2017 Student Voices Finalists

The SETDA Student Voices Award honors an outstanding K-12 school or district that has leveraged technology to dramatically improve the educational experiences and achievement of their students. Winners receive the Elsie Brumback Scholarship, which allows the winner to bring a team of students and educators to attend the annual SETDA Leadership Summit and tour Washington DC. SETDA also profiles the winning school/district at the Summit through presentations delivered by their students on stage in front of state and national education leaders. Please take a moment to view the Previous Winners.

2017 Finalists

Wilder School District, Idaho

Located in rural Southwest Idaho, Wilder serves approximately 486 students with 30 percent of its student population turning over yearly. Because of that high turnover rate, Wilder’s mission is to serve the individual needs of every student and provide them with the best opportunities while they are attending the school district. One of Wilder’s principal goals was to put devices in the hands of every Wilder student and leverage that technology to personalize their learning. In 2014, Wilder received a ConnectED grant with devices for every student and faculty member, professional development training, and significant infrastructure upgrades, including a new managed wireless service. The devices and robust Internet connectivity have provided Wilder’s students with the opportunity to become creators of information rather than consumers. Student-centered instruction remains Wilder’s principal focus. The device doesn’t replace what the teachers are doing, instead it enhances instruction. Wilder’s approach is working: Average math growth for Wilder’s K–5 students is 150% for the year • The average number of books read or listened to by Wilder’s K–5 students is 350 • Many of Wilder’s seniors have completed their course work for graduation early • 9th grade students are completing Algebra 1 in 15 weeks https://wilderschools.org/

Public Schools of Calumet, Laurium & Keweenaw, Michigan

Through Project G.R.A.C.E., high school students work alongside GIS professionals in an internship capacity. This is not something that has ever been possible for these remote upper peninsula students. Students use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to share what their community looked like during the copper boom, or taking the Keweenaw National Historic Park’s paper guide and making it into an “interactive StoryMap that park visitors can carry in their digital pockets.” They have also incorporated student safety into projects mapping “Complete Streets.” Students focus on problem solving and community impact. Most districts in the Upper Peninsula have a “school forest.” In middle school, through the Grade Lakes/Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative, students explore their school forests with technology and measure yield, use GPS to map it, and learn about forestry. Students apply the skills they learn in the classroom to real-life, technology-enabled situations, offering them authentic, engaging learning experiences. http://www.keweenawhistory.com/project-news/archives/08-2016 and http://lakesuperiorstewardship.org/project-14.php

Mountain Heights Academy, Utah
Mountain Heights Academy is an online, public charter school using innovative technology, service learning, student-centered instruction and personal responsibility to empower students to succeed.Each student is provided with a laptop computer and a pen tablet to facilitate digital inking and annotating in our one to one high-tech environment. Mountain Heights is the first secondary school worldwide to develop its own curriculum as open source content, teach through, and publicly release it so that all schools and teachers can leverage this content. Teachers invite students to participate in the instructional design process on a voluntary basis, leaving a legacy with the school that endures past their time as students.The school is the highest rated online school in Utah based on graduation rate with an 11 point gain in 2016, state test scores above the state average in English and Science, ACT scores above the state average, and course completion rates at 82% versus 40-50% for other online schools in Utah. www.mountainheightsacademy.org/curriculum/

Sheridan County School District #2 and Laramie County School District #1, Wyoming

Eleven students from Sheridan and Cheyenne came together, with mentors from two software development companies to form an internship pilot program called Coders of the West. This program provided students with an unique opportunity to learn how to code/program by working with industry partners on a software development project. Since the students had no prior coding experience, they participated in coding camps on community college campuses by college instructors and industry professionals. After the coding camp students were placed in their internships where they worked alongside their industry partners on the development of Wyoming’s Career Exploration System. Students participated in the full life cycle development process, were exposed to various coding skills, and gained employability skills. The students received high school credit from their respective school districts for the internship. The Career Exploration System, the student interns built with industry partners, is being rolled out to Wyoming K-12 schools. The system provides students with an engaging experience that allows them to explore Wyoming career opportunities and gain an understanding of the skills and knowledge needed to be successful in those careers. The ultimate measure of success is that both of these districts are looking at ways to continue and expand these efforts while developing ways to insure computer science education is integrated throughout their K-12 systems. Other school districts are looking into ways make this program work in their districts as well. A key outcome includes the development of an online introductory computer science course designed to meet industry needs that any high school student in Wyoming can take and possibly receive college credit. http://wdece.azurewebsites.net/ and Student Blog Postings: http://sherprog.com/agblog

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