SAU No. 5
Superintendent James Morse
36 Coe Drive
Durham, NH 03824
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Media Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
1:1 Initiative Puts Laptops in Hands of Every Oyster River Middle School Student Starting in September
DURHAM — It’s with great excitement that Oyster River Middle School Principal Jay Richard and Technology Instructor Nikola Viens share news that the ORCSD School Board recently gave approval and support for all Oyster River Middle School students to each be provided a laptop in the upcoming 2018-2019 school year.
Under a technology initiative beginning this fall, all students will have access to their own school issued laptop. The philosophy behind the initiative is known as the One-to-One (or 1:1) educational technology model and differs from the district’s current model in which students are using a shared cart model for every team of four classrooms.
A group of ORMS teachers presented, on behalf of the middle school technology committee, a proposal for the technology initiative to the school board during the May 2 meeting. The presentation included a brief overview of the One-to-One initiative as well as examples of neighboring districts who have already implemented or are moving toward implementing a similar model in their schools. Each presenting teacher explained ways that a One-to-One technology initiative would satisfy a current need for more devices in the classroom due to an increased demand each year.
“Education and the potential it can reach did not exist as it does now thanks to a lot of the technology advances that have occurred in our society and definitely within public schools. If there is one thing our district does well, and any district can always do better, it’s push kids to their potential,” said ORMS fifth grade teacher Sunpreet Sadana. “The 1:1 initiative eliminates a lot of roadblocks to learning and allows educators and kids to enhance their learning and instruction and push kids to that potential.”
Equal access to technology has been emphasized during many recent board meeting discussions, along with ensuring that all students had the same access to instruction despite their individual needs and abilities. The best way to do that is to ensure that every student is using the same type of technology device in the classroom. Having a single type of device available to all students at ORMS ensures continuity across classrooms and grades at the same time it gives teachers the tools and flexibility they need to offer each student the highest level of instruction.
Fifth grade teacher Sara O’Brien explained how increased technology would affect her classroom when presenting to the board:
“All classrooms will look differently with increased technology,” she said. “When I imagine my classroom with more technology it would not mean more students are behind a screen five days a week, all day. It would mean integrating computers into portions of my lessons instead of having to use them the whole block that I have them. It would mean I would have time to teach my students about how to use a computer, not just ask them to complete assignments.”
The laptop initiative also aligns with the new competency-based approach the Middle School has adopted this school year.
“Competency-based education stresses the mastery of the skills needed for the 21st century and the philosophy embraces the idea that content is ever evolving and changing,” said seventh grade teacher Janet Martel. “At Oyster River, the teachers use new and emerging technologies to teach these skills.”
Information technology staff, ORMS administrators and members of the District Technology Committee will work diligently over the next four months to work out the details of this roll out.
Principal Richard expressed his enthusiasm about the initiative and the positive impact it will have on our teachers and students.
“We have seen published, empirical evidence that 1:1 laptop initiatives improve student performance and increase test scores,” Principal Richard said. “Putting a laptop in the hands of every student at Oyster River Middle School creates a level playing field and further reduces learning gaps for our students, resulting in improved student growth and development from the onset. I am very excited to implement this program, and I want to express my gratitude to our school board and technology staff for bringing the 1:1 initiative to fruition.”