Fitchburg Public Schools News
Due to inclement weather, tomorrow, January 24th, 2015, the SATs have been postponed. The rescheduled date is February 7th, 2015.
Fitchburg High School Honors Academy teacher Ellen Gammel uses Teacher Dashboard to help her students learn and collaborate. Using the computer software, Gammel sends out her assignments, and students collaborate in teams from their homes to produce a document for class the next day. All students in the FHS Honors Academy were given a Chromebook computer tablet, which they carry from class to class.
"It's so engaging and dynamic using this technology", said Gammel. She can monitor student's' work and see what each student is viewing from her teacher computer.
Gammel has led the charge to bring new technoogy to Fitchburg High School. In April, she and another FHS teacher traveled during school vacation to a conference where they learned how to use Google applications to engage students. Later, a team of educators from FHS visited other high schools that had used technology to improve classroom instruction.
"I divided the class into groups, and each group became an expert on their particular text", explained Gammel. Later, each student was paired with someone from the two other groups, and they collaborated on their common question. For their homework, students had to work together to produce a joint document that filled in the blanks of the graphic organizer Gammel had sent out electronically. Their in-class assignment was to meet in small groups and discuss their responses.
Students were assigned to a group to examine articles by Thomas Jefferson, Eleanor Roosevelt and Arne Duncan. FHS student Kayla Garcia used her tablet for the assignment.
"They (the tablets) are great to use. Most of the documents we use are online, and this is more convenient than carrying lots of books around", said Kayla.
"I'm more organized using the Chromebook", said ninth-grader Lurenne Velasquez. "I'm using the computer to write assignments. This way I don't lose them." Lurenne appreciates the ease of accessibility to the Internet.
Hannah Faulkner, another first-year student in the Honors Academy, finds using a Chromebook helpful when writing essays. "You can open up other essays and texts in another lab", she explained. "It's also easy for me to transfer things from my personal computer at home to the Chromebook." Because documents are posted to a shared drive, she can work on them from any location where there is an Internet connection.
Ms. Gammel uses other educational computer applications as well. Edpuzzle allows her to show clips from documentaries and stop them at certain points to ask questions or prompt discussion. "When I introduce a novel from my John Steinbeck until, I'll use a clip that details the history of that particular time period. Edpuzzle allows me to build in questions along the way."
Ms. Gammel said she finds students are more engaged in the lesson when documents are projected on to her whiteboard via a document camera.
She assists her fellow teachers to use technology to help improve their instruction and communication with students and parents.
"I'm a staff trainer on Aspen, the web-based school information management system", she explained. She helps new teachers learn how to input grades and comments for student report cards. Aspen allows FHS parents real-time access to their child's progress and grades.
"It feels very natural to be using this new technology in the classroom with students", said Ms. Gammel. "You have to remember these kids did not know when cell phones did not exist."
FITCHBURG -- A trio of teenagers are using the anonymity of the Internet to push good feelings, instead of the usual snark, and it's caught fire in their school.
Two weeks ago, three female Fitchburg High School students started the FHS Compliments Twitter account, under the handle @FitchburgComps. They asked that their identities be kept secret and wished to be identified individually by the letters "F", "H" and "S".
Compliment Twitter pages restricted to specific schools have been around for a few years. Students write kind messages about specific classmates and the Twitter user posts them without saying who wrote them. "F" said she had wanted to do one for a while, but didn't have the nerve to do it alone.
"S" said she was inspired by a friend at another school who started a compliment Twitter account and she brought "F" and a third friend in on the project. Twitter users send them direct messages with proposed compliments, and the three organizers approve them for publication on the account.
It got 100 followers the first day. "F" said they are shocked at how fast it's been growing. It's even won the endorsement of Principal Jeremy Roche, who said it's great to see something so positive gain so much attention within the school.
Recent messages posted on the account include compliments about being a good friend, having a great head of hair or being a talented basketball player.
"I think teachers associated social media with being anti-social", said "S". She said it's much easier to spread negative messages than positive ones, and they're working to buck the trend.
A widespread theory popularized by the web comic "Penny Arcade" is that online anonymity combined with the presence of a large audience turns normal, well-adjusted people into complete jerks when they go online. "H" said bashing people does seem to be the norm online, which is what makes it all the more important to break the trend with something positive.
"It's easy to forget (when writing to another online user) that there's a person behind it", said "H". She said the compliments are capable of brightening someone's day, even if just a little bit.
The three creators said they publish submissions during the school day by hiding their phones under the desk or using a bathroom stall. They don't want anyone to see the page on their phone screens.
"H" said they occasionally get rude submissions, which they reject and non one else ever sees. They also get backhanded compliments and unintentional jabs. In those cases, she said they write back and help the author write something more positive.
"I think it embodies what it means to be a Red Raider", said Lizzie Moison in reference to the school mascot.
She's a junior who spoke about the FHS Compliments project to the School Committee on Monday. She said the Twitter account is extremely popular and no one has figured out who is behind it, but people are speculating.
They've heard naysayers say organizers must be doing it to pad their college applications or for the attention, which the trio deny. "F" said the whole FHS Compliments project only works when people don't know who is behind it, as being anonymous keeps the focus off of them.
"We're not the only ones who are behind it", said "F". "We're just sending them out". She said the people who submit compliments are an integral part of the project, as are the people who read them.
"It's really bringing us more together as a school", said "F".
The creators said they've been able to resist telling other friends, something that is hard to do with three people. "H" said it's been easy for he, as letting their identities get out would wreck things.
For now, their secret is safe.
Michael Hartwell, email@example.com
Updated Clinical Advisory and New Fact Sheet about Enterovirus D68
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) announced a confirmed case of Enterovirus D68 on September 23, 2014. The patient is a school aged child with a history of asthma who became ill in early September and has since been treated and released from an area hospital. Please see the attached DPH Fact Sheet about enterovirus D68, and the new CDC infographic about preventing the spread of enterovirus D68.
The bus routes for the 2014-2015 school year are now posted! Please visit this page for each school's routes:
Sentinel & Enterprise
FITCHBURG -- In honor of Fitchburg's 250th anniversary, the Sodexo Nutrition Services Team of the Fitchburg public pchools invites all community members to submit their favorite recipe.
Winning entries will be prepared for Fitchburg public school students once each month. The monthly winner will be invited to enjoy lunch on that day with Fitchburg public school dignitaries.
Jill Lucius, director of nutritional services, is soliciting recipes for favorite ethnic foods, to include main dishes and side dishes.
"I hope all Fitchburg residents consider submitting their favorite side dishes, such as a dish featuring vegetables or starch," Lucius said. "Main dishes, meat-based or vegetarian, are also welcome".
Entries are welcome from anyone from the community, whether or not that person has a child or relative in the school district. Entries are due Aug. 30. Mail your entry to Jill Lucius, Director of Nutrition Services, c/o Fitchburg High School, 140 Arn-How Road, Fitchburg, MA 01420 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more: http://www.sentinelandenterprise.com/community/ci_26037323/fitchburg-schools-nutrition-team-seeks-favorite-recipes#ixzz39cYjEr1U