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Learning Technology Grant Program Overview: Franklin-Essex BOCES

Award Years: 2021-2024

Learning Technologies for Digital Storytelling and Communication (LTDSC) - Project Identity

Six component school districts make up the FEH BOCES consortium for the NYSED Learning Technology Grant, with FEH BOCES as the consortium lead. FEH BOCES is situated across 2,499 square miles in the rural North Country region of New York. With the Adirondack Mountains covering the southern boundary of the FEH BOCES catchment area, and the St. Lawrence River and the Canadian border to the North, the strengths of this isolated region of New York include opportunities for outdoor recreation and wellness, and collaboration amongst community and civic organizations.

All six consortium school districts (Brushton Moira, Chateaugay CSD, Malone CSD, Salmon River CSD, St. Regis Falls CSD, and Tupper Lake CSD) are designated as rural districts located in Franklin County, New York - a county that is host to the second lowest median household income in New York State and the lowest median household income out of all the North Country counties (United States Economic Research Service, 2019). Among the FEH BOCES Consortium school districts, an average of 61% of the students are classified as economically disadvantaged and 17.5% are classified as students with disabilities. Franklin County has the highest rate of children living below poverty in the North Country region, and one of the highest rates in New York State. Thus, FEH BOCES and its component school districts are faced with the challenge of providing equitable educational opportunities while serving a rural, low socio-economic region.

LTDSC-Project Identity will provide students with learning opportunities to use innovative learning technologies purposefully for digital storytelling and communication and provide personalized opportunities for students to discover their own identities, interests, and passions, while connecting to the identities of others. This innovative program will be developed, implemented, and shared in three distinct phases allowing for strategic planning and materials development, program implementation and evidence-based evaluation, iteration and modified implementation, and ongoing professional development related to innovative learning technologies, identity, and culturally- and linguistically- responsive learning environments. 

LTDSC-Project Identity will provide teachers and leaders in partnering districts with opportunities to develop identity projects using learning technologies for digital storytelling and communication at every grade-band and allow for the necessary time to implement, evaluate and modify the projects - resulting in a bank of ready-to-go identity project materials. Since this program allows for personalized learning that supports culturally- and linguistically responsive education, the program will be accompanied by ongoing high quality professional development for teachers and leaders around hosting challenging and sensitive conversations with students as they relate to culture, race, ethnicity, gender, and socio-economic status. 

Major Goals of the grant include:

  1. For teachers to work collaboratively across consortium member school districts to develop an identity project at each grade-band (PK-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12) that utilizes learning technologies to personalize learning for PK-12 students, while improving culturally- and linguistically-responsive learning environments.
  2. To share technology-rich identity project information, materials, resources, and artifacts such that teachers and leaders across NY State can replicate projects in their own learning environments, improving culturally- and linguistically- responsive learning environments for students.
  3. To implement a technology-rich, personalized identity project for students at each grade band (PK-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12) that uses learning technologies to improve culturally- and linguistically-responsive learning environments; while meeting the NYSED Learning Standards across grade levels and content areas as well as the NYSED Computer Science and Digital Fluency Standards, Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education Framework, Social-Emotional Learning Benchmarks, and The NYS Board of Regents Framework on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; such that, students gain technology, social and emotional and cultural competency skills necessary for success in college, career, and citizenship. 
  4. To provide 60 teachers across six (6) consortium member school districts with collaborative high-quality PD related to the use of learning technologies to personalize learning, and to improve culturally- and linguistically-responsive learning environments following NYSED PD Standards, and ISTE Standards for Educators.   Expert partners, coaches, and mentors will work with the teachers over a sustained duration of time to learn, practice, implement, and reflect.

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