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NEWLY RENOVATED E-LAB OPENS
Tech Dept.

Ask any group of parents with school aged children to compare their own school experience to that of their children, and there’s no doubt you will quickly hear stories about life before cell phones and the Internet. You’ll surely hear about encyclopedias. But what you probably won’t hear from those parents is that their classrooms actually looked different from those that their kids still sit in today, a generation later. Desks in rows, teacher at the front, door closed to the rest of the school - this is the way classrooms have looked for as long as any of us can remember.

 But that model, which stemmed from how factories were set up, is not necessarily in line with how our students learn today, or what will be expected of them as they pursue careers in the future. As Superintendent Victoria Kniewel explains, “We don’t know for which careers or which educational pathways beyond high school we educate our Edgemont students. We don’t know what their post-high school education will look like, nor where or how they will work to earn a living. What we do know is, if our students are capable communicators, collaborators, critical and creative thinkers, they will be well positioned for almost any future.”

The Edgemont School Foundation, in its unwavering commitment to working with our district to enrich and ensure the value of an Edgemont education through collaboration with teachers and administrators, agreed that redesigned, renovated learning spaces at EHS were one of the next essential steps in moving forward within the framework of our strategic goals. The ESF engaged Fielding Nair International, an architectural firm focused on innovative education design, and began the design process last year by meeting with students, teachers and administrators to discuss how spaces around the school could be upgraded to reflect and support an evolving model of teaching and learning.

On the EHS campus, the result is the E-Lab. Located in the E-building, the new collaborative space is being used by students and teachers at Edgemont Jr./Sr. High School. This is in addition to some collaborative spaces funded by the PTA in both elementary schools. The new spaces are not enough in and of themselves to transform instruction and learning. ESF and the school district have funded professional development opportunities led by Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacobs on the opening day of school and continuing with Dr. Jacobs and Jill Ackers-Clayton from the Fielding Nair International Learning Design Services team. The E-Lab features increased instructional space, flexible seating, a training center for teachers, a full set of Chromebooks, and interactive Promethean flat panel TVs.

The E-Lab’s true impact will come as this initial excitement translates into meaningful student engagement. Engagement through authentic learning and teacher development are at the heart of the Focus Forward/Strategic Goals created by the Edgemont community. The E-Lab is a wonderful addition to the Edgemont High School campus, and our teachers and students are ready to put it to use in meaningful, creative ways. As Jay Litman, a partner at Fielding Nair and an architect of the new innovative learning space at the high school, explains, “This is not redecorating. This is meaningful, purposeful architectural redesign in consonance with educational research and with student-learning as its focus.”

 

Chromebook Rollout
Tech Dept.

On October 24th, after much anticipation, Edgemont officially began its one-to-one Chromebook program in grades 5 and 7. Throughout that week, our students excitedly picked up their assigned Chromebooks in their homerooms at the elementary schools and in the library at EHS. Over the past year, a committee comprised of fifth and seventh grade teachers, administrators, and parents worked together to develop a one-to-one program which ensures all teachers and students are prepared for the individualized Chromebook learning environment. The one-to-one program is an integral component in actualizing the district’s strategic goal to “provide infrastructure, equitable access, professional learning and technical support for the integration of technology to promote creativity, collaboration, communication and critical thinking.” This has been a priority item in the Technology Action Plan.

In the first week of the Chromebook roll-out, all of our fifth and seventh grade students — already proficient Chromebook users — spent some class time reviewing the functionality of the Chromebooks and Google Apps basics. In the weeks leading up to the one-to-one kick-off, our fifth and seventh grade teachers devoted an entire day to furthering their proficiencies with the Chromebooks and Google Apps and adapting their curriculum to best utilize the 1:1 technology. Students, parents, and teachers are all excited about this move towards individualized technology. Seventh grader Justin Alexander thinks the Chromebook program is helpful in many ways. “It is just so much easier for students and teachers to consistently share their work with each other. And projects can be worked on together even if everyone is not in the same place.” Alexander sees the potential for more practical benefits as well. “Our backpacks are pretty heavy. Eventually, I think the Chromebook can replace many of the binders we’re all carrying around.” The deployment of more than 350 Chromebooks in fifth and seventh grades also freed up devices previously dedicated to those grades for the rest of the students to use. The goal, as per the Technology Action Plan, is to continue the one-to-one program next year in sixth and eighth grades, thereby ensuring that all students in grades 5-8 will be part of the one-to-one program by this time next year.

CURRICULUM CLOSE-UP: FORENSICS SCIENCE
Tech Dept.

Professor Plum...In The Office...with the Hole Puncher?! Recently, Edgemont High School’s Forensic Science class had a murder to investigate. Eleventh and twelfth graders participating in this one semester elective were told that Superintendent Victoria Kniewel had been found dead in her office, and it was up to them to study the crime scene and figure out who did it.

The morning of the “murder” - which students were aware was completely pretend- Denise Goodliffe, the teacher of the class, and the District Office staff staged the crime scene. A dummy was strategically placed in the District Office with Dr. Kniewel’s identification badge around its neck. A half-eaten apple, a lipstick-rimmed coffee cup with a mysterious blue liquid in it, a “bloody” hole-puncher, an angry email, and a dead bee were some of the other items found at the crime scene.

Working in small groups, each student took on an important role in the investigation. Some students conducted interviews with District Office staff and administrators. Others were sketch artists, mapping out key measurements and timing possibilities related to the crime. Photographers catalogued the evidence. Each group was responsible for preparing a slide show to present their findings. Said senior Ryan Turell, one of the students in the class, “Everyone took the project seriously, which made it more fun, and the details of the crime scene were extremely impressive. We learned to look beyond the obvious.”

Students were able to contribute to their group’s investigation in a variety of ways and Ms. Goodliffe was thrilled at how the project allowed individual students to thrive within the group. Twelfth grader Scout Stratford, a talented artist, provided her group with several sketches of the crime scene. “As more evidence was uncovered and puzzle pieces were put together, it became clear that solving a crime wasn’t as clear cut as TV makes it,” said Scout. “We found multiple answers within the realm of possibility. The crime scene project is definitely up in the top ten projects for me.”

The staff involved in the project also felt strongly about its importance. “The collaboration among the students, and the way they worked together to solve a problem with no clear-cut answer - it really brought out the best in each student,” said Ms. Goodliffe. Though of course everyone involved is happy to report Dr. Kniewel is alive and well, her staged murder was clearly a memorable, worthwhile lesson.

 

Edgemont's New Website
Tech Dept

Welcome to the new Edgemont School District website.  We have a new look as well as an easier site to navigate.  The new website was built from the ground up with input from parents, teachers, staff and students over the past six months.  In addition to a new look and feel, the new website will feature:
        -Mobile compatible displays
        -Universal Staff/Teacher Directory
        -Easy-to-read Calendars and Upcoming Events
        -Brand new Grade Level & Department Websites
        -Increased accessibility to Parent/Guardian features such as The Parent Portal
        -Streamlined online resources for Students & Staff
        -Up-to-date News & Events
        -Easy to access Edgemont Social Media Sites
          ...and more!

Edgemont Wins "Best Communities in Music Education" Award
Tech Dept

The Edgemont school district has received a 2017 Best Communities for Music Education Award, presented by NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants). NAMM surveys schools and districts nationally in order to recognize outstanding efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, students and community leaders who have made music education part of the curriculum. Designations are made to districts and schools that demonstrate an exceptionally high commitment and access to music education. Congratulations to everyone involved in making our music program so successful - teachers, students, parents, administrators and Board of Education!