Ohio School District Makes Digital Advancements

Ashtabula township has increased the schools’ network capacity, added more computers for 1-to-1 learning and beefed up video security.

by Star Beacon / August 7, 2018
(MCT/San Jose Mercury News/Gary Reyes)

(TNS) — ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP — The Buckeye Local School district is going digital in a big way.

In fact, school officials say new digital and curriculum additions have totally transformed the learning experience in the district as they prepare for students to return later this month.

“Buckeye Local school district unveiled a completely new website,” said Superintendent Patrick Colucci. “Along with that, 300 Chromebooks were provided to Edgewood High School to achieve the one-to-one ratio, which was two years ahead of schedule. Also 100 staff laptops were distributed to provide improved instruction.”

Buckeye Information Technology Coordinator John Radwancky said going one-to-one two years ahead of schedule was a big deal.

“The district is moving the needle with both technology and curriculum,” he said. “The tech resources — like devices and staff training — have seen great support from all stake holders like instructors, administrators and the board of education to maximize their opportunities to learn and utilize them. Everyone from the board to kindergarten students will soon be utilizing them.”

Colucci said everyone was looking forward to continued success with innovation.

“More professional development in electronics was provided by in-house teaching staff on technology integration after utilizing technological programs. ... We’ve kept up with or improved everything with technology,” he said

Colucci said teachers also received professional instruction and development on Google classroom, Google forms and utilizing Google docs to enhance student literacy during the 2017-18 school year.

“The tech and curriculum additions are not just business as usual,” Radwancky said. “It’s an energy with a lot of momentum. The superintendent has assembled a team of change agents to make all this happen.”

Colucci said security and safety were also part of the changes made.

“Most importantly, our district camera system was upgraded for security and safety purposes,” he said.

“Edgewood went from 31 to 42 cameras. Both elementary schools increased from two to 18 cameras and Braden Middle School replaced many cameras in disrepair. This significantly increases the footprint of surveillance coverage in the district.”

In terms of curriculum and instruction, he said the district had more than 350 administrative visits to assess needs and provide teachers with feedback “to enhance instruction.”

The district utilized subsidies to cover much of the costs, Colucci said.

“This allowed for the school district to contract for fiber optics between Edgewood High School and the transportation garage that would have cost the district $21,000, but instead cost the district nothing,” he said.

Colucci said a new development in curriculum was the adoption of the Wildfire teaching methodology which “empowers students through deep learning by solving rigorous challenges from organizations in their community,” he said.

“Wildfire is a framework in which local businesses pitch their problems to teams of students,” he said.

“Student teams work collaboratively to develop data-supported solutions to the problem, then the students present their findings to the local business owners.”

Colucci said Buckeye received $9,000 in grants to implement Wildfire, and Edgewood High School teacher Leanne Hartzell successfully launched a Wildfire pilot class in the spring of 2018. In 2018-19, Hartzell will be implementing an entrepreneurship class both semesters and there also will be a pilot program at Braden Middle School.

©2018 the Star Beacon (Ashtabula, Ohio) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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