BC, Newton Schools Join in $300K Technology Partnership [Video]

The city of Newton and Newton Public Schools announced the new partnership today at Countryside Elementary School.

At a time when younger generations are surrounded by new technology, the Newton Public Schools (NPS) and have joined forces to make that technology more accessible in local classrooms. 

The city of Newton announced today that BC will contribute $300,000 to the Newton Public Schools as part of a three-year partnership to supply local schools with new computers and technology.

Mayor Setti Warren, Boston College representatives and Newton Public School officials announced the partnership earlier this morning at . 

"In the Newton Public Schools we have wonderful teachers who really are excited about using technology, but sometimes we don't have the resources for teachers to take it to the next level...(this partnership) is going to help make that happen," Superintendent David Fleishman said at the announcement this morning.

According to a press release issued by Mayor Warren's office, the first year of the Boston College-Newton Technology Collaborative will fund the purchase of 81 Apple MacBooks, 12 flat screen televisions, 12 ELMO digital visual projectors and 12 media carts for those elementary schools in the greatest need of upgraded technology. 

Although the announcement was made at Countryside, the $300,000 partnership will benefit multiple schools across the district, Fleishman said. The details on which schools will receive technology upgrades have not been released. 

"When we first sat down with (Boston College President) Father (William) Leahy, he wanted to make sure that every single kid, no matter where they came from, had the capacity to learn and grow in the classroom," Warren said at today's announcement. "He and the superintendent and their staff got to work and they put together a phenomenal partnership that over the next three years will give our kids the resources to be prepared for 21st-century learning."

The new technology will not only benefit students, it will also help student teachers from Boston College's Lynch School of Education who are working in the Newton Public Schools. Those student teachers, Fleishman explained, will be more prepared to teach in technology-rich classrooms when they finish school. 

"Boston College undergraduates and graduates gain valuable experiences working with accomplished Newton public school teachers," said Maureen Kenny, interim dean of the Lynch School of Education.

According to Father William Leahy, president of Boston College, 109 undergraduate and graduate students from the Lynch School will work as student teachers in the Newton Public Schools this year. Countryside Principal Emily Ostrower said four of those teachers are currently at her school. 

"I am delighted that Boston College can be a part of this new venture and we can be here with the schools in Newton," Leahy said. 

Following the announcement, school administrators and elected officials sat in on a second grade classroom taught by BC graduate Michelle Powers. During her lesson, Powers used a MacBook as well as an ELMO projector to teach her students about finding the "Five W's" (who, what, where, when, why) when reading a biography or other text. 

Fleishman noted that in the classroom, Powers' students only had access to one desktop computer, making some technology-involved parts of the lesson more time consuming. With the funding from the technology partnership, the schools can purchase additional laptops and provide more access for students, which will cut down some lesson times.

According to the mayor's press release, 680 BC students have done student teaching programs in Newton schools. In addition, some veteran teachers are eligible to take classes tuition-free at the Lynch School in return for mentoring BC students.

"Partnerships are key," Fleishman said. "We can't do these things ourselves."


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