In the fall of 2016, the Colonial Fund supported the renovation of the High School Television Studio, using some of the $83,000 in donations received during the 2015-16 school year. These funds came from a combination of direct giving, proceeds from the First Annual Farmer's Market and Artisan Fair and the annual Road Scholars Race. See here for more details.
High School Educational Television Studio (ETS) upgrade ($32,000)
Most equipment in the TV Studio is 14 years old and has not been upgraded since the High School was opened in 2002. An upgrade to HD would increase the reliability of ETS broadcast transmissions and allow the adoption of current broadcast/cablecast technology standards.
ETS is one of the district’s longest-running examples of Project-Based Learning environments. For more than twenty years, ETS has been an important link between the Shrewsbury Public School system and the community. Students involved in the studio produce a wide range of programs that are cablecast on Shrewsbury Media Connection’s (SMC) educational access channel. Student-produced news, educational, artistic and documentary programs connect the community with the schools and the schools with each other. ETS students cover events in every school and at every grade level and provide support for classroom teaching through the production of educational videos. ETS also provides important vocational training for students interested in pursuing careers in video production, journalism and television as well as significant opportunities for students to express their creative and artistic visions.
- The Educational Television Studio is currently able to cablecast programming from the Shrewsbury High School television studio in standard definition (SD) but the resulting broadcast has black bars on each side of the picture, resulting in a smaller picture that appears to be poor in quality on most HD television sets at home.
- The outdated equipment is impeding on the vocational education of ETS students who are considering Communication, Film, and Broadcast Journalism careers because they are not working with equipment that meets current standards.
- Shrewsbury Media Connection is currently able to re-cablecast our SD programs, although SMC is currently broadcasting an HD signal. However, they need to convert the format of every program prior to cablecasting so that they air properly and the resulting look of the conversion is again a smaller video on a large screen that appears somewhat blurry.
- Upgrading ETS to HD would provide increased reliability that would allow for unique opportunities for innovation and collaboration with all schools that is not currently available to the school district. This would result in a greater sense of community between all schools. ?
- By upgrading the control room to HD, we will have a reliable transmission to both the town cable and the school district.
- ETS would again be able to continue to provide consistent, high-quality programming to the town.
- Numerous possibilities exist for utilizing the new equipment in conjunction with our network video distribution system to reliably transmit in-district programming to all schools, promoting 21st century skills such as Creativity and Innovation, Communication and Collaboration, Critical Thinking, Problem Solving and Decision Making, and Research and Information Fluency.
Equipment Purchased (total $32,000):
- TriCaster Portable switcher
- 2 HD Cameras with SDI output (Serial Digital Interface)
- Digital recorder
- Switcher panel- compatible with the TriCaster
- Digital Audio mixer ?
- 2 HD Video Monitors (at least 24 “) ?
- Wireless headset System ?
- HD Video Monitors (donated by Shrewsbury Media Connection)
For examples of the work ETS has produced, please visit here.
Other projects that the Colonial Fund has supported include:
Elementary digital classroom pilot
In January, we piloted a program in select 4th grade elementary classrooms. Each classroom had a ratio of one iPad for every two students. The iPads were used with interactive white board projectors for innovative learning experiences and engagement in the classroom.
Interactive projector installation
We completed the purchase of several interactive projectors (part of an interactive white board system) for our elementary classrooms, two years ahead of schedule. All primary classrooms in grades K-4 now have these valuable, multi-media tools.
WiFi infrastructure at Shrewsbury High School
We were preparing Shrewsbury High School for a 1:1 technology implementation in the 2015-2016 school year. The school’s network infrastructure was enhanced that spring to allow sufficient access for 1600+ students and teachers to connect to the Internet and access online educational content, video, and applications.
Expansion of the 4th Grade Digital Classroom Pilot.
In 2014, there was one 4th grade classrooms at each of our elementary schools participating in the Digital Classroom Initiative pilot program. Each classroom was given 1 iPad for every 2 students the previous spring, in an effort to determine how we might enhance the 4th grade curriculum through technology. In 2015, an additional cart with iPads was purchased for each elementary school, to give more access to technology to 4th graders.
Purchase of 24 multimedia classroom projectors for the High School
New projectors were purchased to replace outdated projectors. The new projectors allow for multiple devices, such as iPads, which all High School students and faculty now have, to connect and share students' work.
An expanded subscription to LightSail, for our Middle Schools.
In 2014, a subscription to LightSail was purchased and piloted in one 5th, 6th,7th, and 8th grade classroom. In 2015, the entire 5th grade was given access to LightSail, a library of over 80,000 digital fiction and non-fiction books available to students, based on their reading level. Teachers can see student progress in comprehension and writing as well as statistics about time and pages read. Students can see their own progress, which helps motivate their reading.
STEM-related classroom supplies for our Kindergarten and Preschool
Our Kindergarten and Preschool classrooms were given STEM-related supplies such as Engineer-a-coaster Activity Kit, Stand-up Magnetic Design Center, Design and Build Engineering Center and STEM Early Learning Kit.
Showing of Most Likely To Succeed
The Colonial Fund sponsored the showing of the movie Most Likely to Succeed to parents and educators around the district. The Colonial Fund also sponsored the panel discussion afterwards.
Sponsored Will Richardson Talk
Mr. Richardson spoke about the important and complex changes and shifts that come with 24/7 access to the Web, and the new world of connected, networked, self-directed learning and creating, which has huge implications for schools. Parents were asked to be a part of the discussion on how to best prepare our students for a changing world.