The John Jordan Foundation has made a major donation in emerging learning technologies for our local public schools' youngest learners. The Foundation has donated $40,000 to the Healdsburg Education Foundation in support of the Healdsburg Elementary School Kinder-2nd Grade iPad Pilot Project. "This pilot program is a step in a new direction of partnering with schools to allow children to learn in different ways and stimulate their minds to achieve success for their future. We hope this pilot will lead to a program that can be shared and duplicated throughout the state," said Lisa Wittke Schaffner, President of the Foundation.
"These programs are crucial, " Healdsburg Elementary School Principal, Stephanie Feith said. "We really have to prepare our students for a future that none of us are sure looks like. Capitalizing on our students' inherent excitement and facility with technology, integrating it into daily use and taking the classroom beyond the four walls is key for our students to be successful as our society evolves. We are teaching 80% of all elementary school students in Healdsburg. By providing strategic, developmental technology for our youngest learners we will not only accelerate all learning, including English language acquisition, but will also enable us to confidently say that we are preparing students for the future.
"Part of the pilot that is so exciting is that it will also help address the digital divide that exists in our community. Not all of our children have access to technology, so it helps level the playing field as our students will have access to the best practices of how to employ this technology and be able to use it on a daily basis", said Feith.
The iPad Pilot Project will involve a set of 26 tablets available for student use. Students will use the iPads in the classroom to utilize the best of what technology has to offer for learning specific to each grade and subject area including:
- Develop a strong foundation in language and literacy through applications that tailor lessons to each child's specific learning level
- Build math skills through engaging lessons and problem solving; and
- Collaborate on projects with other students in class and across the globe.
The iPad tablet is the preferred technology for young learners because of its ease of operation, touch-pad screen and the rapidly expanding array of software designed for the young learner.
This proposal includes a unique opportunity to collaborate with the Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE) to leverage resources in Healdsburg to impact schools throughout Northern California. Healdsburg Unified School District will become a "demonstration site" for other school districts within Region 1 of the California Technology Assistance Program (CTAP) which spans from Marin County to the Oregon border. As a demonstration site, Healdsburg teachers will develop the latest strategies using the new technology and will open their doors to educators interested in technology integration for elementary students.
If the pilot project is deemed successful by the metrics established by SCOE, we will develop a plan to expand the program to ensure adequate access to iPads are available to our teachers and students to fully implement the program to all 340 HES Kinder-2nd graders.