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Co-Nect Tech

It’s not very often when a middle school and a major corporation can join together in a partnership to develop a curriculum to be used by middle schools across America. Co-Nect, a Cambridge, Massachusetts based corporation, has chosen Ashland Middle School to work with their staff to develop a pilot program that integrates technology and project-based learning. This partnership has given our middle school teachers the opportunity to investigate, explore, discover, and create technology-based projects and programs that can be used by other middle school teachers across the country. Co-Nect is providing every teacher with access to a major educational web site. They have also provided the training necessary for teachers to effectively use the information they find to accommodate the different learning styles found in their classrooms. A task force of four (4) teachers has received additional training that allows them to help their colleagues better understand the magnitude of information available from the web site. These task force members are also offering after school Professional Development opportunities to both Middle School and High School teachers in all areas of computer usage.

Ashland Down Under

This Technology Literacy Project is the result of a grant received by the Middle School to promote student interest and involvement in technology. This school-wide project promises to be one of the most intriguing and student centered educational endeavors ever offered in a Massachusetts Middle School. Most projects of this nature are usually done by a single classroom teacher and incorporate only those students directly involved with that specific subject area. This project will not only include all of our students but will also branch-out across our entire curriculum.

“Ashland Down Under” is a project-based opportunity for 7th and 8th grade students to investigate the many aspects of water through personal observation and data gathering. This project is an inquiry-based Science project that integrates Technology, Math, Language Arts and Social Studies. Students will be collecting and analyzing surface water samples from Ashland’s water supply using MWRA and school test kits. The data collected will be assembled and presented to the community in a professional report and multi-media presentation.

The timeline for this project’s completion is June 2001. Throughout the spring and early summer we will be working as a school organizing our findings into an easy to understand final report. This is a tremendous undertaking and is a unique opportunity for our students to use critical thinking skills and problem solving techniques to discover the relationship between rainwater and drinking water.

Discovery Team

The need to continue a program of studies that parallels the “Neighborhood” concept now in operation at the Mindess School is the catalyst for the newly developed “Discovery Team.” A team of Middle School Teachers has been working after school and weekends over the past 10 months putting the finishing touches on a multi-grade team that will include both 7th and 8th graders working and learning together in the same classes.

The Middle School will have two uniquely different but similar teams in operation for the 2001-2002 school year. The “Quest Team” will offer students and parents the choice of a more traditional team concept with 7th and 8th graders attending classes with students at their own grade level. The “Discovery Team” will provide a different opportunity for students and parents to choose a team that has both 7th and 8th grades working together in the same classes.

Both teams will provide all students with the same middle school curriculum and core of knowledge needed for students to be properly prepared for the 9th grade. The educational components will be similar but the teaching techniques and strategies will be somewhat different.

More information about both teams will be provided to all our current 7th grade parents and students along with our current 6th grade parents and students during the month of March. In addition to this information, parent meetings will be scheduled to present information about each team and to answer any questions that parents might have about either team.