If you were to look quickly, you might mistake some of our schools in Northern Westchester/Putnam Region for high-tech Silicon Valley start-ups!
Throughout the region this year, teachers and administrators have developed a variety of novel ways to introduce technology as a means of promoting “digital literacy” in the classroom. For example, at St. Patrick’s in Yorktown, new lessons in computer coding and programming have garnered enormous interest from the students and the local media this year. In December, students from Pre-K through 8th grade joined students from around the world by participating in the “Hour of Code” initiative, with every grade at the school taking on a different lesson aimed at teaching the basics of computer programming.
In addition to computer skills, students at St. Patrick’s had the opportunity to work collaboratively with different grades, promoting other critical skills, such as communication, teamwork, and problem-solving. In the spirit of promoting collaboration, St. Columbanus is also using “flexible grouping,” a blended learning technique that rejects static, unchanging student working groups in favor of working with different peers, in varied settings, across many subjects and assignments.
At St. Columbanus and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Kindergarten students have embraced the “Kindergarten Initiative,” a new approach to teaching some of our youngest students taking place at 19 other schools across the archdiocese. As part of the new program, St. Columbanus was able to showcase various ecological and scientific studies about underwater plants and animal life, and it has quickly become extremely popular with the students.
Teachers in the region have also incorporated technological resources to enhance their modes of instruction. At St. Patrick’s in Bedford and St. Augustine in Ossining, teachers this year began implementing iReady, adaptive technology software that customizes individual student learning experiences based on each student’s specific academic needs. With this type of real-time feedback on student performance, teachers are better able to customize their instruction for their students.
The region-wide commitment to digital and instructional integration in Northern Westchester/Putnam is helping us differentiate instruction for every student and will enable them to reach new heights academically and intellectually.