At the District: Upper Saddle River, NJ - Tech Learning

At the District: Upper Saddle River, NJ

Who We Are: The Upper Saddle River School District, located in northern New Jersey's Bergen County, is a K-8 district with an enrollment of approximately 1365. The school system consists of three facilities: Reynolds Elementary (Pre-K to 2), Bogert Elementary (3 to 5) and Cavallini Middle School (6-8). The
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Who We Are:
The Upper Saddle River School District, located in northern New Jersey's Bergen County, is a K-8 district with an enrollment of approximately 1365. The school system consists of three facilities: Reynolds Elementary (Pre-K to 2), Bogert Elementary (3 to 5) and Cavallini Middle School (6-8). The educational community in Upper Saddle River believes that children are the most valuable resource for the future. This premise guides our efforts as we accept our shared responsibility to maximize each child's unique and individual potential in every area of development.

Our Hardware:
This past year (2001-2002), the district completed an extensive Technology Facilities project. The completion of this project provided the district with high speed (1.54 Megabit bandwidth) access to the Internet, a private fiber networked WAN (Wide-Area Network) connecting the district's three buildings, a switched Ethernet LAN (Local-Area Network) for each building connected to the fiber backbone and a Siemens Omnipoint 5000 digital T-1 telephone system with centralized voice mail, conference calling capabilities and four digit dialing between schools. All equipment is racked in distribution frames located throughout the schools and administrative offices. Classrooms and labs are connected to these areas with cat-5 twisted-pair wiring capable of full-duplex 100 MBPS communication. Through the construction project the district also provided five new computer labs, a centralized room housing all the district's servers (of which there are five), a Cisco PIX network firewall and an Internet filtering system by Websense.

The hardware utilized is state of the art. With the completion of the new computer labs, the district ordered 100 G4 gooseneck iMacs and 100 white Apple iMac laptops. This complements the already existing equipment that included a G3 DVD iMac in each classroom and a G4 Titanium laptop for each teacher. With this configuration, each classroom has a minimum of one iMac, two iBooks and a teacher presentation station. Also available for the teachers to sign out are still digital cameras, video digital cameras and projection systems. The laptops are configured to work in either a hardwired or wireless environment. By the end of January 2003, we expect to have a fully wireless environment in our middle and upper elementary schools.

Our Technology Support Staff and Training:
The district technology director, two computer teachers, three media specialists, one part-time network administrator and a part-time technician make up the district's Instructional Technology Team. The integration of technology into the curriculum is the primary focus of our technology program. The district is committed to the integration of technological applications and academic prowess. In the middle school, computer skills are taught through the content areas and are project oriented. In the elementary schools, students attend a scheduled weekly computer class (on a six day cycle) where skills are taught through activities related to current curriculum areas. This integration provides a creative, unique and authentic educational experience that accommodates various learning styles. Our teachers also take advantage of open lab time, scheduling their classes on an as-need basis for additional projects.

Using the Technology:
Students and teachers make use of a wide variety of applications and methods of incorporating technology into the curriculum. All students have access to Microsoft Office, Inspiration or Kidspiration, Appleworks, Hyperstudio, Online References; EBSCO, Americana Encyclopedia, Grolier's Encyclopedia, and World Book, Claris Home Page, iMovie, iTunes, Type to Learn and other content related CD's. In using these programs not only are the students taught how to use the program, but which program to use according to their need. Our teachers use the Internet daily as a resource by searching for ideas, bookmarking appropriate sites and creating interactive presentations. These ideas are then posted on the shared folder in the district's server for all teachers to use in their planning.

Staff Development:
The district continues to provide extensive staff development offerings to teachers that enable them to increase their technology literacy as well as effectively integrating their new literacy knowledge into the curriculum for classroom instruction. This past year, the district's after-school in-service program offered courses in MS Word, MS PowerPoint, MS Excel, Email, Laptop Basics, Using the Digital Camera, Kid Pix Basics, Kid Pix Slide Shows, Inspiration and Creating a Web Page with MS Word. At the end of June 2002, we held a full day Technology Workshop. During the day, teachers were able to choose from workshops on iMovie, Inspiration, Hyperstudio, Riding the Web, Super Software for the Primary Grades and Developing Problem Based Learning Units. In addition participants from every grade spent part of the day developing several technology projects that relate to an area of the curriculum. These projects were then correlated with the district technology objectives, the New Jersey state technology benchmarks and National Educational Technology Standards. The district continued its staff development opportunities in the summer with the offering of additional training on Web Page Design, Inspiration, Searching the Internet and MS Office.

Sharing Information:
The district also has developed a Website, Upper Saddle River Online, that provides up-to-date information, including but not limited to: information about the district, messages from the superintendent, job openings, district-wide calendars, school board agendas and minutes, school home pages, electronic links to other educational sites and student work. It is anticipated that the Website will become a document that teachers and students will use daily in their classroom and at home. The site is constantly being updated with new and timely material. The district school pages, currently being designed by the schools' computer club and staff, will provide information about each school and will provide a place for students to publish their work.

Email: Gayle Rubenstein

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