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.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Foundation to Support BHS Laptop Program

With the BHS 1-to-1 Laptop Program set to launch in the Fall, a local group is launching a drive to raise $250,000 over the next five years to help support the program.

The Beverly Education Foundation, whose stated mission is to "stimulate innovation and excellence by supporting educational programs that are outside normal public funding" announced the new program last week. 

According to their website, the funds raised will be used to:
  • Create a learning environment for all students to maximize the use of technology. The Beverly Education Foundation will provide funding in a variety of ways to support students.
  • Enable and sustain access to up-to-date technology for students. This program will offer a lease to own option for parents. BHS students who need to borrow a laptop will be given a loaner each day. Beverly Education Foundation will provide funding to help maintain a supply of loaner laptops.
  • Maintain a state-of-the-art tech support center. Students can bring their leased laptops to this center for repairs and maintenance. Beverly Education Foundation will help fund the cost of establishing this center, including spare parts, software upgrades, and yearly laptop maintenance.
Today's Salem News has more details on the drive, as well as an update on the program at the school, and a recent presentation by technology director Judy Miller to the City Council that demonstrated the program's benefits to students and the district:
In a presentation to the City Council last Monday night at City Hall, school technology director Judy Miller said Beverly will be one of the first public school systems in New England to adopt the "1-to-1 Laptop Learning Initiative," as it is called.

"There's a lot of districts watching Beverly right now," Miller said. "People are going to want to come and see Beverly High School.

Miller gave city councilors a demonstration of the power of laptop learning by using an example of a class learning about the Cuban missile crisis of 1962.

Miller showed a line in a textbook that told about a telephone conversation between President John F. Kennedy and former President Dwight Eisenhower during the crisis. She then clicked a button and played a 30-second tape of that conversation.

Miller also showed an interview with the superintendent of schools in Mooresville, N.C., who credited their laptop program with improving the district's test scores.

"This is definitely going to take Beverly up a couple of notches," Miller said.
You can donate to the Beverly Education Foundation's program through their secure weblink or by mailing your donation to:

The Beverly Education Foundation, Inc.,
PO Box 407,
Beverly, MA 01915.