Thursday, April 3, 2008


Curtis, D (2003, January 24). A remarkable transformation: Union city public schools. Retrieved April 2, 2008, from Edutopia Web site:

This article is such an inspiration! Not only that, but it confirms my beliefs in the effectiveness of technology use in the classroom.

This article is about Union City Public Schools in New Jersey, who were failing academically and were close to being taken over by the state. When it came to state indicators, they were failing 44 out of 52 indicators. They then decided that something needed to change.

They adopted a new plan, which included heavy use of technology, and now 80% of the students are meeting state standards, compared to 30% before the new plan. (Curtis, 2003) What an increase!

What it took: “A combination of focused leadership, a comprehensive, research-based overhaul of the system, technology, teacher and community input, site-based decision-making, and more (and carefully targeted) money explain the turnaround” (Curtis, 2003).

The district changed from teacher centered classrooms to student centered classrooms. “Throughout the classrooms in Union City's eleven schools, the trend is to eliminate rows of desks facing a blackboard and passive students listening (or not) to forty-minute lectures. Students more likely will be working individually or in groups -- often at computers -- while the teacher circumnavigates the room, stopping to advise or confer when needed” (Curtis, 2003).

The use of computers helped in this major overhaul and the adoption of a research based curriculum:

"The Internet just broke down the walls of my classroom" (Curtis, 2003).

“Technology is what pushed it (their new plan) to great heights” (Curtis, 2003).

This proves what I’ve been talking about all along….the use of computers DOES make a difference! Computers are an effective classroom tool and will benefit our students in the long run.


Annette said...

Hi Jenn,
Your article is an interesting take on using technology. I would be interested to know what all went into this project such as how long it took to get where they are now, what the 'buy-in' to the idea was for teachers (since many are hesitant to using new things like technology), and what the classroom management looked like to train the students to completely change their learning processes daily.
It really seemed like a big project, but it sounds like it accomplished its goal...higher scores and more learning. This would be a great study for teachers to see in a 'movie format' or documentary to prove that not only technology, but 'teamwork' and 'working towards a common goal' for the sake of all of our digital children can prove to be beneficial.

Sabrina said...

Hey! I am back from my cruise and trying to catch up on everything! This article really was an inspiration Jenn. It makes me believe that good things can happen when we focus on the students and what is best for them. I think having students actively involved in their own learning helps to stay motivated and retain the information better. That is awesome that they were able to revamp the entire district like that. I also beleive that in order to really make our students successful for the future, technology must be a key factor in any educational changes. It is great to actually see the proof that it can be done! Thanks for sharing!