Northeast 1506958088

Newington Public School District

Providing a 21st century learning experience is key to the district, so it is investing to improve both infrastructure and learning spaces.

State: Connecticut Number of Students: 4,060
School Type: Public School District Free and Reduced Lunch: 22.8%
Grade Level: PK-12 English Language Learners: 4.3%

School Context

Student Growth: The district is focused on student growth and ensuring that students are ready for college, career andcitizenship by graduation.

Strong Staff: Newington places emphasis on creating a community of highly effective staff members.

Culture Counts: Newington Public Schools believes that a safe and supportive school culture and community is critical forstudent success, so it is focused on ensuring that all school communities are strong and responsive to student needs.

Focused on the Future: Providing a 21st century learning experience is key to the district, so it is investing to improveboth infrastructure and learning spaces.

Expanding the Learning Community: The district aims to include family and community members to support learningwithin the schools.


State of Technology

Expansion of Devices: The 1:1 Device Program at Newington PublicSchools was designed to provide learners with access to digital resourcesinside and outside of school, to offer individualized learning opportunitiesfor students, and to increase student responsibility and problem solvingskills. The district began exploring device options about five years ago,piloting laptops, iPads and Chromebooks to make a sound decisionabout what would be best for their students. Currently, the district’sinitiative provides K-2 students with iPad carts in the classroom at closeto a 1:1 ratio, and gives each student in grades 3-8 a Chromebook forclassroom and home use. Newington has plans to dispatch another 1,400Chromebooks to high school students in the fall of 2016. The educationaltechnology team in the district takes professional learning very seriouslyand works hard to support teachers in implementing technology in theclassroom.

A Push for Google Certification: Three years ago, a core group of 12teachers were chosen to become certified as Google Educators and weresent to a Google Summit shortly thereafter. Since then, the district hasbeen encouraging teachers to become certified, offering reimbursementfor the certification and for attending a Google Summit. So far, 70 teachersin the district have already become certified and three staff members inthe district are Google Trainers.

Kid Techsperts: Newington Public Schools started a “Techspert” program,where students get extra courses in technology. This program is in its first yearand students were handpicked, however the vision for the program is to havean application process. Most elementary schools in the district already have theTechspert program in place for third and fourth graders. The program is justlaunching at the middle school level and the vision is for it to be like a GeniusBar at school.

Hour of Code: NPS students took part in the Hour of Code during ComputerScience Education Week in December 2015. During the event, students usedself-guided tutorials through Code.org to build coding skills. The hour lookeddifferent at each level. Elementary schools offered students an hour of codeduring their technology classes, while both middle schools stopped their schoolday so that the whole community could engage in an hour of coding on theirChromebooks. At the high school level, the techsperts and students at the ITand Digital Innovation Academy created a media center in the library, setting itup like a playground with coding activities that other students could visit. It wassimilar to a technology fair with activities like building robots, exploring cubeletsand repairing computers. Since the hour of code, there have been requests for acoding club at the elementary school level.


Tech Needs & Requirements

NPS is currently considering which devices to use with grades K-2 since the iPads are nearing the end of life. The technology team is exploring the future of projection, thinking about how the classroom needs to change now that thedistrict has a 1:1 device to student ratio. The district is piloting Smart TVs as an alternative to projectors.


Initiatives

A New Learning Management System: Newington is piloting Schoology as their LMS and is looking to digitize all of theircurriculum.

Specialty Academies: The district has two specialized academy programs for middle schoolers with brand new learningspaces. The Academy of Biomedical Sciences opened its doors to 7th graders from both middle schools in August 2014.The academy engages students in learning about the human body, diseases and more, in the form of an extended dayprogram. The admission process involves an application and lottery. The Academy of Aerospace and Engineering islocated at John Wallace Middle School and it launched its first group of 7th grades in fall of 2015. It offers opportunities tolearn about various aerospace professions including pilot, astronaut and engineer. The academy is run by Bryan Holmes, ascience teacher, retired US Air Force pilot and space officer. At the high school level, there are three specialized academies: The Culinary and Hospitality Academy, TheInformation Technology & Digital Innovation Academy, and The Finance and Business Academy. Students must applyand be accepted to each academy. They will still have a normal school day but will have additional learning opportunitiesincluding specialized electives, internships, job shadowing and listening to guest speakers. The Informational Technologyand Digital Innovation Academy appeals to a wide variety of learners and has different tracks and courses like programming,web development, graphic design, game and App development. Enrollment in many of these courses is bursting at theseams.

*Content From 2016

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