Category: Community Published on Thursday, 19 September 2013 02:34 Written by C.L. Price
Access to technology is the modern day differentiator between the haves and have-nots in Amer-ica. At Schulze Elementary-Middle school, its 800 students are defi-nitely among the most privileged learners in Detroit. Surrounded by technology in every classroom, Schulze students are taught from an individualized curriculum that teaches them to become success-ful problem solvers. The model is as good for its stu-dents as it is for Detroit.
Walk into any classroom at Schulze Academy, and you will be greeted with an energetic salute by every student. Dr. Brenda Lyons has been the Prin-cipal at Schulze for seven years and is extremely passion-ate about ensuring her students are confident, success-ful and driven lead-ers.Named after the donation of land from Mr. Frederick J. Schulze, the school has been trans-formed into Schulze Academy for Tech-nology and the Arts. During the im-plementation of the reform/redesign plans mandated by the Michigan Depart-ment of Education, the Instructional Leadership Team put into place a small-er ‘school within a school’ concept for a Leadership Academy for grades 6-8.
The Barack Obama Leadership Acad-emy requires recommendations from teachers addressing why students are eligible for the Leadership Academy. Students must also have excellent grades, exceptional attendance and positive behavior. To keep students focused on their coursework, single-gender classes begin when students enter the fourth grade and extend through the eighth grade.
Infused with tech tools
The well-rounded curriculum at Schulze incorporates a technolo-gy-rich environment with state-of-the-art equipment available in every class-room. Schulze has a Computer Lab that enables students to become acquaint-ed with both HP and Apple programs so that students have the proper skill sets to operate either program in their aca-demic and professional careers.
Smart Boards, Clickers and Slates are tools that teach-ers incorporate into their lesson plans. Slates have become a very helpful learn-ing tool because they allow teach-ers to walk around the classroom and engage students who may not be sitting at the front of the room, as opposed to being re-stricted to the tradition-al chalk board. “Technology is so important to stu-dents because they gravitate toward it, whether they are at home or school, and it gets them very engaged in what they are doing to stimulate their minds,” says Cooper.
Ensuring all students receive the education they need
One attractive feature that Schulze parents appreciate is the additional as-sistance offered to students who need a bit more attention in certain subject areas. Schulze has two Reading Recov-ery teachers who are available to assist first-grade students struggling with reading. Their goal is to ensure the stu-dents are proficient by the time they begin second grade. “Ms. Jackson is the Corrective Reading teacher. However, she likes to refer to herself as a Reading Interventionist.
She works with the fourth- and fifth-grade students who may not be reading at grade-level and helps them get back on track so they can have a successful learning experience,” says Principal Lyons. “Schulze is about closing the achievement gap so that all students receive the education they need.” Fourth-graders who strug-gle with the curriculum engage in Scientific Learning, a web-based program that en-courages both the right and left sides of the brain to work together.
Through the pro-gram, students use the computer to listen to sounds and answer questions in order to stimulate both sides of the brain to function simultaneously. In addition to offering a technolo-gy-rich academic program, Schulze is also an African-Centered school. “Hold your head high” is the motto at Schul-ze, and Principal Lyons says that being an African-Centered school helps to give students a boost of confidence.
What’s new at Schulze?
Incoming students have been in-troduced to Gaggle, a student email system that has been programmed on all Netbooks utilized daily by students. Aside from being a student email pro-vider, Gaggle has several popular fea-tures for communication and collab-oration all within a safe, filtered, and controlled environment.
Gaggle’s collection of tools include Digital Lockers, Discussion Boards, Chat Rooms, Blogs, Profile Pages, Assignment Drop Boxes, Calendars, a Social Wall, GaggleTube, Zoho Docs, and filtered texting.
Schulze students will also be able to utilize Gaggle as a form of social media to communicate with other classmates, teachers and even Principal Lyons.
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