Dear Grant Families,
The first day of school is here! We couldn’t be more excited to start the 2017/18 school year. There are a few things I wanted to share as the school year gets underway. In August, 2016, the Board of Education approved our participation in the Future Ready Schools Initiative. We have been partnering with the U.S. Department of Education and the Future Ready Schools Initiative to evaluate where we are as a district with the use of technology and commit the time and resources to determine how we can best utilize technology to improve student achievement.
Throughout last year school, we conducted a pilot of technology in several classrooms. In these pilot classrooms, each student was assigned a Chromebook computer. The objective was to determine if and how technology could be utilized to enhance teaching and learning. We monitored student performance throughout the pilot, received ongoing feedback from students, and even had several students present to faculty and staff the impact of the technology for them personally at a spring late start. Student engagement and student performance clearly indicated technology can indeed enhance the learning experience for students.
As a result, we have expanded our pilot to a field study this year involving all levels of Algebra I, Chemistry, English 12, Spanish I & II, and World History, with the exception of Advanced Placement. If your student has one of those classes on their schedule, they will have a Chromebook available at all times in those classrooms and teachers will be incorporating the technology when it can be used to enhance a lesson, expand access to learning materials, accelerate learning, build 21st century skills, increase student engagement and motivation, etc. Teachers and students in these classes will also be interacting with a learning management system under consideration called Schoology. Schoology connects students and parents to teachers and online learning resources in a very secure online environment.
We look forward to our second year of studying the ways that technology can continue to improve the educational experience for our students and further personalize their learning. Our goal to improve student achievement remains the same. We have taken a very systematic approach to this change and the increased use of technology. We have done that through an in-depth and ongoing look at the 7 “Gears” of the Future Ready Schools Framework: curriculum, instruction and assessment; use of space and time; infrastructure; data and privacy; community partnerships; personalized professional learning; and budget and resources.
This action research is an important step in preparing our students for the future and developing the 21st century skills they will need to be successful. If you have any questions regarding the field study underway or your child’s participation, please contact Principal Jeremy Schmidt.
We are extremely excited about the school year ahead and continuing to expand opportunities for our students. Let’s make it a great year.
Christine A. Sefcik, Ed.D.