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Learning Technology Grant Program Overview: Sayville Consortium

Award Years: 2018-2021

Creating Integrated Models of Learning for the Modern Classroom is a program targeting HS, MS, and Elementary school teachers and students who will serve as model classes, using technology to support culturally and linguistically-responsive (CLR) instruction. The members of the consortium are the Sayville, South Huntington, and Wyandanch School Districts.

A concern shared by the three districts is that there exists a lack of understanding of multiple cultures and perspectives in schools on Long Island. This is due, in part, by segregation of our communities, lack of diverse content in curriculum, and decreased access to information in the form of technology. As lead of a three district consortium, the Sayville School District will work with South Huntington SD and Wyandanch SD to professionally develop educators to support culturally and linguistically-responsive classrooms. The three districts will work collaboratively to create opportunities for their teachers and students to have meaningful conversations and interactions to increase this understanding. They will also document their findings in multiple ways to help others learn from their work. Sayville, which is 89% white, lacks cultural diversity but has a NYS Reward school. Wyandanch which is a majority-minority district and is 49% African-American and 51% Hispanic, also lacks cultural diversity and includes a large majority of students that are considered socially and economically disadvantaged. They report high rates of absenteeism, dropouts, suspensions, and low rates of graduation, compared to other communities on Long Island and in New York State. South Huntington SD is 43% White and 41% Latino with 17% of students categorized as English Language Learners, 14% classified as SwD, and 54% of all students economically disadvantaged.

The three districts also feel the inclusion of culturally and linguistically-responsive materials will enhance the implementation of new pedagogies being introduced in each district, like integrated co-teaching (ICT) and blended learning. Integrated co-teaching makes classes more inclusive for students with disabilities. Blended learning is being introduced in the districts as a way to allow for personalized learning, where students have some control of time, place, path and/or pace and learning takes place at home and in a supervised place away from home. Both of these learning pedagogies can be enhanced by the inclusion of CLR practices. CLR materials designed over the three-year period will take into account individual students’ backgrounds, language, and culture to increase the relatability of the content and allow students to feel more connected with what they are learning.

Throughout the three-year grant, students and educators will have opportunities to work with each other under the guidance of consultants who are experts in the fields of culturally responsive classrooms, integrated co-teaching, assistive and instructional technology. Materials will be shared through a website with others who want to implement similar models. More importantly, these classes will live amongst the three districts to serve as models of what effective, intentional, modern instruction looks like.

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