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Parkland Ready 21

 

Dear Parkland Parents/Guardians:

As we transition to a more digital learning environment, we are excited to work with you and your son or daughter this school year on the implementation of a 1:1 program called Parkland Ready 21 (PR21). This initiative takes stock of best practices for incorporating technology into the curriculum, allowing students to have greater voice and choice within their learning paths. PR21 represents a pedagogical shift as we continue to evolve from a teacher-centered classroom to a learner-driven environment. This is called Personalized Learning.

Personalized learning is not new at Parkland. High school and middle school teachers incorporated Schoology into their curriculum in 2017-18. Schoology is an online Learning Management System (LMS) that allows teachers to design lessons, create engaging content, and assess student understanding. Classrooms that utilize Schoology allow students to keep track of assignments by storing assignments and projects all in one portal. Teachers provide feedback within the portal, thus allowing a more engaging space for parents to better access and understand what their child is learning and how well they are learning. Videos that demonstrates the many ways our teachers were able to use technology to enhance teaching and learning last school year can be found to the right.

During the 2018-2019 school year, Parkland will ensure every secondary student in grades 6 through 12 has a personal learning device as a resource to more fully engage with this evolving digital ecosystem. Students will use their Chromebooks as a digital textbook for many different tasks including note-taking, homework assignments, coursework, collaborative research projects, and more.

The Chromebooks will be available for high school students or their parents to pickup by alphabetical order the week of August 20 from 9 am to noon and 4 pm to 7 pm in the high school library using the following schedule:

Monday, August 20

Tuesday, August 21

Wednesday, August 22

Thursday, August 23

A-Fe

Ff-Kr

Ks-Rom

Ron-Z


The Lenovo 500e 2-in-1 Chromebook device is the model that has been chosen for students in grades 9-12. It is more durable than a typical device, spill-resistant, and has touch and drawing capabilities built-in to foster student note-taking and creativity. The HP 11 2-in-1 Chromebook is the model that has been chosen for students in grades 6-8. Each student will be issued a Chromebook, charger, stylus, and carrying case. Students will be able to purchase replacements for Chromebook accessory items in the school store. It is important to note that students need to charge and bring their Chromebook to school every day. Students will also need to have earbuds, which will be available for purchase in the school store or can be found at minimal cost in area stores. More information about the use of Chromebooks in education can be found here.

At the elementary level we will be adding an additional fifty-two (52) Chromebook carts to the elementary schools, ensuring at least one cart per grade level. Also, iPad Mini carts will be added to each elementary school for use in grades K, 1 and 2. More  information about the rollout plan can be found in this Morning Call article

By September, 2019 the district will be completely 1:1, and we will have a device available for every student in grades K-12. We are offering several Parkland Academy workshops to help staff leverage these devices fully, and understand how they can facilitate transformative learning experiences for our students.

Personalized computing is a model in which every student has his/her own personal learning device. The benefits of this approach include:
• Students can collaborate in real time and have access to information that is updated as it occurs.
• Teachers have automatic grading and data analytics, allowing them to tactically use their time where it is needed most - with students.
•  Teachers will have to spend less time on scheduling carts of computers and can instead focus on what they do best - teach.
• Students can create, highlight, categorize, and keep their course materials in a variety of multimedia formats that are immediately available and searchable.
• Students with advanced skills are able to expand their skills and knowledge by working at their own pace.
• Students with learning differences are better able to keep pace with classmates because they can utilize technology to meet their individual learning needs.

Additional Resources
Care & Feeding Of Your Chromebook & Digital Citizenship

iNACOL Report: What’s Possible With Personalized Learning (February, 2017)

Let’s Teach for Mastery, Not Test Scores (TED Talk, September, 2016)

For comments and questions, please contact Tracy Smith, Assistant to the Superintendent for Operations, at smith_tracy@parklandsd.org or JR Renna, Coordinator of Educational Technology, at rennaj@parklandsd.org.

Parkland Ready 21 - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

About Parkland Ready 21 and Personalized Learning

What is Parkland Ready 21?
Parkland Ready 21 (PR21) is a new initiative that takes stock of best practices of incorporating technology into the curriculum to allow students to have greater voice and choice within their learning paths to make them personal for each student. PR21 represents a pedagogy shift as we continue to evolve from a teacher-centered classroom to a learner-driven environment. This is called Personalized Learning. Our teachers are being tasked with guiding learners to become more self-directed, self-monitored, and self-motivated. The PR21 committee consists of teachers, School Board members, administrators and students.

Our primary goal is to focus on how we can make igniting a passion for learning systemic practice so ALL students are eager to go to school every day and come home equally excited.  In essence, we want to create highly invested, lifelong learners who understand not only content, which in this digital age is constantly changing, but at a deeper level have learned how to learn and are inspired to make a positive impact on the world.

What are some of the goals of the program?
a. Develop highly invested students across all grades and subjects through a more personalized learning approach
b. Promote digital equity and ensure all students have access to a curriculum that is increasingly digital
c. Close the Digital Use Divide

Digital Use Divide - ensure all students understand how to use technology as a toll to engage in creative, productive, life-long learning rather than simply consuming passive content

d. Provide 21st Century Skills our students need for a knowledge-based, increasingly digital economy

What is the long-term implementation plan?

2017-2018 - Every middle school student will receive a personal learning device (Chromebook). The model that will be issued at the middle school level is the Dell 3189, that has the ability to function as both a laptop (with built-in keyboard) or a tablet with touch screen capabilities to take advantage of a wider range of apps.

2018-2019 - Every high school student will have access to a personal learning device

2019-2020 - All students in grades 3-5 will have access to a personal learning device
(grades K/1/2 will have access to iPads and other devices but will not take them home)

Personal Learning Devices

As a middle school student, my child will now be responsible for a personal learning device (Chromebook). What are the guidelines/expectations for my child to take care of this device?

  • Come to school with the device fully charged every day.
  • Use reasonable care not to cause intentional damage or deface the Chromebook or its accessories.
  • No permanent decals to be applied. Removal of decal should in no way damage or scratch the device.
  • Students are reminded that the acceptable use policy applies both on and off school property.

What is the plan for repair or maintenance should something happen to it?

  • Student will report issue(s) to classroom teacher
  • If the classroom teacher is unable to resolve the issue, the student will take unit to the library to fill out a trouble ticket
  • Library aid or Librarian will check the device in and assign the student a loaner device
  • Building tech para or trojan tech team will repair the device. Trouble ticket will be updated and an email will be automatically generated once the device is repaired
  • Student will report to library to check in loaner and check out their device

What is the battery life of the device?
Ten hours, according to the manufacturer. This will depend on how the device is used.

Will charging stations be available at the school?
Yes, two in each middle school that can house 15 units. They are locked stations.

What if my child forgets his/her Chromebook?
There is one computer in the back of most classrooms and a limited amount of loaners will be available in the library.

What if my child forgets to bring his/her Chromebook fully charged?
A limited amount of charging stations will be available at school. Students are encouraged to charge their units at home.

What if we do not have wi-fi access at home?
Students may sign out Kajeets from the library which will give them filtered wi-fi access.

What happens if the device gets damaged?
Students will report damage to classroom teachers. The classroom teacher will determine if the damage was intentional or accidental.  If accidental, the student will fill out a trouble ticket in order to get the unit repaired.  If intentional, the teacher will refer the student to administration.  In both cases, a student will need to fill out a trouble ticket.

What happens if the device is stolen?
Students should report this to their classroom teacher.  The teacher will refer the student to administration.

Will we be responsible for carrying insurance on the device?
No.

Will my child be required to take their device home every day?
Although there is no requirement to take the Chromebook home each night, students will find that most of the teachers will have assignments to complete at home that requires the use of a computer. A personal home computer may certainly be used to complete these assignments, but the district Chromebook that is assigned will have all of the necessary software already installed and configured for ease of use.

Does the district block access to inappropriate websites?
Yes. Student Chromebooks will be configured to use the district web-filter both in the district and when connected to home or public WiFi. PSD has installed blocking software designed to protect students from obscene material and visual depictions deemed harmful to minors as defined by the federal Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA). When off district grounds, the Chromebooks will be blocked from offensive material just like other computers on the PSD network. Further, removal or tampering with the filtering settings will be a violation of district policy. Keep in mind that no blocking technology is 100% effective. The best filter is a parent or guardian. We encourage you to talk with your child and be aware of his or her online activities and behaviors.

How much time will my child be spending on the device every day?
It varies by subject and teacher. We are not promoting the use of technology but rather the best instructional practices that will engage and inspire students to achieve their best performance. At times that will involve the use of technology but there are many times when it will not be necessary. The device is simply a tool, not the driver of instruction.

How will use of the devices be monitored during the school day?
The classroom teacher will monitor students.  This is no different then when we have a cart of laptops in the classroom.  Students are expected to follow the acceptable use policy.

My child already has their own laptop/tablet/Chromebook that they would prefer to use. Is this possible?
They can still bring their own device and use it when their teacher approves it, but we still encourage the students to use their district-provided device as all necessary software has already been installed.

Will my child be allowed to take their device home over the summer?
No.

Will the device issued to my middle school child travel with them to the high school?
No.

Can students print at home?
Printer support for Chromebooks is limited and not supported by Parkland.

Will students have access to social media applications?
They will not have access during the school day, but there will be a more lax filter policy outside of the school’s network.

Professional Development/Training

What training/resources will be available to students?
We have been using Chromebooks since 2013 so students who have been in the district are already well aware of how they operate. As part of our Parkland Ready 21 Committee work we have learned which applications will be most used and so the Chromebooks will be configured with tabs for frequently used applications and SSO (single sign on) for most applications so more time can be spent on instruction and less time on signing on to applications or troubleshooting. Every Parkland School District student will also have access to an online learning library of digital content called Atomic Learning. These resources are designed to help with learning technical skills or provide “just in time” refreshers on skills students may have been taught but forgotten.

What training/resources will be available to staff?
Staff will be engaged in a variety of training programs that this year will be offered in a more personalized, prescriptive manner that models the instructional goals we have for our students. As part of this approach they, too, will be provided access to the Atomic Learning library.

What training/resources will be available to parents?
In order to better support their child and also stay abreast of current technologies parents will also have access to the Atomic Learning library. Our goal in these changing times is to involve parents, students, and teachers as part of a more comprehensive Parkland learning community.

Will there be other training/workshop opportunities?
Yes! Several additional workshop opportunities will be offered to parents over the summer to learn more about the Chromebooks, Atomic Learning, and other resources in support of this initiative. A list of workshops dates and times will be sent out via School Messenger during the first week of May.

What is Atomic Learning and how do I access it?
Atomic Learning is a rich digital content library of resources ranging from technology topics to college and career readiness, digital citizenship, essay writing tips, and much, much more. This resource is now available to ALL Parkland parents, students, and staff.

To log in, go to http://www.atomiclearning.com
For Orefield Parents, the username is: orefieldms
For Springhouse Parents, the username is: springhousems
The password for both schools is ParklandReady21

Additional Information and Contacts

Who should I contact should I have a questions or concerns regarding Parkland Ready 21?
Any questions at this time can be directed to Tracy Smith, Assistant to the Superintendent for Operations, JR Renna, Coordinator of Educational Technology, or either one of the building principals. Contact information for these individuals is listed below:

Name/Title Email Phone Number      
Tracy Smith, Assistant to the Superintendent for Operations   smith_tracy@parklandsd.org     610.351.5592
JR Renna, Coordinator of Educational Technology rennaj@parklandsd.org 610.351.5590
Todd Gombos, Orefield Middle School Principal gombost@parkalndsd.org 610.351.5750
Michelle Minotti, Springhouse Middle School Principal minottim@parklandsd.org 610.351.5700

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Reflection: Orefield and Springhouse MS

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