Port St. Lucie and Fort Pierce Westwood High Schools to Pilot Learning Innovation

Port St. Lucie and Fort Pierce Westwood High Schools to Pilot Learning Innovation

ST. LUCIE COUNTY – St. Lucie Public Schools (SLPS) launches Access Now, a pilot program to support anytime/anywhere learning and access to content which supports students’ college and career readiness skills. This initiative includes a laptop distributed to every student and teacher at Port St. Lucie High School and Fort Pierce Westwood High School. With distribution slated to begin on September 8th, there is tremendous excitement in the air. According to Superintendent E. Wayne Gent, “Supporting teaching and learning through these workforce tools and networks is a fundamental shift which also supports the mission of SLPS which is to ensure all students graduate from safe and caring schools, equipped with the knowledge, skills and desire to succeed.

SLPS is providing Dell 5450 laptops to each student and instructor at the two high schools. The devices will be used at school, at home, and in the community for school assignments and educational purposes. The laptops have solid state technology, are loaded with the full Microsoft Office Suite, and can run wireless anywhere. Access to these devices will empower and educate students as well as expand teaching and learning opportunities beyond the walls of the classroom.

The Access Now program will provide students not only with a device, but also individualized, blended, interactive curriculum. Teachers will be able to personalize instruction for their students to address individual needs and learning styles. In addition, students will use various online tools and resources to collaborate and communicate with their classmates and teachers.

The laptops will be loaned to each student at the beginning of the school year and must be returned at the end of the year.  Students will be made aware of the expectations and responsibilities that come with the care and use of the devices and the requirement that laptops must be brought to school every day. Several safety measures have also been put in place. Each laptop is equipped with a filtering system that protects students from inappropriate sites and blocks them from certain social media outlets. The laptops can also be shut down remotely should they be lost or stolen. Most importantly will be the cyber safety and digital citizenship lessons and resources provided to students and their parents.

“Helping students understand the responsibility associated with being good citizens applies to the real world and to the digital world,” explained Gent. What students do online can leave a permanent digital footprint. A spur of the moment decision such as posting a funny picture or sharing an angry post can resurface years later, and if they are not careful, their reputations can be forever damaged.  Increasingly, colleges and employers are checking social media sites to screen their potential applicants.  In addition, a negative digital footprint can adversely affect a student’s potential future livelihood.  “This is why it is vitally important that we continue to educate the whole child and build strong partnerships between home and school,” said Gent.

SLPS is launching this pilot in two of its high schools this year with plans to expand the initiative to other schools in future years.

About St. Lucie Public Schools

The mission of St. Lucie Public Schools is to ensure all students graduate from safe and caring schools equipped with the knowledge, skills and desire to succeed. For more information visit St. Lucie Public Schools’ website www.stlucieschools.org ; Facebook www.facebook.com/stlucieschools; Twitter@StLucieSchools; or contact Kerry Padrick at kerry.padrick@stlucieschools.org.