Hillside schools go digital

HILLSIDE, NJ — With the national emphasis on science and technology, Hillside Public Schools will be issuing each student in grades six to 12 a new Chromebook this coming school year.

Previously, classrooms were allotted a certain number of Chromebooks to be shared by students, but now each student will be using their own personal Chromebooks in school, as well as being able to bring them home to use for homework assignments.

According to Christy Oliver Hawley, director of Curriculum and Instruction for Hillside Public Schools, the initiative is a huge leap forward for the district. “This initiative places these Chromebooks in the hands of all middle- and high-school students,” Hawley told LocalSource in a phone call. “Our goal is to personalize learning for our students, and this is our goal for the 21st-century learner.”

Hawley said that the district’s curriculum will be augmented to align with the new technology. “We’re taking the curriculum we currently have and aligning it with this new technology,” she said.

The new technology has also prompted a new technology curriculum, along with a new STEM program.

Antoine L. Gayles, Hillside Superintendent of Schools, said that he is excited about the initiative. “The Hillside Board of Education is committed to ensuring that our students are equipped with the latest technology tools to enhance the learning environment in the classroom and beyond,” said Gayles in a statement. “This initiative will expand students’ horizons and their ability to access information and new ideas.”

Gayles said that the Chromebook initiative is the next step for the students of the future. “Education is evolving for the 21st-century learner, and technology is the pen and paper of our 21st century learner,” said Gayles.

Teachers will play an integral role in the effective use of technology by engaging in continuous professional growth by investigating and integrating current technologies. This summer, several teachers participated in professional development activities on incorporating Google Classroom and modeling the appropriate, safe, legal and ethical use of digital information and technology.

The district will be sharing more information about the new technology at Walter O. Krumbiegel Middle School’s Back-to-School Night on Tuesday, Sept. 13, and at Hillside High School’s Back-to-School Night on Thursday, Sept. 29.