Northeast 1506934658

Newark Public Schools

The district believes that academic choice is of the utmost importance so it offers a variety of schools, programs, courses and learning experiences to students.

State: New Jersey Number of Students: 35,835
School Type: Public School District Free and Reduced Lunch: 79.4%
Grade Level: PK-12 English Language Learners: 11.8%

School Context

Family Matters: The Newark Public Schools highly values family and community involvement so the district is workinghard to make sure families feel welcome in schools and is encouraging family participation. 

An Abundance of Choices: The district believes that academic choice is of the utmost importance so it offers a variety ofschools, programs, courses and learning experiences to students.

Starting Young: NPS is working hard to provide a strong early childhood education for the district’s youngest learners. Thisincludes Pre-K programs as well as early intervention programs.

Inclusive Education: The district’s goal for special education programs is to provide learning environments that are asinclusive as possible so that students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) can learn with general education studentswhenever possible.

Alternative Learning Opportunities: Students are provided with alternative learning opportunities including a Twilightprogram so students can learn later in the day and a Gateway program for students transitioning back into school frompenal programs.

Beefing Up Technology: A major focus for NPS is to increase access to instructional technology tools in the classroom,primarily to reach more student learning styles and to provide individualized learning opportunities.


State of Technology

Intentional Integration to Content Areas: The technology team atNewark Public Schools works very closely with the curriculum office toensure that tools are being used to support teaching and learning intransformative ways. This means that technology does not live inside acomputer classroom, but rather that it is used by teachers of all contentareas. A major focus is on helping teachers check for understanding,especially in literacy and math.

Reading & Writing: To help struggling readers, NPS teachers useRead&Write for Google Chrome specifically its text-to-speech functionand embedded picture dictionary. Struggling readers in the districtalso have free access to Learning Ally, which has audio versions of thebooks used in the ELA curriculum that students can access on tablets.Additionally, Newsela is used to provide text at multiple Lexile levels.

Math: The NPS tech team realizes that math is a challenging space fortechnology to be used in a meaningful way and therefore has focusedon using tools that help students to express their thinking. Studentsand teachers use Google Docs with g(Math) to create graphs and toshare work through handwriting and voice entry. Math teachers alsouse SMART amp as a digital white board that every student can accessat the same time. These tools enhance group work, commenting anddiscussions while making it easy to see student work, particularlyhandwritten work.

Digital Learning Institute for Professional Learning: The DigitalLearning Institute (DLI) is a series of eight workshops that focus on usingtechnology in various content areas. All workshops try to relate to theexisting structure of the teaching framework so that the technologycomplements what teachers are already doing in the classroom. Theworkshops include a review of goals in a large group as well as break-outsessions that are focused on specific grade bands and experience levels.Instructional Technology Leads attend the workshops and turn-key overwhat they have learned to the staff at their school.

Computer Science Plans: NPS has developed a series of year-longcomputer science learning plans for grades K-8. The district has alsoidentified five schools to pilot these plans and is providing support forcomputer science programs at these sites with a special focus on codingand robotics. For example, Newark’s North Star Academy Middle Schoolpartnered with Newark Kids Code offering a ten-week free course oncoding, and students at Dr. William H. Horton Elementary School gotto test drive Google’s Expedition App, taking a virtual field trip to theGalapagos Islands. Next year the district plans to expand this to as manyK-8 schools as are interested. Staff from all schools in the district areoffered PD opportunities in CS, coding and robotics courses.


Tech Needs & Requirements

The district strongly prefers single sign on tools that allowstudent roster data to sync with the SIS database, so thatstudent information is consistent across platforms withoutmanual data entry.

NPS uses the e*Supplier portal to offer vendors deeperparticipation in the procurement process for schools suchas submitting inquiries, registering for RFPs and setting upemail alerts.

Most purchasing must go through the NPS electronicbidding system, the PeopleSoft e*Procurement System.

Purchases costing under $5,999 require one quote.

More devices to meet the needs of the program.


Initiatives

Leading the Way: A new NPS initiative has chosen 7 schools, referred to as “Lighthouse Schools,” as pilot sites for usingtechnology to support instruction and school operations. The initiative began in Summer 2015 as a way to develop modelsfor what digital learning environments look like in action, with a goal of eventually facilitating inter-school visits. The district’sinstructional technology team visits each of the 7 schools two to three times monthly, working directly with each of theschool leadership teams to establish goals and to find ways in which technology can accelerate and strengthen teachingand learning. Two schools that are now Lighthouse Schools, Quitman Street Community School and the Chancellor AvenueSchool, were recognized nationally prior to the initiative for their blended learning models.

Chromebooks Come to NPS: During the 2014-2015 school year, Newark Public Schools had between four and fivehundred mobile devices. By March 2015, the district had purchased 8,000 chromebooks for PARCC testing and currentlyNPS has over 11,000 chromebooks. In 2014-2015, devices were primarily used for testing, which accelerated adoption.Now during the 2015-2016 school year the district is working hard to support teachers in using these mobile devices inmeaningful ways.

Connecting Teachers: The district has a goal to create a better way for teachers to communicate asynchronously so thatteachers implementing technology in powerful ways can share their work.

*Content From 2016

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