Springboro Community City Schools will roll out an important online tool for all district parents at a meeting with parents of sixth through eighth grade students on August 1 at 6 p.m. in the high school auditorium. The first parent meeting of the 2013-2014 school year will focus on the math and language arts curriculum pilot project for Springboro Intermediate and Junior High students.
“Because our new curriculum pilot actively engages an online learning environment, it made sense to also introduce this new online resource for parents at the same time,” said Tammy Stritenberger, Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction. “We hope our sixth through eighth grade parents will attend this discussion on how technology is being fully integrated in our classrooms this year.”
Today’s students only know a digital world, and Springboro students are part of piloting new curriculum for the district that ties math and language arts to digital resources. The DIGITS math program and Prentice Hall Literature Common Core Edition (PHLit) will be used by Springboro’s sixth through eighth grade students this year. Both have digital workspace, online textbooks, interactive lessons and learning tools that can be customized to each student’s ability.
The new curriculum will fully use the district’s updated wireless capabilities and new hardware in each building. In addition, the Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) program will allow students to use their device to access the curriculum as well. Teachers reviewed and selected the new courses. Jennifer Beachler, an eighth grade language arts teacher noted that, "The teachers have been impressed with the way these resources integrate reading, writing, research and technology.”
Jennifer Heagen, a seventh grade language arts teacher agreed that, “One of the advantages of piloting these new textbooks is the fact our students will be able to access the full text online. Gone are the days of students lugging home a giant reading book. Not only will students be able to read the stories online, but they will be able to interact with the text by highlighting and taking notes on the pages. In the age of Common Core and PARCC assessments, it is a necessity that our students manipulate stories and ideas electronically, and the new textbook and online access will allow Springboro's students to do so with ease.”
The new curriculum also adapts to student ability in math and language arts. "By accessing the textbook online, students can find modified versions of the stories and articles that make the reading more accessible for more students. The online textbook also offers a "listen-to-the-text" component for struggling auditory learners. In addition, PHLit Online also provides additional personalized instruction, relevant videos, vocabulary games, and writing assignments that connect to the reading. I am looking forward to utilizing this new resource in my classroom this year,” said Kif Corcoran, seventh grade language arts teacher.
Joyce Ringler, district literacy coordinator, noted that, “This program for grades six through eight strengthens the literacy curriculum for Springboro students by integrating reading, writing, speaking, listening, and grammar through authentic literature study. The students will be exposed to all the genres of reading, not just narrative text, and will have the capacity to work with the materials in more interesting ways through the expanded use of technology, both at school and at home. Parents will be able to monitor and understand the rigor of what is expected in literacy instruction for their children.”
Parents also can learn more about the DIGITS math curriculum on www.mymathuniverse.com It includes a short video parents can watch about the Common Core State Standards and the DIGITS online learning environment. The program integrates lesson planning, homework management, intervention, and assessment while also encouraging class collaboration via interactive whiteboards. In addition, lower-level students are supported with targeted intervention and higher-level students are challenged with enrichment and extensions. Students can work and advance at their own pace through the digital workspace, and teachers can track students’ progress online as well as in the classroom.
The Pearson curriculum pilot demonstrates Springboro’s larger efforts to build the meaningful use of technology. The district is migrating to Google Apps in Education this year. This is a free, online suite of tools (spreadsheet, word processor, presentations) that gives students a common set of tools that are accessible at all times. This will facilitate collaboration on projects, real-time feedback from teachers, shared information and research that will promote learning anytime and anywhere.
Similarly, parents can access important information online anytime through the curriculum page on the district website www.Springboro.org. The page is being updated to provide families with a single online resource with which to answer common parent questions and concerns on instructional technology, the curriculum pilot as well as teaching and learning throughout the district.
With one click, parents are taken to an easy-to-read virtual bookshelf of resources, including Ohio Department of Education (ODE) data, the district’s ODE report card, gifted services, instructional technology, special education, the third grade reading guarantee, home schooling and English language learners as well as a variety of links for parents to support learning from preschool through twelfth grade. During the school year, the site will include a “Panthers at Work” link to highlight student academic achievements throughout the district. The site goes live online August 1, and it will be under construction as more information and links are added.