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Smart Start Grant

#GC19-010

OU BOCES Smart Start Grant Program Title 

Research, Create, Collaborate, and Communicate (R3C):Train–the-Trainer Ed. Tech. Pipeline

I. Program Overview

The R3C program will focus on professional development (PD) to increase teachers’ expertise in educational technology through a train-the-trainer model on a large-scale. The R3C program’s innovative design provides PD and support to teachers that will result in an action oriented, technology-infused learning experience for every K-8 student in our Smart Start Consortium service area. R3C will focus on supporting teachers with PD in educational technology that will empower them to put researching, creating, communicating, and collaboration at the heart of the students’ instructional experience. R3C will provide teachers with skills and capacities that will help them prepare students for engagement in New York’s digitally dominated workforce, education, and civic arenas. The R3C program will provide teachers with advanced PD that builds their expertise in educational technology and thus allows them to better engage in digital pedagogy that improves students’ capacity to learn and specifically create, research, communicate, and collaborate digitally. In keeping with the focus on researching, creating, communicating, and collaborating, the program will maintain a web presence to share our learning, experiences, and materials so others may build expertise in their schools. The R3C program’s target population is 500 teachers who teach in the OU BOCES (OUB) service area, who will then turn-key training to all 3619 teachers in their schools, having an impact on 42,670 students in the two-county area where our consortium members reside. These students need to be prepared to enter a changing work environment. The region has many family farms that are closing and those that remain are modernizing to maximize efficiency. The two-county area is striving to attract new forms of business. New resorts and casinos have opened recently that need digital e-work force skills to run these high-tech tourism facilities. Other economic strongholds and emerging sectors include life sciences (including healthcare), advanced manufacturing, and information technology.

Of the fourteen school districts and one BOCES that make up our Consortium, thirteen are located in a mix of rural and suburban areas. The remaining district is the city of Middletown. With a population of 27,815 (according to the most recent US Census data available), Middletown is the 29th largest city in New York State. The fourteen districts serve a total of 42,670 students K-12 and 27,700 students K-8. There is a total of 52 K-8 schools in these participating districts and a grand total of 80 K-12 schools in the participating districts. The percentage of students that are economically disadvantaged in the fourteen districts is 41%.
(data.nysed.gov, most recent data available).

The strengths in our community include the relative proximity to New York City and the beauty of the area. About 50-60 miles from the city and bordered by the Hudson River, the area provides many attractions for visitors including wineries, mountains, and the Storm King Art Center, to name just a few. The challenge we face is that there are no large businesses that can provide employment opportunities. Rather, we are home to many farms and wineries, a major medical center, small advanced manufacturing enterprises, and a growing number of tourist attractions. All of the growing business enterprises are becoming more modernized and depend heavily on technology. We have planned this program to help our teachers to prepare our students for their futures in these kinds of working environments.

Rather than focusing on instructing teachers in particular technologies, we plan to help them to build classrooms where students use technology much as it is used in business environments: to research, create, collaborate, and communicate. As students grow accustomed to working in these environments, it will be natural for them to seamlessly transition to the modern-day workplace.

The goal of our program is to provide an A+ technology-infused learning experience for every K-8 student in our consortium. We will accomplish this by training 100 teachers per year for five years, and to prepare them to turn-key the PD to other teachers in their school and/or district. The major components of the program are four seminars each year, followed up by support sessions to assist the teachers’ preparation of their turn-key trainings. The four seminars will focus on the four components: Research, Create, Collaborate and Communicate and how to use technology in the classroom to promote those skills among students.

II. Program Contact Information

For questions or additional information, please contact the Smart Start Grant Lead, Dr. Diane E. Lang, Director of Instructional Support Services or Colleen Hamel, Executive Assistant of Instructional Support Services.
Telephone: (845) 781-4363, ext 10715
E-mail: Diane Lang or Colleen Hamel

III. Award Amount

Orange-Ulster BOCES is pleased to be awarded this grant in the amount of $365,074 per year for a total of five years.

IV. Outline of Planned Program

Orange-Ulster BOCES will utilize this grant to design and deliver professional learning seminars utilizing a “train-the-trainer” model. The seminars will focus on educational technology particularly in regard to researching, creating, collaborating and communicating. Seminars for each of these four topics will be delivered annually and follow-up meetings will be held for turnkey trainers to provide an opportunity for collaboration and data feedback. At the conclusion of each annual term, a review of successes and challenges will be conducted.

Year 1 

Planning and collaboration with Professional Development and Support Providers (PDSP)
Identification of train-the-trainer participants
Research Seminar
Create Seminar
Collaborate Seminar
Communicate Seminar
Evolution/Data Support
Professional Learning Communities (PLCs)
Evaluation and Planning for Yr 2

Year 2 

Identification of train-the-trainer participants
Research Seminar
Create Seminar
Collaborate Seminar
Communicate Seminar
Evolution/Data Support
PLCs
Evaluation and Planning for Yr 3

Year 3 

Identification of train-the-trainer participants
Research Seminar
Create Seminar
Collaborate Seminar
Communicate Seminar
Evolution/Data Support
PLCs
Evaluation and Planning for Yr 4

Year 4 

Identification of train-the-trainer participants
Research Seminar
Create Seminar
Collaborate Seminar
Communicate Seminar
Evolution/Data Support
PLCs
Evaluation and Planning for Yr 5

Year 5 

Identification of train-the-trainer participants
Research Seminar
Create Seminar
Collaborate Seminar
Communicate Seminar
Evolution/Data Support
PLCs
Evaluation of Yr 1-Yr 5

V. Districts Participating

There are 14 districts and one BOCES participating in the program.  They are:
Cornwall CSD,
Florida UFSD,
Goshen CSD,
Greenwood Lake UFSD,
Highland Falls-Fort Montgomery CSD,
Enlarged City School District of Middletown,
Kiryas Joel CSD,
Marlboro CSD,
Minisink Valley CSD,
Monroe-Woodbury CSD,
Pine Bush CSD,
Tuxedo UFSD,
Valley Central CSD, 
Washingtonville CSD, & 
OU BOCES

VI. Year 1 Shared Smart Start Courses & Materials

This year, we were excited to work with over 100 teachers to help learn about the new NYS Digital Fluency Standards and innovative ways to support and teach educators and students how to implement the NYS Digital Fluency Standards in their classrooms and in real life.

We have developed courses to build the capacity of NYS educators to more digital fluency forward in our schools.

Learn more by viewing and trying the materials below:

For K-8 Educators

Bringing the NYS Digital Fluency Learning Standards to Life by Having Students use Technology to Create
Our students' future careers will be steeped in technology. In December 2020, the Board of Regents adopted the K12 Computer Science and Digital Fluency Learning Standards with the goal of preparing students for this technology-enhanced future. This course is part of OU BOCES' R3C Smart Start Grant project designed to support students and teachers becoming digitally fluent by using technology to Research, Create, Collaborate, and Communicate. While students often use technology, too often they do so in the passive mode. They are watching presentations and clicking through practice questions - they are consuming content someone else created. However, the act of creating is where the higher-level and more interesting thinking is. This course helps you dig into how students' tech-enhanced creating aligns to the Digital Fluency Learning Standards. This course will also help you to plan for supporting your students to use technology in more rigorous ways.

Introduction Slideshow: R3C Project Introduction Slides
Slideshow #2: Using Technology to Create
Slideshow #3: Examples of Student Creating with Technology
Course Assessment Task: Course Assessment for Bringing the NYS Digital Fluency Learning Standards to Life by Having Students use Technology to Create

For K-8 Administrators

Bringing the NYS Digital Fluency Learning Standards to Life with School Level Leadership
Our students' future careers will be steeped in technology. In December 2020, the Board of Regents adopted the K12 Computer Science and Digital Fluency Learning Standards with the goal of preparing students for this technology-enhanced future. OU BOCES' R3C Smart Start Grant project, which this course is part of, is designed to support students and teachers becoming digitally fluent by using technology to Research, Create, Collaborate, and Communicate. In this course, you will explore the NYS K12 Computer Science and Digital Fluency Learning Standards, determine how these standards fit into your school's vision, strategize for building awareness of the need for digital fluency, and plan to support the push toward digital fluency for students, teachers, and your larger school community.

Course Slideshow:  Leading the Way
Course Assessment Task: Course Assessment Task for Bringing the NYS Digital Fluency Learning Standards to Life with School Level Leadership