Archive for the ‘Innovative Learning’ Category

A plan developed by Lake County Schools to rollout personalized learning initiatives over the next decade is receiving a significant investment courtesy of a grant award.

Personalized learning is a rising and significant change in how students receive instruction. Research shows that students who experience one-to-one instruction achieve at a far greater pace than students who experience traditional classroom instruction. Personalized learning helps tailor what a student learns — and how, when and where they learn it — based on his or her needs, skills and interests.

“Personalized learning incorporates student voice and choice in the learning process and allows teachers to adjust the pace and delivery of instruction to address each student’s individual learning strengths and needs,” said Kathy Halbig, Manager of Innovative Learning at Lake County Schools. “The student-teacher relationship is critical to student success, and personalized learning helps maximize the most precious resource in a classroom: Teacher’s one-on-one time with students.”

The Next Generations System Initiative (NGSI) grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is awarding Lake County Schools with $400,000 for Phase II of the three-phase NGSI grant. Phase II funding will support select schools through the planning process, from May through December 2014, of designing full-scale implementation plans for personalized learning for students. The grant award makes this planning step possible as funding will provide for necessary professional development for teachers and school administrators, as well as technology and software support. The 2015-2016 school year will mark the official launch of full-scale, personalized learning at select schools with four to six additional schools coming online with personalized learning in each subsequent year.

Lake County Schools’ push to incorporate personalized learning models into its instructional delivery began several years ago and is occurring in a handful of classrooms across the district.

“The addition of student mobile devices, the introduction of Bring Your Own Device at schools, upgrades to the district’s network and bringing Safari Montage to the district to manage the delivery of digital curriculum have all helped lay the groundwork for a more focused, district-wide initiative on personalized learning,” said Dr. Creed Wheeler, Executive Director of Information Technology for Lake County Schools.

Lake County Schools received a $100,000 planning grant in October, Phase I of the three-phase NGSI grant, to develop a district-wide strategic plan for the successful implementation of personalized learning in Lake County Schools. With important collaboration and input from an advisory group which included University of Central Florida staff, Lake County business and community leaders, LCS teachers and administrators, and focus group input from Lake County students, a design for a full-scale personalized learning system was developed. The NGSI Phase II grant award is the next step in moving the plan forward.

The NGSI grant coordinates with the EngageLCS initiative by expanding on personalized learning. Through the $1.2 million EngageLCS project, also supported by the Gates Foundation, Lake County Schools is evaluating the best use of its existing financial resources to ensure students continue to get a great education. This is an unprecedented measure for Lake County Schools — significantly improving student outcomes without a large increase in new money. By reallocating resources, the School District is looking to increase student achievement by focusing on five instructional priorities:

  • Immediate investment in struggling schools & ELL students — Closing the achievement gap of English Language Learners and struggling schools
  • Talent Development Pipeline — Adding transparency to career progression in LCS, and additional stipends for leadership roles and service at the district’s neediest schools
  • Program Evaluation & Innovation — Implementing a process to initiate, evaluate and extend programs based on their impact on student achievement
  • Teacher & Principal Induction & Development — Implementing robust coaching support for principals and teachers to increase effectiveness and speed movement up the learning curve
  • Personalized Learning — Building differentiated support for teacher/leader professional development and individualized student learning, supported by technology

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More than 1,000 students, parents and community members joined Lake County Schools last week for its annual Education Innovations event at Leesburg High, which highlighted how students are becoming college & career ready.

“The Education Innovations event was just wonderful,” said Rosanne Brandeburg, Chairman of the Lake County School Board. “It gave our students a chance to shine and I am so proud of our School District.”

The keynote speaker for the event was Kevin Baird, Chairman of Center for College & Career Readiness and the Common Core Institute. He challenged the audience to think how Lake County Schools can better prepare students for the new Common Core State Standards, a state-led effort to establish a shared set of clear educational standards for language arts and mathematics that 48 states have voluntarily adopted. These standards are designed to ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to go to college or enter the workforce.

“The highlight of my week was hearing Kevin Baird speak at our R U C2 Ready? event,” said School Board Member Jim Miller at this week’s School Board meeting. “Every time I hear him speak I get a bigger glimpse of the future.”

After the keynote speech, nearly 100 elementary school chorus singers nearly stole the show. Led by Dana Duke, Music and Arts Teacher at Sawgrass Bay Elementary, and Gina Mobley, Fine Arts Teacher at Lost Lake Elementary, choral students representing 12 different elementary schools practiced the day of their performance. The students performed “The Future’s Calling Us” and “R U C2 Ready?,” an original song wrote by Duke for the event. Ed Anderson, Music Teacher at Seminole Springs Elementary, playing the steel drum accompanied Duke on the guitar.

School representatives lined the high school’s courtyard showcasing many of the programs that are helping students become college and career ready. In the school cafeteria, several schools highlighted their culinary arts prowess and the Innovative Learning Department at Lake County Schools had several teachers demonstrating how iPads are used in the classroom.

Programs and schools participating included: Pathways to Engineering (Leesburg High), Automation & Production – Robotics (Lake Minneola High), Power Academy (Leesburg High), Category 5 (Mount Dora High), AVID Program (East Ridge Middle), AVID Program (Oak Park Middle), Science Program (Windy Hill Middle), Robotics Demonstration (Carver Middle), Student News Break (Fruitland Park Elementary), Plant Biotechnology (Lake Minneola High), Intensive Language Arts (Leesburg High), Television Production (Eustis & Lake Minneola High), Learning in a Flipped Classroom (South Lake High), Biomedical Sciences (Lake Minneola High), Applied Cybersecurity (East Ridge High & Leesburg High), The Crazy Hair Day (Leesburg Elementary), Positive Behavior Support and Family School Liaison (Leesburg High), C2 Ready (Lost Lake Elementary), AVID Program (Leesburg High), JROTC (Leesburg High), Construction (Leesburg High), Gaming/Animation/Simulation Programming (Tavares High), The Jefferson Awards, “Call to Action” (Eustis High), E20/20 (Leesburg High), Health Science/CNA (Leesburg High), International Business (East Ridge High), Digital Design (Leesburg High), IT Academy (Eustis High & Eustis Middle), Commercial Art (East Ridge High & Lake Minneola High), Architectural Drafting (Mount Dora High), Agritechnology (Leesburg High) and Automotive Collision & Repair (East Ridge High).

“We had a very nice turnout,” said Dr. Susan Moxley, Superintendent of Lake County Schools. “I think everyone that was there was well informed and had a very good time learning. I want to thank our students, most of all, for their presentations, our teachers, our administrators and our support staff.


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“R U C2 Ready?”

This year’s annual “Education Innovations” event on Tuesday, Oct. 16 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Leesburg High will highlight how Lake County students are preparing to be College & Career Ready.

The event will kick off with guest speaker Kevin Baird, Chairman of Common Core Institute. The focus of his speech will be about Common Core State Standards, a state-led effort to establish a shared set of clear educational standards for language arts and mathematics that 48 states have voluntarily adopted. These standards are designed to ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to go to college or enter the workforce.

The keynote speaker as well as a few performances from school chorus groups will take place in the auditorium of Leesburg High School, located at 1401 Yellow Jacket Way. Following these activities at about 7 p.m. the audience will be encouraged to stop by the school’s courtyard where more than 50 educational booths will display student-led demonstrations, activities and programs that showcase how students are becoming career and college ready.

A number of the educational displays will feature the Lake County School District’s Career and Technical Education programs, including Agritechnology, Automotive Collision and Repair, Automation and Manufacturing, Construction, Cybersecurity, Digital Design, Commercial Art, Drafting, Early Childhood Education, Gaming/Animation/Simulation Programming, Health Science/CAN, Horticulture/Plant Biotechnology, IT Academy, Power Academy, Technology Education/Robotics and Television Production.

In addition to the educational booths in the courtyard, a number of demonstrations will be taking place, including some showcasing how students are using handheld electronic devices in the classroom. Also available will be light refreshments from the Leesburg High Culinary Arts program and live music from the Leesburg High Jazz Band.

The public is invited to this casual gathering to celebrate Lake County Schools. For more information, call (352) 253-6550, log on to www.lake.k12.fl.us or visit Lake County Schools on Twitter (@lakeschools) or Facebook (facebook.com/lakeschools).

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Beginning this school year, Lake County Schools contracted with SchoolMessenger to provide services for its parent and staff communication system.

The SchoolMessenger Notification System provides timely communication to parents and staff members on matters such as attendance, general interest activities and school or District emergencies. In order to enhance a school’s and District’s ability to accurately deliver that information, parents can now create their own contact preference profile using SchoolMessenger’s Contact Manager website (https://contactme.schoolmessenger.com/?u=lake).

Contact Manager allows parents to control the ways in which they prefer to be contacted. It also works like a mailbox, giving parents a place to review messages they may have missed. In order to utilize this feature follow the steps at www.lake.k12.fl.us/contactmanager to create an account through the secure Contact Manager website provided by SchoolMessenger.

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Lake County Schools will be closed on Friday, Nov. 11, to observe Veterans Day. The administration offices of Lake County Schools will also be closed on Nov. 11.

To view a complete holiday calendar for Lake County Schools, log on to http://www.lake.k12.fl.us or visit Lake County Schools District Office, located at 201 W. Burleigh Blvd. in Tavares.

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A dozen middle school students from Lake County will be packing their bags for a trip to the Big Apple this weekend and a big opportunity for their speedy problem solving skills to earn them a $50,000 college scholarship.

Fifteen middle school students qualified for Tabula Digita’s U Games National Scholarship Tournament Finals on Saturday, May 21, at Hunter College in New York City. The national video game competition is bringing together students who secured a spot in the final competition after participating in one of 12 qualifying rounds that ran from November through April. Using the award-wining DimensionU Games for math, the tournament is hosted by game developer Tabula Digita in partnership with Intel and Dell.

More than 120 middle school students were invited from across the nation for the tournament and Lake County will have 12 of the approximately 90 students attending the competition. Jason Lancy, Advanced Math Teacher at Windy Hill Middle, will be attending the competition to support his students.

“Lake County Schools has seen an increase in seventh grade students’ motivation and participation in math class as well as an increase in learning math content since we have used this math video gaming software,” said Dee Ann Wilson, Secondary Math Program Specialist for Lake County Schools. “We are delighted to offer different opportunities like math video gaming that will help all of our seventh graders to excel in math.”

According to a press release from Tabula Digita, during the three-hour, energy-packed contest, student competitors will go head-to-head using math skills to advance through timed video games. To move ahead, and ultimately win the tournament, students will have to navigate through numerous mathematical obstacles, and compete with their fellow students, to score the most points.

“While not everyone will be able to attend, it is a big accomplishment for all of these students,” said Kathy Halbig, Manager of Innovative Learning for Lake County Schools. “Congratulations to our fine teachers and their students who have demonstrated excellence in math and technology.”

For qualifying for the tournament, each student receives a $100 gift card. Those qualifying include:

  • Alexander Adams, Windy Hill Middle
  • Jeffrey Bassett, Windy Hill Middle
  • Walker Collins, Gray Middle
  • Andrew Entwistle, Windy Hill Middle
  • Michelle Gopie, Gray Middle
  • Derek Haas, Windy Hill Middle
  • Shihab Humayun, Windy Hill Middle
  • Dalton Kersey, Gray Middle
  • Casey Lemke, Windy Hill Middle
  • Mathew Martell, Windy Hill
  • Phil Promsurin, Gray Middle
  • Jon Rodriguez, Windy Hill Middle
  • Kaylie Skinner, Gray Middle
  • Caleb Stafford, home schooled
  • Daniel Vied, Gray Middle

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Lake County Schools is hoping two $750,000 federal grants for innovative and hands-on technology will excite students to explore careers in the field of science while assisting them in crossing the digital divide.

This summer Lake County Schools was awarded the Enhancing Education Through Technology grants (E2T2). The maximum amount awarded to any one grant proposal is $750,000. To maximize its potential of receiving the grant, District staff wrote three grants, one for each learning zone in the school system. While only two of Lake County’s grant received funding, Lake County Schools was fortunate to be awarded more E2T2 grant funding than any other school district in the state.

“The primary focus of the grant was middle school science classes, but our goal was to get as much technology as we could in all of our schools,” said Kathy Halbig, Manager of the Innovative Learning Department.

While the grant focuses on a number of initiatives, there is no doubt which new technology has the caught the eye of students and teachers. More than 500 of Apple’s iPad were purchased for middle school science classes. Teachers used the iPads for a month to test them out and envision how they could use them in the classroom. Beginning this month, teachers began introducing the iPads to their students. The tablets are armed with 25 educational apps, including a graphing calculator, virtual frog dissection, roller coaster physics and 3D displays of elements from the periodic table.

While the Innovative Learning Department is helping to suggest ways teachers can use the apps to support their curriculum Halbig says, “It’s usually just putting a few ideas out there and the teachers are running with it because they are so good at that.” To ease the transition for other school districts to use these new technologies the Department of Innovative Learning is working closely with the Florida Center for Instructional Technology at the University of South Florida.

“We’re at the forefront of producing the curriculum that other districts may use, and the University is helping to capture the information we gather through testing, development and implementation,” she said.

In addition to the iPads, other new technologies being funded through the E2T2 grant include:

  • Probeware for sixth through 11th grade science classes — The “SPARK” probe developed by PASCO features a variety of sensors that students can use during experiments to measure, for example, voltage or temperature. “It allows students to get real-time results,” Halbig said. “It really makes science engaging and that was the real focus.”
  • Digital microscopes for fifth grade science classes — The QX5 microscope by Digital Blue allows teachers and students to connect microscope to a computer and then capture and record images and video.
  • Research database for all students — The database by EBSCO gives students the ability to conduct research using up-to-date information from journals, magazines, books, monographs, reports and various other publication types.

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