We received the grant in large part as a result of the commitment and contributions of three outstanding members of our team: Janet Creech, district resource teacher; Arlene Kolber, science department chair at Woodside; and David Shannon, robotics engineering teacher at Woodside. The following is the SUHSD press release prepared by Public Information Officer Bettylu Smith:
SEQUOIA DISTRICT RECEIVES HP INNOVATIONS IN EDUCATION GRANT
REDWOOD CITY, Calif., May 27, 2009 - It was announced today that an HP Innovations in Education grant has been awarded to the Sequoia Union High School District for use in employing science and technology as a springboard for student engagement at Woodside High School.
The HP Innovations in Education grant program is designed to help educators raise achievement in math and science among middle- and high-school students as well as to increase student awareness of high-tech college and career opportunities. The Sequoia district was selected as one of 25 school systems in the U.S. to receive the highly competitive grant, which includes HP technology, cash and professional services valued at more than $265,000 over the next two years.
"We are grateful and excited about receiving this prestigious award," said Pat Gemma, Sequoia district superintendent. "Recent changes and new initiatives at Woodside High School have been innovative and truly transformative. With the planned launch of the Green and Clean Academy in the new school year, completion of the new science and engineering wing earlier this year, the ongoing and award-winning robotics program, and now with the HP Innovations in Education grant, Woodside High School continues to break new ground. The school is filled with passionate, top-notch leaders and educators who are really pushing the boundaries when it comes to using science and technology to engage and prepare students to excel in a 21st century global society and workforce."
With the grant, Woodside will increase high-tech career awareness and training by offering new classes in environmental science, engineering and technology. The school's new Green and Clean Academy and a two-year engineering course in robotics engineering technology will offer pathways designed to engage students in life-changing, authentic inquiry and problem solving.
In particular, the HP grant will provide students the tools they need to be creative learners, said David Reilly, principal of Woodside High School.
"The majority of students who will be participating in these new classes are underrepresented in science and engineering, and many are removed from the education process as a whole," Reilly explained. "The new classes and equipment will promote the experience building and skill development in a particularly meaningful way for marginalized students. The skills they learn will also help lead to jobs in a much-needed area of growth for our country."
The grant will also enable launch of Woodside's new Service Learning Project.
"Through the Service Learning Project, we will foster change in the way teachers approach their profession," said Reilly. "We'll see enhancement of the role of teachers as facilitators and mentors. We'll see the student learning experience become even more focused on creatively applying concepts to real-life situations. We'll see project-based learning become more student-generated and interest driven, providing students with opportunities to grapple with real-life challenges - everything from limitations on time and money to failed attempts and ethical considerations.
"We are embarking on an adventure in teaching in which students will use real-world tools to solve real-world problems in engineering and the environment - problems that are both relevant and at the same time help prepare students for careers or acceptance to college," he added.
Nearly 300 students are expected to be involved in the new robotics and environmental science classes during the two-year grant period. This reach will broaden even further as part of the Service Learning Project, which involves Woodside students sharing their engineering and science projects with about 200 fourth-grade students through interactive design, virtual labs, webinars and video-cam feed.
As part of the grant, HP will be providing teachers and students with technologies such as wireless HP tablet PCs, wide-format HP DesignJet printers, high-power mobile workstations, mini-notebook PCs, and HP graphing calculators.
Worldwide, HP is investing more than $17 million in mobile technology, cash and professional development as part of the global 2009 HP Innovations in Education grant initiative. This initiative follows HP's five-year, $60 million investment in HP Technology for Teaching grants to more than 1,000 schools and universities in 41 countries. During the past 20 years, HP has contributed more than $1 billion in cash and equipment to schools, universities, community organizations and other nonprofit organizations around the world.
"Innovation is key to expanding education opportunity - and HP is privileged to collaborate with educators around the world who are committed to exploring the exciting possibilities that exist at the intersection of teaching, learning and technology," said Jim Vanides, worldwide program manager for HP Global Social Investments. "Emerging evidence from the last five years is very positive - excellent instruction combined with the right technologies is measurably improving student academic success."
More information about the 2009 HP Innovations in Education initiative and other global social investments is available at www.hp.com/go/grants.