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Plan for Social Excellence

By Amy Ferguson,2014-06-17 18:03
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Plan for Social Excellence ...

    LPS Grant Proposal Arapahoe High School

    Arapahoe High School

    $1,000,000 Program Development Proposal

    Rationale

Our students will spend the rest of their lives in a multi-tasking, technology-driven

    world and will need information and communication technology literacy in order to be

    successful in both their professional and personal lives. They will need to be

    continually learning throughout their lives. “Lifelong Learner” will not be an

    educational buzzword for them; it will be an economic necessity.

     stThe illiterate of the 21 century will not be those who cannot read or write, but

    those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn. 1- Alvin Toffler

    This is why if you cannot be special or specialized, you don’t want to count on

    being anchored so you won’t be outsourced. You actually want to become really

    adaptable. You want constantly to acquire new skills, knowledge, and expertise

    that enable you constantly to be able to create value something more than

    vanilla ice cream. You want to learn how to make the latest chocolate sauce, the

    whipped cream, or the cherries on top, or to deliver it as a belly dancer in

    whatever your field of endeavor. As parts of your work become commoditized and

    fungible, or turned into vanilla, adaptable people will always learn how to make

    some other part of the sundae. Being adaptable in a flat world, knowing how to

    “learn how to learn,” will be one of the most important assets any worker can

    have, because job churn will come faster, because innovation will happen faster. 2- Thomas Friedman

We need to engage our students through relevant, timely and meaningful activities.

    We cannot limit them just to the knowledge available to them within AHS, they need

    to explore and interact with the global society of which they are a part.

Our students are immersed in media and technology; they have access to information

    and communications technologies undreamed of even fifteen years ago. At home they

    research on the web, use e-mail, and instant message several of their friends all at

    the same time. When not on the computer (and sometimes even when they are), they’ll

    be talking on their cell phone to one friend while text messaging someone else. Then

    they come to school and they have to dial it down; their classroom doesn’t look, feel

    or sound that much different than it did 20, 30 or even 50 years ago. Yes, there is some

    technology evident, but a time-traveling observer from 1955 would surely recognize

    the basic organization, structure and teaching style evident in today’s classroom.

Not only has technology changed since 1955, but our knowledge of how people learn

    has changed as well. We understand much more about the human brain and how

    learning takes place; however, the results of that research have not impacted the

    classroom all that much.

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    LPS Grant Proposal Arapahoe High School

    A 2000 synthesis of the research states:

1. Students come to the classroom with preconceptions about how the world

    works. If their initial understanding is not engaged, they may fail to grasp

    the new concepts and information that are taught, or they may learn them

    for purposes of a test but revert to their preconceptions outside the

    classroom.

2. To develop competence in an area of inquiry, students must: (a) have a

    deep foundation of factual knowledge, (b) understand facts and ideas in the

    context of a conceptual framework, and (c) organize knowledge in ways

    that facilitate retrieval and application.

3. A “metacognitive” approach to instruction can help students learn to take

    control of their own learning by defining learning goals and monitoring

    their progress in achieving them.

     3- National Research Council

    Key results from constructivist theory and research include:

In a constructivist classroom, the teacher searches for students’

    understandings of concepts, and then structures opportunities for students to

    refine or revise these understandings by posing contradictions, presenting new

    information, asking questions, encouraging research, and/or engaging

    students in inquiries designed to challenge current concepts. 4Brooks & Brooks

Engagement in meaningful work, initiated and mediated by skillful teachers, is

    the only high road to real thinking and learning. 5Brooks & Brooks

Education reform must start with how students learn and how teachers teach,

    not with legislated outcomes. 6Brooks & Brooks

For a good many students, success in school has very little to do with true

    understanding, and much to do with coverage of the curriculum. 7Brooks & Brooks

In the constructivist approach, we look not for what students can repeat, but

    what they can generate, demonstrate, and exhibit. 8Brooks & Brooks

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    LPS Grant Proposal Arapahoe High School

    Coming to know one’s world is a function of caring about one’s world. Caring

    about one’s world is fostered by communities of learners involved in trying to

    answer similar, but not necessarily identical, problems. 9Brooks & Brooks

    A constructivist framework challenges teachers to create environments in

    which they and their students are encouraged to think and explore. 10Brooks & Brooks

    I contend that even when school appears to be successful, even when it elicits

    the performance for which it has apparently been designed, it typically fails to

    achieve its most important missions. Evidence for this startling claim comes

    from a by-now overwhelming body of educational research that has been

    assembled over the last decades. These investigations document that even

    students who have been well-trained and who exhibit all the overt signs of

    success faithful attendance at good schools, high grades and high test scores,

    accolades from their teachers typically do not display an adequate

    understanding of the material and concepts with which they have been working. 11- Howard Gardner

     stIn addition to focusing on brain and learning research, we need to emphasize the 21

    century learning skills that our students will need.

    They need to know how to use their knowledge and skills by thinking

    critically, applying knowledge to new situations, analyzing information,

    comprehending new ideas, communicating, collaborating, solving problems,

    making decisions. st12Learning for the 21 Century

    Today’s technology may be obsolete tomorrow. It is impossible to predict the

    tools that will be essential for learning and working in the years to come. This

    is why it is important for people to acquire the learning skills that will enable

    them to learn to use next-generation technology. st13Learning for the 21 Century

    Students and teachers need tools to accomplish all of the above. Technology is not the

    goal, but rather it is the enabler that allows us to achieve our goals.

    These are just technologies. Using them does not make you modern, smart,

    moral, wise, fair, or decent. It just makes you able to communicate, compete,

    and collaborate farther and faster. 14- Thomas Friedman

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    LPS Grant Proposal Arapahoe High School

    stEvery student, every teacher, every administrator must have access to the 21 century

    technology tools when they need them; they need the training to use them

    appropriately, capably and constructively.

    Project Description

The goal of this project is to improve teacher and student use of technology to achieve

    curricular goals; to help transform our school to a more student-centered, stconstructivist approach; and to prepare our students to succeed in the 21 century. We

    will accomplish this primarily through staff development, placement of computers and

    LCD Projectors in classrooms, maintaining our student file server, updating a

    computer lab, and setting up three “demonstration” classrooms with wireless laptop

    computers.

The heart of our proposal is staff development. We certainly need and are requesting

    as part of this grant proposal additional equipment. But what our teachers need most

    is the time and opportunity necessary to transform their instruction to meet the needs stof our students and utilize the tools of the 21 century. In order to bridge the gap between how students live outside of school and how they learn at school, teachers

    need the time to work together to explore new technologies and techniques; the time to

    discuss and collaborate with each other; the time to transform their lesson plans to a

    more student-centered, constructivist approach.

While we are already attempting to do this in a small fashion, this grant would allow

    us to provide teachers the time and the necessary technology to accomplish these

    goals. The teachers selected for staff development each year would meet formally at

    least once every two to three weeks (depending somewhat on calendar and what else

    was going on at the school - see Addendum A.) As a group, we will focus on students as active participants in their learning; as constructors of knowledge. Together, we

    will explore ways to use technology to enable a more student-centered approach to

    instruction; to create a culture of learning where students take a greater role in

    producing and managing their own learning. This training will be led by the Project

    Director and the Curriculum Innovation Team, with other trainers brought in as

    needed.

In addition to the formal, face-to-face meetings, teachers in each cohort will

    collaborate electronically, using email distribution groups and staff development blogs.

    Teachers will also meet in smaller sub-groups to explore certain topics more in-depth,

    and then share that information with the entire group. Teachers will attend conferences

    and workshops and share their learning with the rest of the cohort. This grant would

    help provide the money necessary to fund the release time for teachers and expenses

    associated with conferences and workshops.

While staff development is the heart of this proposal, we do indeed have equipment

    needs. In order to use technology as the “enabler” for this approach to instruction, we

    need each teacher to have access to the appropriate technology and resources in their

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    LPS Grant Proposal Arapahoe High School

    classroom. We need to provide each teacher with a computer and mounted LCD

    Projector in each classroom so that they can use the tools that technology provides to

    focus on student needs. They need to have access not only to specific pieces of

    software that are useful in their curriculum, but to the vast resources that the Internet

    offers to them and their students. They need to be able to practice “just in time”, “anytime, anywhere” teaching – accessing information when all of those “teachable

    moments” occur. They need to be able to foster a collaborative environment among

    students sharing not only with other students in the classroom, but with other

    classrooms around the world. Students need not only to be able to present information

    to their classmates, but to share their work with the much wider and often more

    authentic audience that the Internet provides. We need to move from an isolated to a

    connected classroom.

    The best companies are the best collaborators. In the flat world, more and

    more business will be done through collaborations within and between

    companies, for a very simple reason: The next layers of value creation

    whether in technology, marketing, biomedicine, or manufacturing are

    becoming so complex that no single firm or department is going to be able to

    master them alone. 15- Thomas Friedman

None of this can happen if technology is an “add-on,” if they have to schedule a

    computer lab visit to access these resources (although computer labs have their uses

    which we’ll discuss below). They need full-time access to these resources in their classrooms, with the ability to share with the entire class that an LCD Projector

    supplies.

While a computer and LCD Projector in the classroom is absolutely necessary, we also

    need places where entire classes can work individually or in small groups using

    technology. We do not have the resources yet to provide each student with their own

    computer. We do have two computer labs that teachers can sign up for to bring their

    classes to use (in addition to computers in our media center that students can drop in to

    use on their unscheduled time). After saving for four years, we were able to replace

    one of those two computer labs last year, but the other lab is seven years old and needs

    to be updated for effective use by students. In addition, we replaced our student file

    server last year. The student file server provides each student a secure logon and space

    to store their documents. It also provides a “Classes” location where teachers can

    make documents and lessons available to their classes, shared folders for student

    group work can be created, and drop boxes for turning in electronic assignments can

    be used. This server needs to be replaced every five years, so we’ve budgeted an

    annual replacement cost for this as well.

We will also implement three classrooms of laptop computers with wireless

    connectivity to the network and the Internet. These computers will equip three

    “demonstration” classrooms where students and teachers will truly have all the tools stnecessary for a 21 century education. While the laptops will be on carts and will

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    sometimes be used elsewhere in the building, the intent is that they will usually remain in these three classrooms so that the teachers can truly integrate technology into instruction with all their classes. These will be “model” classrooms where teachers can stdemonstrate the most effective use of 21 century technologies for the rest of the

    faculty.

    Needs Assessment

    Arapahoe teachers are highly regarded and very good at what they do. Unfortunately, we have been unable to provide an adequate level of technology funding at the building level, resulting in shortages of equipment and the equipment we have becoming older and requiring service more often. While we have finally managed to get a computer on each teacher’s desk, it is on their desk in their department office, not in their classroom (and some of them are very old and in constant need of attention).

In addition and partially because of the lack of equipment technology staff

    development has been sporadic and uneven. While we have tried to provide technology staff development within the building, we are limited by both time and resources. We have very limited in-service time, and this is usually taken up with tasks unrelated to technology staff development. We have been successful with a few (8-10) outstanding teachers who are doing a nice job of integrating technology into instruction. These teachers have typically had strong computer skills to begin with and have been willing to pursue additional training (both through the school and independently) to learn more. We have been able to place a computer and mounted LCD Projector in many of these teachers’ rooms and that has made a significant difference in their ability to integrate technology into instruction.

    But we have 44 classrooms that do not have computers and mounted LCD Projectors in them, used by approximately 80 different teachers. We have four computers and LCD Projectors on carts that are available to be signed out and moved to various rooms throughout the day, but competition for those carts is fierce. In addition, it is very difficult for teachers to move the carts through our crowded hallways to different classrooms throughout the day (most of our teachers travel to multiple rooms each day), check all the connections on the carts and then connect the computer to the network and electricity in each room, then boot up the computer and be ready to start class. When this is combined with not always being able to reserve the carts for every class that they might need it for, teachers are very cautious about rewriting their lesson plans to integrate technology in a meaningful way. Without a “guarantee” of access to

    the technology in each of their rooms, these 80 teachers are hesitant to commit to technology integration.

    We also have a tremendous need for release time for teachers to work on changing the very nature of the way they teach, using technology as the enabler to attain a more constructivist, student-centered approach. Teachers also need to attend conferences

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    and workshops to expand their knowledge base and experience new technologies and

    teaching techniques.

Our current needs are:

    1. Robust and ongoing staff development for teachers to help them effectively use

    technology to enhance instruction and meet the needs of our students. This

    grant will provide the funding for release time, conferences and workshops -

    and the impetus to transform the way we teach.

    2. Computers and mounted LCD Projectors in every classroom at Arapahoe so

    teachers can integrate technology into their curriculum knowing they will have

    access to the technology in all of their classrooms, and students will be able to

    produce and present information of their own. When this is combined with the

    staff development in the goal above, we will be able to make a significant

    improvement in how technology is integrated into instruction. This grant will

    provide the funding for those computers and projectors.

    3. Updated computer labs and student file server. When combined with the two

    goals above, this will make a significant improvement in the education of all of

    our students and prepare them well for life after Arapahoe. This grant provides

    funding to replace an aging computer lab.

    4. Three classroom sets of laptop computers with wireless capabilities, as well as

    the wireless access points and laptop storage/charging carts. These will be used

    in the “demonstration” classrooms to show the full integration of technology stinto 21 century instruction. When combined with the three goals above, this stwill transform AHS into a true 21 century school.

     Goals

1. To create a 7-member Curriculum Innovation Team who will make decisions

    regarding the spending of this grant money and who will be responsible for

    overseeing the staff development. This team will include the Director of

    Technology, the Media Specialist, the Instructional Coach, and teachers from

    Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies.

2. To provide staff development for between 48 and 63 teachers on the latest in

    learning and brain research, to help them integrate the use of technology into

    instruction, and to transform their teaching to a more student-centered,

    constructivist approach.

3. To encourage technology integration and innovation through a collaborative

    process of sharing ideas and techniques for technology integration.

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    4. To create an expectation that technology is an indispensable tool for helping

    educate students in the twenty-first century.

5. To provide robust technology equipment for use by teachers and students.

6. To create a school where students are not only consumers of information, but

    producers as well. A school where students are empowered to construct their

    education. Where they become expert managers of information. Where they build

    relationships not only within the classroom and the school, but around the world.

    Activities

During the first year, we will place a computer and a mounted LCD Projector in 16

    classrooms. Because most of our teachers travel to multiple classrooms, this will

    impact many more than 16 teachers. We will provide staff development (see

    Addendum B) this first year for 18 of the teachers in those rooms. Teachers will use release time to meet formally every two to three weeks, and will meet more often as

    smaller sub-groups. Teacher will also attend conferences and workshops and share

    that knowledge with the rest of the cohort.

During the second year, we will place a computer and mounted LCD Projector in an

    additional 28 classrooms. At this point we will have a computer and LCD Projector in

    all of our regular classroom spaces (the LCD Projectors we currently have on carts

    will be available to be used in classrooms where mounting a projector is impractical

    gymnasiums, Choir Room, etc.). The original 18 teachers will continue to receive

    training. A second cohort of 30-45 teachers will receive the “first year” training, as

    well as share in the results of the first year cohort’s work (see Addendum C). The first

    year cohort will help design the revised training for the new cohort. We will refresh

    the computers in an aging computer lab that teachers can bring their classes in to use.

    We will also implement three classrooms of laptops with wireless capabilities as

    “demonstration” classrooms.

During the third year all 48-63 teachers will continue to explore the uses of technology

    to foster a student-centered approach. They will also be expected to share their results

    with the teachers in our building who have not participated, as well as with their

    colleagues throughout the district. These teachers represent approximately 50% of the

    classroom teachers at Arapahoe. When you take into account the expected turnover

    due to retirements and other reasons, this represents over 70% of the classroom

    teachers at Arapahoe. We feel that with over 70% of our continuing classroom

    teachers going through formal training, we will reach a “critical mass” necessary for

    systemic change.

By the end of the grant, Arapahoe will have the knowledge, the equipment, and the

    “critical mass” to transform from a good school to a great school. We will continue to

    expand on our use of technology to foster a student-centered, constructivist approach

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    stto education that will give our students the skills they need to succeed in the 21

    century.

    What It Will Look Like For Students

    Julia, 9th Grader, Personal Learning Blog Mrs. Smith's English 9 Class

October 15: We started discussing Lord of the Flies today. In my previous English

    classes, the teacher would've led a class discussion and that would've been okay, but

    the usual kids would've talked and the rest of us would've listened. Lord of the Flies

    was a really hard book for me, so I'm not sure the class discussion would've really

    helped me. But what Mrs. Smith did was perfect. She started by showing us a short

    video clip from the web of the German bombing of England, and then another one of

    the allied landing on the beaches of Normandy. Then she showed us about 4 minutes

    of Saving Private Ryan; that was really powerful. I think I better understood what war was like from the real video footage. My grandfather was part of that and he says

    that Saving Private Ryan is dead on (no pun intended). As soon as the clips finished, Mrs. Smith talked about how William Golding had experienced war first hand and

    how that influenced his writing. Then, instead of leading a class discussion, she

    immediately had us blog our thoughts about what we had just watched. For 10 minutes

    everyone wrote - and I mean everyone; nobody was just sitting around waiting. Then

    Mrs. Smith brought up the class blog and we focused on two or three of the entries -

    and mine was one of them! The discussion we had after that was wonderful. It was

    really cool to see how different my response was from my friends. I had always

    imagined that we felt the same way about war, but to see how everyone had a unique

    thought about what they had just witnessed made the discussion entertaining. It

    seemed that everybody in the class wanted to say something about what was written

    and the connections he/she made to the novel. We even started making comparison to

    other books we had read. Towards the end of class, Mrs. Smith accessed a website that

    brought up another class blog. This class was from England and they were reading

    Lord of the Flies as well. It never occurred to me that kids from other countries could

    be reading the same books as me. We had the opportunity to scroll through their blog

    and see what reactions and connections they made to the book. For our homework, we

    were to react to one of their postings and invite them to read ours as well. I hope I get

    a reaction to one of mine. Today rocked!

    Janet, 12th Grader, Personal Learning Blog Mrs. Stahlhut's Calculus Class

October 23: Today we talked about instantaneous rate again. I've really been

    struggling with what this really means. I mean Mrs. Stahlhut has explained it about a

    million different ways, but it still didn't make much sense to me. But today we did an

    activity with Geometer's Sketchpad that really made it click! Mrs. Stahlhut said we were going to use the inductive approach again (observe a pattern, make a conjecture,

    then test it). We used Sketchpad to watch how instantaneous rate changes dynamically

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    on the computer screen as we change the variables. When I saw how it changed based

    on what I changed, it finally all made sense.

     thRyan, 10 Grader, Personal Learning Blog Mrs. Stahlhut’s Single Gender Geometry Class

November 2: Being in a class with only guys isn’t so bad. Mrs. Stahlhut has been

    teaching us some reading strategies, which seems kind of strange in a math class. We

    read a few pages from Real Boys’ Voices by William Pollack and used a double-entry diary. Mrs. Stahlhut said she wanted us to write our reactions on our class blog, and

    we have to post on it by next Friday. I hear the girls are doing the same but they read

    Reviving Ophelia.

     thCameron, 9 Grader, Personal Learning Blog Mrs. Stahlhut’s Algebra Class

January 23: I can’t believe my team won! We played Jeopardy in class today and my

    row actually won. We were really reviewing for our Algebra test but Mrs. Stahlhut

    used the computer projector like a TV screen and all the jeopardy questions were math

    questions. It got a little competitive, but it was fun!

     thSusan, 10 Grader, Class Blog

    Mrs. Stahlhut’s Geometry Class

December 7: We have looked at lots of patterns this semester but this was the coolest

    yet. I knew the sum of the angle measures in a triangle is 180, but I just discovered

    how to find the sum of all the angle measures in any polygon. My group used The

    Geometer’s Sketchpad to look at a bunch of different figures and we put the

    information in a table. Then we made a guess about how to find the sum of the angle

    measures of a decagon. It’s easy; you take 10-2 and then multiply 180! We then tried a bunch more different polygons and figured out a formula: (number sides 2) x 180.

    This is much better than being told the rule and then practicing it 20 times for

    homework - I like using the computer to explore ideas.

    Matt, 11th Grader, Personal Learning Blog Mr. Meyer's Advanced Placement Government Class

September 12: I'm glad Mr. Meyer understands my schedule. He expects us to be up-

    to-date on current events for this class, but I don't have time to watch the news or read

    the paper. But I have been able to access the articles he is referring to so I don't feel

    lost during class. And I don’t know what I did before RSS – it’s amazing, tons of

    relevant information is coming into my aggregator all the time.

...We were arguing in class whether Hobbes or Locke had a better understanding of

    human nature. I watched the discussion as I don't seem to understand as much as some

    of my peers. But when we went to the class blog, I felt more comfortable entering the

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