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Learning Technology Grant Program Overview: CSD 8 & 9 Consortium

Award Years: 2018-2021

NYCDOE Community School Districts 8 and 9 are located in the Bronx in neighborhoods that have some of the highest poverty rates in New York City and the country. On average between our two Districts 90% of our students live in poverty, 65% of our students are Latino and 26% of our children are Black. Twelve percent (12%) of students in District 8 and 22% in District 9 are English Language Learners and are from families of recent immigrants. Many of our students struggle academically; however, we believe with the right tools and systems in place, in partnership with their families and our communities, they can reach their fullest potential.

Careers in science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) fields continue to grow making it essential for accessibility to equitable learning opportunities for all students to benefit. We are supporting new and existing teachers in developing the knowledge and skills they need to ensure all students are prepared for college, the global economy, 21st century citizenship, and continued learning throughout their lives. Systematic, ongoing teacher professional development is crucial to preparing teachers, as well as opportunities to interact with and learn from peers in professional learning communities. Also important is exposure to new technologies that can support differentiated and personalized instruction and hands-on exploration. Finally, the buy-in and support of parents in their children’s education is key. This is why Community School Districts 8 and 9 are adopting FaceLab, an exemplary, high quality college and career readiness school program of the Division of Family and Community Engagement (FACE) at the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE).

FaceLab was developed to address the gap in participation of our students in the STEAM economy. The program is approaching year three of its deployment across the NYCDOE and its curriculum and professional training has been tested, evaluated and strengthened with the support of participating administrators, teachers, and parents. FaceLab is designed to increase the collaboration between parents and educators in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) education. FaceLab achieves this by training teachers and parents in K-8 schools to lead hands-on robotics and additional educational technology-embedded activities with students. Research demonstrates that strong parental involvement improves student outcomes, including academic achievement, as well as social and emotional development. 

Good learning technologies promote integrative approaches, systems thinking, and active approaches to problem solving. Community School District 8 and 9 administrators will work closely with the team from the NYCDOE Division of Family and Community Engagement and their partners Makeosity, Inc. and Vision Education & Media| RoboFun® to identify schools’ and teachers’ professional development needs and gaps in STEAM education for students. The development partners will collaborate with schools’ administrators and teachers to not only introduce new knowledge and instructional techniques related to STEAM, but actively engage them in the co-development of curriculum and standards-aligned lessons to allow for greater ownership and adoption of the model. A variety of technological and digital tools, online courses, content, and activities to support teaching of STEAM in classrooms will be evaluated, tested and selected. Parents and caregivers from each school community will be recruited and selected to participate in training and learn how to assist teachers with introducing the curriculum, technologies, and activities in classrooms. 

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