Press Return Button for the New School Year
By Martha Sessums
Technology plays a major part of learning in ACE Partner schools. Last term, several schools enhanced their use of the ACE network by adding iPads as a part of the communication among students and teachers (for example, Bullis Charter in Los Altos) or smart boards to inspire the learning experience, such as Granada Islamic in Santa Clara.
This new school year promises to use technology (and the required network to deliver programs) in classrooms even more. Discovery Charter in San Jose has expanded equipment for its school TV studio and added new smart boards, projectors, document cameras and computers. Leadership Public Schools in Oakland, Hayward and San Jose added Google Chrome and MacBook computers, as did Envision Schools in Oakland.
Magnolia Science Academy is growing to be a top performing school with a math-science-technology focus. For the new school year, it added another computer lab as student enrollment doubled, a 9th grade class was added and the campus moved to a new location in Santa Clara. That meant 28 desktop PCs, a projector and document camera and supporting software to populate their new lab.
University Prep Academy in San Jose has a grand scale project by providing curriculum from Project Lead the Way (PLW.) www.pltw.org This is a national provider of rigorous and innovative Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs. Students at University Prep will be taking college-level courses in engineering and bioscience using computers, projectors, smart boards and the curriculum software from PLW.
Summit Public Schools are tying together their four campuses in San Jose and Redwood City with a new video conferencing system. The technology will allow faculty to collaborate in multi-sites without having to leave campus and enhance department and leadership community while saving time previously eaten up by traveling between campuses for meetings. Students will be connected at the different campuses to personalize the learning experience, and teachers can co-teach classes. Even college recruiters can reach more perspective students.
Oakland International High School is adding a 5th Year High School Program for students who need extra time learning English to pass exit exams. They can attend a junior college and earn class credits while still in high school, providing a jump start on their college requirements.
Also, ACE added two new Partner Schools this summer. Alpha Public Schools opened its first charter middle school in the Alum Rock area of San Jose. It is a national leader in blended learning where students rotate between teacher-led instruction and computer-based activities to enhance and personalize student learning. (See blog post “Blended Learning Boot Camp”, July 19 2012.)
ACE Charter School opened its new ACE Charter High School in San Jose this term. (I love their name, of course.) Focusing on serving low-income and low-performing students, its challenge is to bring students up to their full learning potential and prepare them for college. The ACE Charter Middle School is a feeder for the high school’s first class, so already many of the students are confident about their capabilities and understand why college is important for success in the 21st century. The ACE network has connected the school online, providing easier communication and access to curriculum.
This new school year holds a lot of promise for students, teachers and the use of technology in education. I will continue to share stories of ACE Partner Schools to get the discussion and sharing started.