This site aims to inform and mobilize Beverly parents to take an active role in all issues related to the funding and operation of the city's schools. It was launched in the spring of 2008, when the city saw its first-ever override attempt fail, followed by the closure of a nearly-new elementary school. Subsequent years have seen further cuts that have led to larger class sizes across the district. While the opening of an impressive new high school and plans to replace the city's aging middle school give us reason to be optimistic, the school community must be ever vigilant in demanding appropriate school funding by city and state governments, and better community communications from the district and School Committee.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Elementaries Get Smart

State of the art smartboards have begun to be installed in every classroom in all five elementary schools this week, thanks to the overwhelming generosity of Beverly resident and BHS grad Mike Pascucci.

Pascucci, a 1980 BHS grad, and former football team captain, is also the man behind the Pascucci computer lab at Centerville, the Briscoe Middle School computer lab, and last year's donation of laptops for foreign language and reading classes at Briscoe.

The gift was detailed at last week's School Committee meeting, which one member called "the best School Committee meeting ever" and is also the subject of a story in today's Salem News:

The boards are a relatively new touch-screen technology that teachers can connect to their computers. They come with pens so teachers can write on them like a regular whiteboard, but they also have software that converts writing into text, interacts with students by having them touch the screen and pull up maps or graphs, and saves everything.

"It engages students more," [technology director Judy] Miller said. "Students who are visual learners will benefit tremendously, and it gives teachers the ability to save lessons and digitalize materials."

That's just the basics, Miller said. Teachers will go through a general training program during the school year and will have the option to do more rigorous training over the summer. The boards are capable of a tremendous amount and will have an enormous impact on education, she said.

"In my wildest dreams, I never thought I would be here talking about smart boards in every classroom," Miller said.

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