|By PR Newswire||
|August 15, 2014 11:00 AM EDT||
LEVITTOWN, Pa., Aug. 15, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Bristol Township School District's emphasis on teaching 21st century skills has been enhanced significantly as a new member of a program supported by Digital Promise and the Verizon Foundation. Under the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools (VILS) program, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Neil A. Armstrong Middle Schools will receive more than 1,000 tablets, donated by the nonprofit Digital Promise through a partnership with the Verizon Foundation. Every student and teacher in the two schools will receive a tablet device and a free, 2-year, 5-gigabyte Verizon Wireless data plan that will enable users to access the Internet and innovative learning opportunities 24-7. Ongoing professional development for teachers and instructional technology coaches are also available to the schools.
District Superintendent Dr. Sam Lee said, "Having 24/7 access to this technology will add another dimension of classroom learning. This is exciting news and we look forward to using the devices to enhance student instruction."
The two District schools are the only middle schools in Pennsylvania, and two of eight nationwide, that were selected for the program. In total, this program will reach 350 teachers and nearly 5,000 students across the country. The schools were identified by Digital Promise, a nonprofit organization authorized by Congress, to spur innovation in education.
"There is incredible potential, enthusiasm and passions for learning in Bristol Township's middle schools," said Karen Cator, President and Chief Executive Officer of Digital Promise, "We are excited to help provide engaging learning opportunities for students and learn with and from teachers, administrators and parents."
Douglas R. Smith, vice president-state government affairs, Verizon Pennsylvania, said: "Through this partnership with Digital Promise, we are able to unleash the power of Verizon's mobile technologies in these schools and build an environment where the focus is on teachers' professional development and students' achievement, particularly in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects."
A major factor in the District's selection is its readiness to fully integrate technology into the classroom to further students' achievement. Applicants were requested to demonstrate that they possessed both the technical requirements and leadership needed to make the initiative a success within their schools.
Selection was also based on size and location of the schools and the percentage of students eligible for free or reduced lunch.
The tablets will be deployed in the middle school when the 2014-2015 school year begins. The District will use a two-phase distribution approach, which mandates students complete a rigorous digital citizenship curriculum before being issued a device.
The expansion of the VILS program supported by Digital Promise is a part of Verizon's commitment to the Obama administration's ConnectED initiative, to which the company has pledged up to $100 million in cash and in-kind contributions over the next three years. Since 2012, VILS, in partnership with the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), has served 24 elementary and middle schools, 229 teachers and 11,500 students across the country. Program results reveal that students at participating schools made stronger gains in mathematics and science than students at comparison schools.
Best practices, teacher insights, stories and resources from the implementation of this program in Franklin D. Roosevelt and Neil A. Armstrong middle schools and across the country will be continuously published online for teachers anywhere to access for free and apply in their own classrooms.
SOURCE Bristol Township School District
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