Fraser schools unveils video about tech program that’s helping kids maximize learning – even as Lansing cuts classroom funds

FRASER – Fraser Public Schools today unveiled a brief video documentary featuring teachers and local students discussing how a groundbreaking tech program – launched and shaped in large part by the community – is helping kids maximize their learning at a time of fewer funds going to classrooms.

The video can be viewed at www.tricountyalliance.org/itsaboutkids. Inspired by the community’s approval of a 2011 technology bond proposal, Fraser Public Schools has the largest K-12 one-to-one iPad deployment in the Great lakes region, with more than 5,000 devices in the hands of every 3-12 student, and classroom iPad access for kids in second grade and younger. For a year after the bond passage, Fraser schools deliberated what kind of technology program would work best for its students – and involved parents, community leaders, teachers and staff and all stakeholders in wide-ranging discussions that took place at town halls, board meetings and public forums.

“To this day, parents are still telling us that they supported this millage because they wanted their children to get the resources and support they need to compete in a global, tech-savvy world,” said Fraser Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Dave Richards. “Now, four years later, we are seeing the result in Fraser. Our kids are not only better learners, they are also more creative ones. They are using technology to find innovative solutions to problems they encounter in their lessons.”

“What’s remarkable about Fraser Public Schools is that the entire community came together at the height of the recession to invest in their kids’ education and make sure they get the resources they need to learn and compete in a high-tech 21st century global economy,” said Mark Burton, Executive Director, Tri-County Alliance for Public Education. “Fraser schools is an example of a public school district that is looking ahead and positioning itself to be more competitive at a time when Lansing policymakers are reducing the amount of money going into our classrooms. The real lesson from Fraser is how Michigan policymakers can make sure all kids learn and have access to the kind of technology that will be vital to whether Michigan kids can compete in an economy that is defined by technology.”

In Fraser Public Schools, more than 95 percent of Fraser parents said their child is getting an “excellent” education, according to a district-wide 2013-2014 survey. Classrooms are equipped with Apple TVs, Promethean boards, Elmo, sound systems and LCD projectors, in addition to the one-to-one iPad deployment. The district’s technology program, coupled with high-impact teaching strategies, increased academic rigor, specialized teacher training, purposeful lesson design, and a focus on competency-based learning, is to provide an educational framework that will prepare students to be successful in today’s college and work environments.

The story about Fraser’s technology initiatives and its impact on its students is part of the “It’s About Kids” campaign, a project of the Tri-County Alliance for Public Education. The “It’s About Kids” project is supported by generous contributions from private donors. The stories can be viewed and read at www.tricountyalliance.org/itsaboutkids.

Other schools that will be featured later this year include Longacre Elementary School (Farmington Public Schools) and Avondale High School (Avondale School District) in Oakland County; and New Haven High School (New Haven Community Schools) in Macomb County. One story already featured online is about the basketball championship program at Downriver High School. In addition to mini-movies about the programs, the multimedia campaign will also highlight stories through brief essays.

Fraser Public Schools Facts
◾ From a 2013-14 survey, over 95 percent of the parent community rated their child’s education as “excellent” in Fraser Public Schools
◾ Community support of 2011 Bond Issue has allowed FPS to implement a long-term plan for district facility and technology upgrades
◾ February 2011 Bond Issue approval of 52.5% (passed by 158 votes)
◾ Largest K-12 one-to-one iPad Program within the Great Lakes Region; provides every child in grades 3-12 with individual iPad access and grades DK-2 with classroom iPad access
◾ Recognized leader in educational technology both state and nationwide
◾ Classrooms equipped with Apple TV, Promethean Board, Elmo, sound system and LCD projector
◾ District named Apple Distinguished Program for 2013-2015
◾ Role of 21st century literacy teachers created to support staff in lesson design, use of instructional technology, and professional development for staff
◾ High impact teaching strategies, increased rigor, and comprehensive technology integration into district curriculum
◾ Comprehensive tiered intervention system for students
◾ Safe and nurturing learning environments
◾ Highly qualified, award-winning staff

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