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Roxbury: Digital Learning Day Ends with Google Night

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Individual schools in Roxbury Township celebrated Digital Learning Day on February 22nd with various activities and programs in their computer classrooms.

Capping off the day was a Google Night Title I Student Academic Intervention and Learning (S.A.I.L.) Parent Academy at Franklin School for just Franklin and Nixon Elementary School families.

Digital Learning Day

These two elementary schools in Roxbury Township qualify for Title I funding based on the number of students enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program. These Title I programs are organized and coordinated by Kelly Freund, Franklin and Nixon technology teacher.

Thursday’s S.A.I.L. Academy treated more than 40 families to dinner and dessert before rotating through three different hands-on sessions.

Prior to the individual sessions, families were able to hear first-hand from Teresa Rehman, the district’s Technology Director on how Google applications and other programs are used in their children’s classroom and school.

Roxbury Township Public Schools is a Google for Education Reference District. Rehman explained, “Google for Education Reference Districts are districts that demonstrate excellence through leadership through the innovative use of technology, including G Suite for Education and Chromebooks, to drive impact and positive learning outcomes.”

Adding, “The district utilizes Google Chromebooks as part of its 1:1 initiative which grows each year thanks to the affordability of the devices. Currently, students in grades 7-12 have their own individual devices to be used at home and in the classroom. Sixth-grade students have their own devices as well to be used throughout the day while in school. Students in grades 3-5 are integrating the use of Chromebooks into their daily routine via Chromebook carts with the hope of expanding that down to the second-grade level next year. The demand from the teachers has increased dramatically at the lower levels.”

Many of the Roxbury teachers utilize Google Classroom for assignments and activities in various subject areas like Reading/Writing Workshop, Math Fact Strategy, and Social Studies research. All students in grades K-4 attend computer classes each week learning typing/keyboarding skills and web-based educational applications.

Rehman along with Karen Kovarik, Kennedy’s technology teacher, and Ruth Davis, the district’s Technology Integration Specialist walked families through Google Classroom, Google Expeditions, and Google Maps/Earth.

Rehman showcased Google Expeditions and Google Goggles, a new addition to the Technology Department this year. The department purchased ten sets and is still working on implementing these devices into the curriculum and classroom settings. Google Goggles and Expeditions is a virtual reality teaching tool that provides users with a 360° view of different historical landmarks and experiences like outer space.

Rehman explained that Google Expeditions allows a teacher to act as a guide to walk students through these 3D images, pointing out sights along the way.

Kovarik showed students and their families all about Google Arts and Culture. Families sat at computers and explored the space station with stories, photos, videos, art, and 360-degree views of the space station.

The third session covered by Davis explored Google Maps and Earth and all the unique components to it. Families worked on Google Chromebooks, many for the first time, to locate Franklin School and explore the surrounding area as well as measure the distance from Franklin to Lincoln/Roosevelt School without using any roads.

Wrapping up the evening’s program was the drawing for the chance to win one of two Google Chromebooks. A family from each Franklin and Nixon School won!

The district’s purpose of holding S.A.I.L. Parent Academics is to educate parents on the things going on in their child’s elementary school and education. These academics were designed to make parents feel comfortable and welcome in their child’s school and to provide help for them in the easiest and most convenient ways possible. The district strives to remove any possible obstacles from participating including having translator services available for our non-English speaking families, free childcare for not just the child in the elementary school but for any age, as well as providing dinner catered by  Aramark, the district’s food services provider.

The district is squeezing in two more parent academies to wrap-up the school year. The next being on Thursday, March 15th at 6:15 p.m. at Nixon School with the Paper Bag Players! The second, families will be able to sign up for one of two sessions on Tuesday, March 20th for a one-hour webinar with Amy McCready on Positive Parenting. The day session will be at 1 p.m. at Franklin School and the night session at 7 p.m. at Nixon School.

As with all of these academies, it allows the district to foster inclusive and collaborative cultures with families as well as internal and external stakeholders. In an effort to increase participation in these workshops, the district actively strives to eliminate as many barriers as possible. For instance, registration forms were distributed via email, hard copy, and Facebook in both English and Spanish. Meals, childcare, and translator services were also available at this academy as the district tries to build the bridge between a child’s connection from school to home.

PHOTOS ATTACHED (courtesy of Roxbury Public Schools)

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