New Jersey Schools to Use Lightpath Grants for Innovative Projects

Lightpath, the renamed Cablevision business entity that used to be called Optimum Lightpath, has an annual program that provides grants to schools to upgrade their technologies. Schools apply for the grants, specifying what they would do with the money if it was awarded to them.

The winning schools were selected by an independent panel of three judges from local colleges. All applications were made anonymous so as not to influence the judging process. Submissions were awarded based on how the proposed programs would improve instruction, enhance the overall education experience, utilize new technologies to promote learning and establish new school initiatives. The 2012 program was open to any New Jersey public and private elementary and secondary school located within Cablevision’s service area.

Funds will be used to purchase devices and applications to help in everything from basic literacy to letting students communicate in real time with a foreign buddy and, in one case, the grant will support an Astronomical Video Imaging Project.

Here are the winners.

University Heights Charter School in Newark (Essex County)’s $10,000 grant from Lightpath will help it fund its Innovatively Increasing English Language Arts Engagement and Achievement (3IEEA) program. 3IEEA provides students with access to technology that helps them increase overall level of engagement and produce measurable achievement gains in English Language Arts. 24 Apple iPads will be rolled out to help students interact with a broad selection of texts in dynamic ways. Adaptive applications will tailor these tests to each student’s specific reading level and interests, improving engagement, reducing frustration and accelerating reading growth. Real-time diagnostic assessment tools will give teachers up to date information on student progress and areas that need improvement.

Cedar Drive Middle School located in Colts Neck (Monmouth County) received a $10,000 grant from Lightpath to fund a lab that will be used to participate in the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) program. This worldwide, hands-on distance learning program lets students collaborate on inquiry-based investigations of the environment, working in close partnership with NASA, NOAA and NSF scientists. Cedar Drive Middle School students will investigate the local environmental issue of watershed management. They will monitor the streams, ponds and reservoir in town to track water quality.

PANTHER Academy Paterson (Passaic County) will use its $10,000 grant from Lightpath to help fund its Astronomical Video Imaging Project (AVIP). Students will spend a minimum of 120 hours per year engaged in hands-on experiences with data communications while learning important concepts associated with science and astronomy. Students will learn specific skills necessary for success in earth science, astronomy and digital technology, including digital imaging, coaxial and fiber optic communications, and lunar and planetary sciences. New equipment that will be purchased to support the program includes a reflector telescope, a computer system for storing and transmitting astronomical images, an imaging lab, and additional supporting program components.

Charles J. Riley School #9 Paterson (Passaic County) will use the $10,000 grant to help fund a mobilized Apple iPad learning lab that will make 20 of the tablet devices available across the school’s many classrooms. As a result, more students will gain exposure to important technology that will help better prepare them for their future studies.  Students will use the iPad to create video, conduct research for class projects, access interactive math tutorials and take advantage of digital storytelling, editing and writing. The program is expected to impact more than 500 students.

The Wardlaw-Hartridge School of Edison (Middlesex County)$ 10,000 Lightpath grant to help fund its Global Study Partners Project. Students are paired with peers in another country to learn about the United Nations, including environmental, political and social issues. Interactive white boards, online collaboration software and Apple iPads will be introduced to give students everything they need to interact with a foreign buddy. The overall goal of the program is to help students become “global citizens” with the skills and knowledge needed to understand the most pressing challenges that the world faces.

Macopin Middle School West Milford (Passaic County) will use the $10,000 grant to help fund two math-based programs. One program will help students practice and reinforce basic math skills, giving them the learning foundation needed to tackle more advanced concepts. The second program, Flipping Over Mathematics, will use a blended learning approach to engage students by incorporating the digital world in a productive manner.  At home, students will view instructional videos created by their teachers. When they come to school, teachers will be able to dedicate more time to one-to-one, individualized learning based on the lesson viewed. In both programs, Apple iPads and a mix of educational applications will be used as the supporting technology.

 Milltown Primary School i Bridgewater (Somerset County) will use the $5,000 grant from Lightpath to integrate tablet devices throughout its entire first grade curriculum. Each student will receive a device to access applications that will help them improve fluency and expression skills, publish writing to the Web, learn math interactively and collaboratively with other students, and view media content that complements classroom learning. Additionally, a webcam will be purchased that will allow the first graders to interact with students around the world.

Wemrock Brook School in Manalapan (Monmouth County) will use the $5,000 grant to support its Integrating Technology Across the Curriculum program, introducing Apple iPads into the school’s classrooms. A variety of available learning applications will be used to help struggling readers increase level of fluency, allow students to interact with content they read via e-books, improve math problem skills, and offer the opportunity to publish original material to the Web.

Midland Park High School in Midland Park (Bergen County) Midland Park High School will use the $5,000 grant to upgrade the ten year old technology that helps power its broadcasting program. Students at Midland Park High School will be able to take advantage of tablet device and laptop-based video editing software, giving them an opportunity to learn with standard industry tools at an early age. Students will create videos to help aid instruction in the school and teachers will be able to request a video to be produced to supplement curriculum content.

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