WESTFIELD, NJ – The Westfield Board of Education finalized its 2017-18 budget, set at $103,481,072, on Tuesday night. According to the board’s analysis, there is an increase of $2,111,582 from the previous year. 

Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum Paul Pineiro joined master tech teachers during Tuesday’s meeting to provide an update on instructional technology in the district.

The presentation was outlined to explain the SAMR framework, provide highlights from the classroom and present the new three-year technology plan starting in September.

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SAMR (an acronym for substitution, augmentation, modification and redefinition) is the district’s tool for assessing the use of instructional technology, according to Pineiro.

The monitoring framework shows teachers and administrators where and how “technology can be used as an enhancement and work its way up to something that’s more transformational,” Pineiro said.

K-8 master technology teacher Jeanine Gottko shared examples of her students’ work, including a website explaining diabetes and the artificial pancreas developed by a Westfield fifth grader.

“It’s an actual website, not just a program that they used. It’s a website that can be published to the web, provides them with an authentic audience – worldwide if we wanted it to be – where they can not only just type and add images and videos,” Gottko said.

At the high school level, master tech teacher Adam Pizzi shared how students implement Google Hangouts and Skype to collaborate in language arts and social studies classes. (Click here for video.)

Additionally, Westfield High School teachers had students illustrate critical thinking with regards to one of the high school’s most important projects.

“[English] teachers had the kids build their own websites that captured their process and approach of the Junior research paper,” Pizzi said. “It’s a big deal for the juniors at the high school. It allowed the kids to illustrate and demonstrate their process as they went through the JRP to the teacher and to their peers.”

The 2017-2020 technology plan for Westfield’s school district encompasses two main goals: 

  • Support teachers and administrators in their continued growth in the use of technology and
  • Enhance learning through integration of technology

Although initially deemed “broad,” the goals include launching a new district web site, phasing out Edline, increasing access to technology with new devices and establishing a benchmark for instructional units.