Elizabeth Forward School District fosters high-tech culture
When classes begin on Thursday in Elizabeth Forward School District, students will have eBackpack apps to go along with their Apple iPads.
As developed by eBackpack Inc. of Rockwall, Texas, this Internet application is described as a way to assign, share, collect, collaborate and review assignments using the iPads.
It is the second year of what the district calls a learning initiative, in which every student from grade 3 through senior high gets an Apple iPad while those in kindergarten and grades 1 and 2 get iPad minis.
“They are doing some amazing, amazing things,” said David Diokno, an Apple educational development executive who came to Elizabeth Forward earlier this year to recognize the district as an Apple Distinguished Program, an honor it will hold at least through 2015.
The district continues to be a part of Digital Promise's League of Innovative Schools.
The district projected an enrollment of 2,305 when it released its back-to-school plans, but at last week's school board meeting Superintendent Bart Rocco said the district may have 2,377 students when it sends a required census to state officials in October.
The curriculum those students are learning is being reviewed and revised by district staff in preparation for a full implementation of Pennsylvania Core Standards in 2015-16.
As described by the state Department of Education, Pennsylvania Core Standards combine the state's original educational standards with the Common Core concept started by the nation's governors and top school administrators.
To help elementary school students learn those standards, they will experience a new eSpark software program beginning this fall.
The aim of Chicago-based eSpark is to provide personalized learning pathways for students according to individual skill deficiencies and needs.
This is the second year for what the district calls a “school-wide positive behavior support program” and the fourth year of district involvement in the Olweus anti-bullying program aimed at elementary students.
The district's emphasis on high technology continues to go far beyond iPads. In January a “maker lab” called Dream Factory, where students learn about robotics, engineering, design and programming, became a reality at the middle school.
“It is changing culture and the way we do business here, engaging kids especially with creativity,” middle school principal Trisha Maddas said.
That concept is being carried over to a new fabrication lab at the high school. In a space partially funded by a grant from the Allegheny Intermediate Unit and the Grable Foundation, students will be able to build or manufacture items using 3-D printers, laser cutters, vinyl cutters and computer-controlled cutting machines known as CNC routers.
The Grable and Benedum foundations and the Sprout Fund were among those who helped the district build its middle school Dream Factory.
Elsewhere in the new year, at the cafeteria breakfast is $1.25, and lunch is $2 for elementary school students and $2.25 for those in the middle and high schools.
Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Ex-S. Allegheny teacher held on sex assault counts
- East Allegheny teachers union rejects arbitration award
- Propel sixth-graders chronicle McKeesport history for younger peers
- McKeesport Area directors OK tax hike in preliminary budget
- Elizabeth police join DUI task force
- McKeesport Area poised to close East End Academy
- Students benefit from annual Brewster-sponsored government seminar
- Pittsburgh bicyclist pedaling for pets
- Elizabeth Forward board approves no-hike budget
- E. Allegheny teachers silent about finding
- Officials envision reinvigorated Allegheny County Airport