2018-2021 Learning Technology Grant
The Yonkers City School District was awarded a Learning Technology Grant (LTG) from the New York State Education Department for three years, 2018-2021. The LTG provides funding for innovative teacher professional development and technology that directly benefits classrooms. Through professional development it is expected that teachers will increase their acumen in using instructional technology and STEM and use this to integrate STEM into their classrooms. The Yonkers Public Schools Learning Technology Grant is being implemented to increase Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) instruction and related instructional technologies, impacting approximately 500 students per year.
The Yonkers Public Schools LTG proposal was focused at the elementary classroom level, beginning in the 2nd grade. Nine schools within the City of Yonkers are included in the grant. There are four schools within the Yonkers Public School District and five (5) independent and religious schools within the City of Yonkers. Each year of the grant, approximately 500 students and their families were targeted beginning in the early elementary grades and progressing forward. The LTG began in Year 1 (2018-2019) with approximately 500 students in the 2nd and 3rd grades. During Year 2 (2019-2020), the grant targeted students in the 4th and 5th grades. During Year 3 (2020-2021), the grant targets students in the 5th and 6th grades. The schools in the grant include four elementary schools within the Yonkers Public Schools: Martin Luther King Jr. Academy, Eugenio Maria de Hostos, School 22 and Family School 32. The grant also includes two (2) archdiocese schools, St. Anthony’s and St. Peter’s; and 3 independent schools, The Andalusia School, Andrus Orchard School and Stein Yeshiva). There are up to 18 teachers and 9 principals within the Yonkers LTG. This project has the possibility of reaching future iterations of students as the professional development and grant associated activities are turnkeyed to other teachers and schools, as lesson plans, curriculum development and pedagogy are shared, and as students move through their respective grades.
The City of Yonkers and the Yonkers Public Schools at a Glance
Yonkers is one of the most diverse cities in the region and New York State with more than 200,000 residents and slightly more than 27,000 students within the Yonkers Public Schools. Nearly half of all households (46%) speak a language other than English and the school district comprises students from 100 geographical regions around the world (https://www.yonkersny.gov; World Population Review, 2019). Within the school district, 59% of students identify as Hispanic/Latino; 19% as Black/African American; 16% as white; 5% as Asian/Native Hawaiian/Pacific islander; and one percent of the population is identified as multi-racial. Eighteen percent of students are classified as students with disabilities (SWD) and 13% are multilingual learners (MLLs). Seventy-nine percent of families in the district are considered economically disadvantaged and 1.5% are categorized as homeless/displaced students.
The Yonkers Public Schools is comprised of 39 schools, 32 of which have elementary grades in a PK-6 or PK-8 formation. Each of the schools has a thematic focus and is a magnetic school. The Yonkers Public Schools is recognized as of the few district-wide choice models in the United States, meaning that families may choose the schools that their children attend regardless of where they live in the city. Busing is provided for all elementary and middle school students.
Background and Scope of the Learning Technology Grant
Research has shown that experiential, real-world learning opportunities in which students construct knowledge in authentic settings, creates deep and effective learning experiences thereby enhancing retention and depth of learning. This LTG initiative addresses the instructional technology needs of students, teachers, and administrators while it also addresses other core issues such as providing high quality opportunities for students that require differentiated approaches to learning while attempting to incorporate students into settings that will promote success and foster collaboration (such as SWD and ELL populations, for example). The findings of a district-wide evaluation, conducted by the Executive Director of Social Studies, Science, Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, indicate that general education teachers require content and skills support in how to integrate Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) into their instructional practice. The project focus is to effectively integrate technology into classrooms to facilitate collaboration, deep thought, and engagement for teachers and students across both the public and non-public schools participating in the proposed grant activities. Professional development activities associated with this project are designed to support school leaders and teachers in the development of unique and motivating student learning opportunities both inside and outside of the classroom.
For More Information on the NYSED Learning Technology Grant
Visit the New York State Education Department website at http://nysed.gov/edtech/learning-technology-grant-winners-2018-2021