2015-08-27 / Opinion

Students Need Digital Classrooms

To the Editor:

The start of a new school year is always an exciting time in our community. This year, when we open our doors to students on Sept. 2, we’ll also welcome the introduction of 1,100 new laptop computers to support the ongoing digital transformation of our classrooms. It’s a proud moment for the school district!

We all know that technology continues to play an increasingly vital role in how we learn, work, communicate, collaborate, and problem-solve. This is especially true for our young learners; ensuring our schools have the tools they need to prepare our students to learn and thrive in the digital world is more important today than ever.

Middletown Public Schools purchased the laptops as part of our longstanding commitment to bringing each and every one of our classrooms into the Digital Age – a four-year plan outlined in our Capital Improvement Program. These computers will allow our teachers to engage students in more collaborative, innovative learning environments. They will give all of our students equal opportunity to learn a wide range of skills necessary to succeed, both in the classroom and, later, in the challenging and fast-paced professional world.

Not only that, but the laptops will also be an important tool in ensuring our students are successful when they take the new Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exams.

The PARCC exam aims to measure whether students are prepared for success in college and in the professional workforce – and these exams are almost entirely computer-based. It is not enough to have just a few pieces of technology available for occasional student use. To sufficiently prepare our students for these digital exams – and for the fast-paced, ever–evolving digital world – we need enough resources to ensure each and every student can comfortably and confidently master digital technology. By integrating digital learning now, we will grow students’ familiarity with utilizing technology for their study and exploration.

As the Superintendent of Middletown Public Schools, I am thrilled to join the School Committee in making a strong investment in our teachers and students. This equipment will allow our outstanding teachers to transform their classroom into student-driven digital learning environments. It puts our district’s schools on par with the best, most advanced schools in Rhode Island, across New England, and around the country. It brings new excitement and purpose to student learning.

Simply put, this investment is a cause for celebration in Middletown. I applaud the members of the School Committee for their leadership, and I thank our teachers and staff for doing what they always do: eorking tirelessly to prepare our students to reach their full potential.

We look forward to a successful school year.

Rosemarie K. Kraeger
Middletown Public Schools

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