DANFORTH, Maine — For its use of technology in the classroom, East Grand School is one of five finalists for the State Education Technology Directors Association’s (SETDA) annual Student Voices Award,
The award highlights schools leveraging technology for project-based learning and workforce development.
According to East Grand Principal Margaret “Peggy” White, the school developed its own project-based learning curriculum and educators share that as a result of shifting to this model, which intentionally integrates technology, they have seen students become more willing to take risks, be more persistent when challenged by learning, show empathy and encourage others more readily, and communicate more efficiently when working in groups.
The curriculum is designed to build a sense of and an appreciation of place (grades 6-8) and community (grades 9-10), as well as a sense of self (grades 11-12). The goal is to empower students to have the skills and self-knowledge to choose a life-pathway they are passionate about and can build upon for a successful future.
The learning process also helps students realize the great potential of the area in which they live and the strength of the people around them. Because of the plentiful natural resources in the area, much of the curriculum ties into and connects the students with outdoor experiences. These experiences develop science and social studies skills as well as workforce development skills like persistence, resilience, and thinking flexibly.
Some examples of project-based learning include:
Habits of Mind: The “Habits of Mind” project introduces students to a number of attributes and practices that they will use throughout their years at the school (and in life!).
Field Guide Project: Students created a field guide to the local area, highlighting human, natural, and civic structures. They gathered information through field trips and interviews and used to technology to create a guide that could be shared widely. View the Field Guide
Latvis Project: During the Latvis Project, each educator develops a project idea and students choose one to join for the month. All are community-based and help students develop skills that would be great for future jobs. East Grand received the “Service Above Self” award from the Houlton Rotary Club for these projects.
Dream Team: A subset of high school students also participate in the “Dream Team” and learn to lead the school’s Virtual Reality Makerspace – helping them gain both technical and leadership skills. More information about the Dream Team is in another answer.
Additionally, this site was made by East Grand students and educators to share what they do with other educators when they hosted a Learning Design Lab in March: https://bit.ly/2XyR8o9
The winner of the Student Voices Award will be announced on June 22 and will be invited to join the SETDA conference in Washington, DC in November.
East Grand is Pre-K to 12 school located in Danforth, ME (on the borders of Aroostook and Washington counties) and is home to 140 students. The school’s culture and learning environments are highly student-centered and is connected to the small, rural community. It has a strong and supportive superintendent and a group of educator leaders that foster student leadership and student ownership of learning across the PK-12 school.