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Chromebooks for all

Steilacoom elementary school receives DoD grant

Students at Saltar’s Point Elementary in Steilacoom … psyched to be using their Chromebooks. Photo credit: Steilacoom School District

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Technology in the classroom is vital to educating today's students to understand the challenges of the future. To this end, educators at Saltar's Point Elementary School recently took delivery of an additional 252 Chromebooks for use in their classrooms.

The school is the first in the Steilacoom Historical School District to achieve a 1:1 student-to-computer ratio, thanks to a Department of Defense grant. The grant also provides for additional Chromebooks to students and staff at Chloe Clark Elementary and Pioneer Middle School this year.

Funding for the Chromebooks came from a five-year, $1.25 million Department of Defense Education Activity Grant titled the MASTER Project (Mastering Math Achievement Standards through Technology & Educational Resources). The school district competed for the grant, and was one of only two Washington State school districts to receive it.

"We believe Steilacoom was selected to receive the grant because of our specific grant goals and the previous work and partnership with our Joint Base Lewis-McChord and military community," wrote Laurie Vallieres, assistant principal at Saltar's Point.

As to the MASTER Project, it focuses on two strategies.

The first is to increase the professional development of teachers and parents on the use of technology tools and inquiry-based mathematics to sharpen problem-solving abilities, deepen understanding, and evaluation of their work. Over the next four years, teachers will participate in professional development around problem-based learning in mathematics.

The second strategy seeks to increase learning opportunities for military-connected students by providing greater access to on-line mathematics curriculum and resources. Forty-two percent of the district's students are military-connected.

The strength of the MASTER Project rests in introducing the program Mathematical Habits of Mind to elementary students.

"Teachers in the elementary environments will now have the opportunity to increase their learning in the Mathematical Habits of Mind," continued Vallieres. "We are transforming the way we teach math, and this allows students additional tools, like a Chromebook, to use as resources as they become college and career-ready."

Vallieres also pointed out that the Chromebooks can also be used in other disciplines as a learning tool, and she emphasized that the Chromebook is a supplemental tool and does not replace the teacher.

"The Steilacoom staff works hard each day to ensure students are engaged in learning," concluded Vallieres.

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