Greenville receives grant to better student education through technology

Posted by Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 12:22 pm on Monday, August 05 2013

This week, 12 selected educators from the Greenville Middle School participated in Verizon’s 2013 Innovative Learning Schools program, which supplied the school with a $50,000 grant to provide funding for the program through workshops that demonstrated how educators can provide better education through technology. Lead Instructional Consultant Susan Brooks-Young (pictured here) and Instructional Consultant AJ Juliani explain how to be a “digital society.” — Daily News/Kelli Ameling


GREENVILLE— Greenville Public Schools was one of 12 schools in the nations to be selected for the 2013 Innovative Learning Schools program through Verizon.

Greenville was also the only school in Michigan to receive the grant.

The school received a $50,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation to provide funding for the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools in 2013-2015 through workshops, which will allow educators to better the education of students.

A group of 12 educators from Greenville Middle School took part in a three-day face-to-face training workshop through the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).

The workshop provides teachers with resources to help them learn how to apply technology to the curriculum. According to Assistant Superintendent Diane Brissette, the training gives educators an avenue to gain knowledge of applications and tools available to improve the achievement in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects.

Twelve educators from Greenville Middle School took time out of their summer to learn about tools and advancements in technology that could be used in the classroom. Picture are middle school teachers Jamie Kuzma, front, and Kimberly Madsen. — Daily News/Kelli Ameling

“It’s and enhancement to our Mobile One-to-One program,” Brissette said.

According to Verizon Wireless Public Relations Manager Michelle Gilbert, schools had to apply for the grant and to be a part of the Innovative Learnings Schools for the years 2013-2015.

The schools then had to meet the certain criteria such as the ratio of the number of devices to students and an overall school profile.

“We have had a strong relationship with Greenville Public Schools,” Gilbert said of working with the school in the past. “So, this was extra meaningful for (Greenville) to be selected.”

During the training sessions, ISTE Instructional Consultant AJ Juliani and Lead Instructional Consultant Susan Brooks-Young explained to the Greenville educators how to be a “digital society” by showing them tools and resources that would fit into the curriculum to better educate the students.

“It’s amazing the teachers gave up part of their summer break to come in here to help make the students’s experience better,” said David Harns, government account manager for Verizon Wireless.

Greenville Middle School Principal Leigh Acker agreed, stating she couldn’t wait for the school year to arrive.

“(Teachers) are excited to use it with the kids and experiment to learn more, too,” Acker said.

The program will followup with monthly webinars to go over what the teachers need to work on and any questions they might have. A tech coach, sixth grade science teacher Kris Pelletier, has also been selected from the school to provide help and communication throughout the next two years.

Pelletier said the teachers are really excited about the training and look forward to seeing what they can do.

“It’s going good,” she said of the training. “Teachers are open to it and are excited. We are getting a lot of hands-on and play time.”

Pelletier said one of the best parts of the training is being able to learn of ways to have the technology fit better in the curriculum.

“I just wanted to thank the administration, Verizon and ISTE,” Pelletier said. “I look forward to working with the staff.”

Brissette said this school year will be the first year all middle school students will have devices, which she hopes will spread to other schools in the future.

“These are not toys, but tools to help make the students successful beyond high school,” Brissette said. “I am proud of our teachers for leaping out of their comfort zones.”

Gilbert said this is the second year for Verizon Innovated Learning Schools and the second year a Michigan School has been part of the program – noting last year a charter school near Redford participated.

Of the 12 schools last year, all of them saw a positive impact on their students’ attitude and behavior.

According to the presentation,

• 59 percent of teachers reported helping individual students more than a previous year.

• 43 percent of teachers reported lecturing less.

• 52 percent of students increased proficiency with mobile technology.

• 38 percent were more engaged in science and math.

• 37 percent had higher STEM achievement.

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