacher, sitting nearby, for grading. She then watched a short video online about the Civil War to research her next assignment, an essay on the Transcontinental Railroad. Boone will continue knocking off these assignments on her school-issued Mac computer at her own blistering pace until, finally, she's completed what is required to pass the course and earn a credit. The day after she completes the last assignment for the U.S. History class, she'll start working on another course she needs to pass to graduate. "I'm a student who works fast and this school helps me get credits," Boone said during a brief break in her work. "The faster you go, the faster you get credits." Boone is the kind of self-starter that city officials envisioned when they tasked Olympus Academy, a transfer school, with creating an online learning model in its school for its over-aged population two years ago. Olympus is part of the iLearnNYC initiative, a division of the city's Innovation Zone. Until now, the initiative, which included 124 schools this year, mainly provided technological resources to schools that were devising ways to mix traditional classroom instruction with online curriculum, an approach known as blended learning.
November 15, 2011
Server stress causes DOE to stop email syncs to some devices
iPads might be good for tracking student behavior and playing interactive learning games. But they're not the best for checking Department of Education email accounts. The department will no longer allow people with @schools.nyc.gov email addresses to manage their accounts through their iPad, iTouch, and Google Android devices, according to an email sent last week by an official in the DOE's Division of Instructional and Information Technology. (I saw the letter on the NYC Education News email list.) The official, Tom Kambouras, said many DOE employees had adopted the new devices in recent months. "While these devices are changing the way we do our business, it has [sic] also presented us with a few IT challenges as well," Kambouras wrote. A major one, he said, is that syncing accounts to some mobile devices has stretched the department's email server to capacity — meaning that there can be "no exceptions" to the new policy. The problem is neither universal nor totally debilitating: DOE employees who tote Blackberries, which the department has for years issued to some officials, will still be able to access their email accounts. And until the server problem is fixed, iPad users can check their DOE email through their web browsers. Still, the new policy is a reminder that in the department's race to adopt new technologies, infrastructure can be an obstacle.
November 11, 2011
In Chicago and New York, a look into the digital classroom
Designer John Murphy uses the SMALLab at ChicagoQuest school. What does a digital classroom look like? Some schools roll smartboards and carts of computers into each classroom. At others, students plug into iPads at every desk to play interactive learning games. The Institute of Play envisions a different picture: A dark, empty classroom with the window shades pulled shut, where a life-size computer game board is projected onto the linoleum floor, and students act as both the players and joysticks to accomplish problem-solving tasks. There are only a handful classroom "labs" like this in the country that serve as a testing ground for "embedded learning environment" games, and a New York City middle school houses one of them. The Institute of Play is a non-profit research group that studies the relationship between game-playing, learning and engagement. It is also one arm of the team behind the NYC Quest to Learn School, which opened in 2009 in Manhattan. I will be visiting the school later this month to see how these classroom innovations are changing the way students learn now that the school is well into its third year. But last week I stopped at the school's recently opened sister school, ChicagoQuest, while in Chicago for a Hechinger Institute conference about reporting on digital learning. At ChicagoQuest, which is as a charter school and receives funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, each of its 234 sixth- and seventh-graders have an iPad. They use it to take notes, search the internet, and play games themed around concepts such as fractions and geography. Though they are only a few weeks into the school year, students at the new school said they have very positive first impressions of the iPad-based lesson plans. One said she prefers taking notes on the iPad over traditional pen-and-paper methods because, "Even though it's not as fast, we can do a lot more with it," by changing up the formatting of the text and linking certain notes or phrases to each other. Though students can be more prone to distraction when the internet (and, in this case, the popular portrait-taking program PhotoBooth) are readily available, Patrick Hoover, the curriculum specialist, said teaches have a simple but district disciplinary policy has kept goofing-off at bay: use the iPad improperly once, and it is taken away for the rest of the class period.
September 28, 2011
Tech discounts to help state teacher centers offer digital training
Teach for America members aren't the only teachers to start getting digital tools from a technology giant. A new partnership between a statewide network of teacher training centers and Microsoft will give teachers access to discounted computer hardware and software, and help using them. Announced this week, the Tech4Teachers program will flood New York State Teacher Centers with new technology options at lower than market-rates. There are 250 center sites in New York City and 130 more throughout the state, offering in-person and virtual assistance to public and private school teachers. Microsoft's assistance comes at a time when state budget cuts have constrained resources at the teacher centers, which provide professional support in the form of online and face-to-face training to teachers across the state. The centers were cut from last year's state budget, but this year the Assembly budgeted $20.5 million for them, approximately half of what the centers have been funded for in the past, according to Gail Moon, the state's acting teacher centers program director. Though the centers receive support from the state's teachers union and some local unions, including the United Federation of Teachers, they primarily rely on the state for funding. The partnership with Microsoft may alleviate some of the financial stress on teacher centers, staff members said, adding that the stress is particularly sharp now that the centers are tasked with helping teachers and networks understand new instructional standards and integrate technology in their classroom. "The way we're looking at doing that is using technology by offering more webinars, electronic video conferencing capabilities, more professional development to more people, and then reducing the cost," said Stan Silverman, co-chair of the centers' technology committee. Silverman said he will also use the program to show state legislators that teachers centers need more resources.
September 21, 2011
TFA members: We'll use new iPads to track behavior, take notes
A second-generation iPad displays an application on the Common Core standards. This month, 9,000 Teach For America members are trading in their post-it notes for iPads thanks to a donation from Apple. They are joining the growing ranks of educators who must decide how to use new iPads in their classrooms. It's an open question facing teachers across the city who received iPads from their principals this year or bring their personal iPad to school from home. Teach for America distributed iPads to its new teachers stationed in 43 regions of the United States, including New York City, over the past three weeks. The tablets, mostly refurbished first-generation iPads turned in by owners eager to upgrade when new models came out this spring, were donated to TFA by Apple earlier this year. "Through this opportunity, corps members will explore ways iPad can be used as a powerful teaching tool in the classroom," Danielle Montoya, a TFA spokesperson, said over email. Teachers say they received the new technology without any specific guidance from TFA officials on how to use it.
September 12, 2011
Global Studies bets 'transformation' funds on new tech, staff
School for Global Studies "master" teacher, Natasha Blakley, prepares for the start of school in the Brooklyn school's new computer lab, purchased with federal funds. To Joseph O’Brien, principal of Brooklyn's School for Global Studies, there is no clearer indication of how new federal funds have led to higher achievement than Room 326. The classroom-turned-computer lab, outfitted with 35 Apple computers purchased last winter, is being used by students to recover credits toward graduation and study languages online, and by parents who lack Internet access at home. In addition to two laptop carts and new smartboards for a dozen classrooms, the lab replaces the school’s once-meager technology offerings, which included aging classroom computers hampered by viruses and two broken smartboards. “For the first time, our students were able to have a dedicated room where they could use the computer on their own time, whether after school or on their lunch hour, with staffed personnel,” he said. Tasked with raising the school’s graduation rate when the Department of Education appointed him to run Global Studies last year, O’Brien sees the new lab as a main tool. He paid for the lab with $170,000 of the $890,000 in federal School Improvement Grants awarded to Global Studies because it landed on the state’s list of lowest-performing schools last year—requiring the city to overhaul it. For Global Studies and 10 other schools on the list, the city chose “transformation,” meaning they would receive new principals and nearly $2 million in School Improvement Grants over three years to buy extra supplies and support. The city is starting to overhaul another 33 schools this year under three improvement models. As the 6th through 12th-grade school enters its second year of transformation — bringing it a second infusion of cash — O’Brien said change is already being felt. “We are no longer the school that we once were,” he said. “This school is really becoming an oasis of learning.” Now he just has to convince families that that’s true.
June 17, 2011
This week's teaching & learning tidbits
Study: More college freshmen feel "above average" - Fort Collins teachers vows to fight CSAP cheating allegations - Dougco considers teacher performance pay - Eagle schools give teacher bonuses amid cuts.
June 10, 2011
This week's safe schools snippets
NBC film explores bullying and ways to respond - SWAT drills at Front Range schools - Age verification doesn't stop kids from joining social networking sites.
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