2011-06-08 / Front Page

Edison to break ground with iPad curriculum

HMH Fuse: Algebra 1 app combines instruction with ongoing support
BY KATHY CHANG
Staff Writer

Edison’s school district will be the first in the state to integrate a curriculum completely executed on a digital tablet device this fall.

Edison will take part in a pilot program in partnership with the global education service Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), which has created a full-curriculum algebra application for Apple iPads. The curriculum is called HMH Fuse: Algebra 1 app.

Superintendent of Schools Richard O’Malley said upon assuming his post in February that he wanted Edison to be the first district inNewJersey to pilot the HMH math program using iPads in the classrooms. He said he had read about the program being piloted in several California school districts.

“This cutting-edge technology combines direct instruction, ongoing support, assessment and intervention, enabling a teacher to truly personalize learning,” O’Malley said. “As the digital age reaches our classrooms, it will transform education, allowing for teaching our students in ways not before imagined, and Edison Public Schools is poised to lead the way.”

According to HMH, its application is designed to deliver Algebra 1 curriculum in a way that engages tech-savvy 21st-century students, who will receive step-by-step animated instruction, instant feedback on practice questions, the ability to write, record and save notes, and access to more than 400 video tutorials with the touch of a finger. The app’s programming combines instruction with ongoing support, allowing teachers and students to customize learning and meet individual needs. Teachers can monitor performance with real-time, student specific feedback via Wi-Fi wireless connection.

“We have recorded dramatic gains in achievement and engagement with students in Fuse classrooms,” said Mike Lavelle, president of HMH Education Group. “Students are no longer simply receivers of information, but instead are interacting with the program and taking an active role in their own education.”

O’Malley said the one-year pilot program will be implemented in ninth-gradeAlgebra 1 classes at both Edison High School and John P. StevensHigh School. Thirty students from each high school will participate. The pilot program will be funded with assistance from HMH, state No Child Left Behind grants and the local school budget.

Also in partnership with HMH, the school district will be starting the company’s core reading program, Journeys. The program “brings reading, writing and vocabulary to life for thousands of students,” according to HMH. “Journeys also employs leading technology through student ebooks, leveled readers online, and write-in readers online. Journeys includes support for the wide-ranging needs of the everyday classroom, such as ELL [English language learners, to whom English is a new language] and intervention programs, and is also structured to provide continuous assessment of student progress throughout each unit.”

For more information about HMH Fuse, visit www.hmheducation.com/fuse.

Keeping school secure

Edison school officials have teamed up with municipal and police officials to apply for a Secure Our Schools COPS grant in the amount of $50,000.

In 2007 the school district received $32,712 to install exterior surveillance cameras at several elementary schools.

“This year, we asked them to apply for $50,000 and we would match the $50,000, which would allow us to finish the elementary school exterior surveillance camera projects,” said school Business Administrator Dan Michaud.

If the grant is awarded, cameras will be placed at the Ben Franklin, Menlo Park and Woodbrook elementary schools.

The Township Council approved a resolution on May 25 approving participation in the grant program, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS).

Michaud noted that school officials have worked with the Edison Police Department on security issues for many years.

“They are committed to ensuring the safest conditions possible for our district’s schoolchildren,” he said of the police. “They have been providing full-time police officers in both our high schools for many years. The presence of these officers along with our security guards has made the schools a much more safe and secure environment for learning.”

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