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Profiles of SMART Showcase Schools and Districts

These profiles of SMART Showcase Schools and Districts were originally published in EDCompass newsletter. All profiles are in .pdf format. If you don't have Adobe Reader, download it now.


Creating a Foundation for Student Success

San Elijo Hills in San Marcos, California, is a beautiful, master-planned community designed with a small town atmosphere. Residents enjoy concerts in the square, picnics in the park, gorgeous walking trails and breathtaking ocean views. The popularity and growth of this family-friendly community brought two new schools to the San Marcos Unified School District, including San Elijo Middle School (SEMS), a SMART Elite Showcase School located in the heart of the community. Since the school’s inception in 2004, SMART products have been an integral part of the teaching approach. “The vision I had coming to SEMS was to address the needs of the whole child – academic, social, emotional and physical – and to integrate technology into the curriculum,” says Principal Douglas Hall. “SMART products were and continue to be the backbone for this journey.”


Expanding horizons for at-risk students

When Dr. Sara Cook, a SMART Exemplary Educator, became the principal at Speas Elementary School in 2009, the school was undergoing a renovation project and as part of the project funds had been allocated for classroom technology. “Some of our classrooms already had SMART Board interactive whiteboards and the teachers led the decision-making and expressed their eagerness to continue down the SMART path,” explains Cook.


Preparing Teachers for Technological Success

Slow and steady wins the race. The Tatnall School in Wilmington, Delaware, has applied that adage to its integration plans for SMART Board interactive whiteboards – with amazing results. Usage rates are high and teachers and students are more engaged. In fact, the school has seven SMART Exemplary Educators, and in addition to being a SMART Showcase School, Tatnall was named one of 25 SMART Showcase Elite Schools for 2011. Since 2008, the private school has also been hosting an annual SMART Board User Conference that attracts more than 500 educators from nearby states.


Supporting New Learning Methods with SMART Products

Staff at Christopher Columbus High School (CCHS) in Miami, Florida have been finding innovative and effective ways to engage students with SMART products since opening the box of their first SMART Board interactive whiteboard in 2004. Eight years later, this private school for boys has equipped all 65 of its classrooms with a SMART Board interactive whiteboard, has a growing SMART Board users group and has been named a SMART Elite Showcase School for 2012. Teachers at the school use SMART Board interactive whiteboards, SMART Notebook collaborative learning software and SMART Response interactive response systems daily. These educators are enthusiastic about sharing their best practices and knowledge of SMART products – or sharing the “SMART joy” as they like to call it.


Surviving to Thriving – A Community Transformed

In 1995, the East Lake neighborhood in Atlanta, Georgia was home to a rundown public housing complex and had a crime rate that was 18 times higher than the national average. Seventy percent of students were failing to meet state standards for reading and math. Thanks to the East Lake Foundation and donations from local philanthropist Tom Cousins, a holistic community revitalization project began that transformed East Lake into a thriving community. Violent crime is down 95 percent, property values have significantly increased and students are meeting and exceeding state standards. The East Lake Foundation knew that a high-quality school would be an important centerpiece to the revitalization effort. The drab, windowless elementary school that had previously served the community was replaced by the newly built Charles R. Drew Charter School, which features high ceilings, walls of blue glass and beautiful landscaping. Drew Charter opened its doors in 2000. In 2010 they adopted a focus on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) with a foundation in literacy. The school integrates technology throughout the curriculum and became a SMART Showcase School in 2011.


Buying SMART Products on a Budget

Lincoln Elementary School may be located in a low-income area, with 90 percent of its 1,100 students eligible for free or reduced-cost lunch programs, but that hasn’t stopped this SMART Showcase School in Calumet City, Illinois, from standardizing on SMART products. Nearly every one of its 58 classrooms is equipped with a SMART Board interactive whiteboard, a SMART Response interactive response system and SMART Classroom Suite interactive learning software. Plus, the school recently rolled out a 1:1 initiative to provide every student in grades four through eight with a laptop. "How can I afford it?" is a question Mike McGowan, Lincoln Elementary Supervisor of Technology, hears often.p>


Making the World a Better Place

Sometimes a tiny crystal of an idea can snowball into an avalanche of change. That’s what happened when 10 teachers at Preston Middle School in Fort Collins, Colorado, decided that the school should be a SMART Showcase School. So, with the advice of Tracey Winey, the school’s media specialist and a SMART Exemplary Educator, each of these teachers posted a lesson on the SMART Exchange website.


Making Global Connections Without Leaving the Classroom

"We’ve got a lot of students who have never and will never venture outside of this area that they’re living in. They don’t go to museums, they don’t go on vacations. They’ve never been out of this little area – let alone out of the state or out of the country – to be exposed to what is out there in the world." According to Principal David Flynn, this challenge is one of the main reasons that SMART products are critical to teaching and learning success at Westside Elementary School, a SMART Showcase School in Westmoreland, Tennessee.


Changing Learning Culture with Classroom Technology

During the summer of 2006, Meadowview Elementary School in Country Club Hills, Illinois, was completely transformed. In an overhaul that saw half the library and several classrooms taken over by boxes and supplies, every classroom in the school was equipped with SMART Board interactive whiteboards and complementary products, including SMART Response interactive response systems, AirLiner wireless slates and SMART Notebook collaborative learning software, as well as printers, cameras, document cameras, microscopes and calculators.


Bringing a Diverse Population Together at Passages Charter School

Communicating what the students need to understand but knowing that many of them cannot speak English proficiently can be a daunting challenge for any teacher. But first-grade teacher Karla Bush says the SMART Board interactive whiteboard is helping her take on that challenge. “When I feel I can’t communicate something to my students in English, I love that I can model or use visual aids – like actually splitting something in half, for example,” Bush says. “It’s great for kinesthetic, hands on learners. It’s given me more tools to reach them.”


Motivating Children with Communication Disorders at Ardsley Middle School

Teachers who work in the two programs for students with severe disabilities, including autism, at Ardsley Middle School in Ardsley, New York, are seeing improvements in their students’ motivation to learn. And they attribute much of this to the results they are getting with their SMART Board interactive whiteboards. “Students aren’t afraid to make mistakes on the SMART Board. One student made a mistake, and he didn’t want to go back to his seat. He wanted to stay there until he got it right,” says Cristiane Souza-Bertone, a teacher in one of the two programs. “The SMART Board is a passion for them, and it’s highly functional and effective within special education.”


SMART Products Help Mount Harmony Elementary Students Prepare for State Assessment Tests

Over the past 10 years, Mount Harmony Elementary in Owings, Maryland, has been turning heads for its high scores on the Maryland School Assessment. This SMART Showcase School consistently outperforms most other schools in the state, ranking eighth this year on The Washington Post list of top Maryland elementary schools with advanced test scores in the Washington, DC area. But unlike many of the schools on the list, Mount Harmony is not a magnet school. So what's it's secret?


Grant Writing Helps Bring SMART Products to Palmview Elementary

Because of today’s stretched school budgets, when teachers at Palmview Elementary School in Pompano Beach, Florida, want a new resource for their classrooms, they know exactly where to go. “They don’t go to the principal anymore,” jokes Sheri Kleinman Dominguez, the school’s grant liaison. “They know he’s going to point to my office and say, ‘Go see Dominguez. Go write a grant.’” Over the past six years, Dominguez, who is also the school’s media specialist, has helped bring $316,000 worth of grant money to Palmview. And SMART products have been one area of focus for the grant-writing efforts.


Taking a Title I School to New Levels with Classroom Technology

When Joe Griffin took the position of principal six years ago at Crystal Lake Elementary School, a SMART Showcase School in Lakeland, Florida, this Title I school had very little classroom technology. Well aware of how technologically savvy today’s students are, Griffin quickly set to creating an environment where interactive learning would be the norm for the school’s students and teachers.


Focus on Students Means Success for Pittsburgh School

When it comes to unlocking potential in students, the staff at Propel Braddock Hills takes a unique approach – try anything and see if it works. It’s a philosophy they share with six other Propel Schools, an innovative set of charter schools serving high-poverty districts in Pennsylvania’s Pittsburgh metropolitan area. Propel Schools started in 2003, when a group of educators dedicated themselves to the idea that all children deserve access to quality education, regardless of social or economic factors.


A Different Approach to Professional Development

When a teacher receives a SMART Board™ interactive whiteboard for the first time, it’s an exciting event, but it can also be overwhelming. Geoff Freymuth is the instructional technology specialist at Jefferson Middle School, a SMART Showcase School in Champaign, Illinois, and he knows that teachers are sometimes hesitant about working with their first SMART Board interactive whiteboard.


Finding Multiple Ways to Make Math Exciting

How do you get students excited about math? It’s a question that many teachers have puzzled over, but one to which teachers at SMART Showcase School J.F. Drake Middle School in Auburn, Alabama, think they’ve found an answer. And the SMART Board interactive whiteboards that are installed in every one of the school’s classrooms are a big are a big part of it.


Learning How to Learn Together at Pattison Elementary

Learning together comes naturally to students in Jennifer Tang's kindergarten class. And the teacher at Pattison Elementary in Katy, Texas, knows her SMART Board™ interactive whiteboard is a big reason why. "Having a SMART Board in the classroom develops more teamwork because instead of one person trying to answer a question, the whole class is engaged in helping to support that person," Tang says. "When that person makes a mistake, it opens up communication. So it's no longer, 'I got it wrong,' but rather a teamwork environment where they are talking to each other to help find a solution."


Soaring Toward STEM Success with the Engineering and Aerospace Sciences Academy

From their science lab at the McMinnville High School Engineering and Aerospace Sciences Academy (EASA), students look out to a real North American X-15 rocket-powered spacecraft. Not a poster of an X-15, not a replica – a real, 14,600 lb. (6,620 kg) aircraft.


Digital Curriculum Leads to Sustained Student Engagement at Irons Middle School

The backpacks of students at Irons Middle School are no longer filled with heavy textbooks. This year, the school has implemented CSCOPE® – an online curriculum system developed by the Texas Education Service Center Curriculum Collaborative.


Learning to Learn with Technology at the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division

There’s a big difference between knowing how to surf the Internet and knowing how to use technology to learn. Students in the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division are growing up with a real-world aptitude for technology, thanks to coaches and teachers who use SMART Notebook™ collaborative learning software.


Passionate Teaching Abounds at Thomas Edison School

Thomas Edison once said that what you are will show in what you do. If it wasn’t for a time difference of 80 years, he could very well have been speaking about the educators at one of his namesake schools in Illinois.


Extreme PD Makeover in the School District of New Berlin

When Kevin Messman talks about creating better lesson plans, he’s really talking about transforming learning. Coordinator of instructional technology at the School District of New Berlin in Wisconsin, Messman organizes the district’s annual Technology Academy, a three-day professional development program that attracts up to 150 teachers.


SMART Response™ Clicks at Ware County High School

“SMART Response lets me know if I have to reteach, repeat or move on,” says Debbie Dixon, advanced placement (AP) calculus teacher at Ware County High School.


Real Projects, Real Learning at Texas High School

Some days when Jill Galloway, Technology Coordinator, walks the hallways of New Tech High @ Coppell (NTH@C) in Coppell, Texas, she feels like she’s stepped into the offices of a multinational corporation rather than a high school.


Denver School Chooses the Proven Path to Success

Colorado Academy (CA) is a century-old independent school that looks back with pride on its history, but also has a keen focus on the future. The Denver school is a technology leader with a vision to use classroom technology to better prepare students for success in college and beyond.


Building Best Practices at Kildare Elementary

From professional development for teachers to language instruction for students, educators at Kildare Elementary School in Edmonton, Alberta, are leading the way in putting education best practices into action.


California School Overcomes Funding Obstacles

Finding extra funding can be a daunting task for any school at the best of times, but what about when the country is mired in a once-in-a-lifetime recession – one that brought your state to the brink of financial ruin?


Kentucky School Offers Students Multiple Ways to Learn

This fall, 99 percent of the 2010 graduating class at Assumption High School in Louisville, Kentucky, went off to college – that’s significantly higher than the state average. And that figure is even more impressive when you consider that 41 of those students had diagnosed learning difficulties.


Teacher Support Is One Key to Success at Disney II Magnet School

In 2008, Chicago Public School’s Disney II Magnet School opened its doors with the mission of being an exceptional school that increases student learning by integrating arts and technology across all subjects and activities.


Louisiana School Creates Powerful Change with Differentiation and Technology

When Shannon Wall joined Donnie Bickham Middle School as principal in 2007, the school had been losing some of its best students to nearby magnet schools. It also had just one computer lab, and its School Performance Score was an average 71.1.


Teachers and students get a kick out of SMART products

Read all about how The Weiss School in Florida uses SMART technology, including SMART Sync classroom management software, to inspire and educate its students, whether they’re learning tae kwon do, math or music.


SMART products help Toronto school celebrate diversity

Find out how the teachers at Joyce Public School, whose students often speak English as a second language, use SMART technology to help them develop language and math skills and share ideas.


Making math interactive at Cresthill Middle School

Middle school math becomes interactive at this school in Colorado, which uses SMART products to make lessons more in-depth and mobile and encourage students to become critical thinkers.


Whole-class small-group and individual learning thrives at Tampa school

Discover how teachers at Essrig Elementary use SMART products to enhance a variety of approaches to teaching, and how students with various learning styles benefit from interactive technology.


Professional development a top priority in New Mexico school district

Learn how the teachers at Rio Rancho Public Schools benefit from ongoing training and support services from education technology specialists, who help them make the most of their SMART products.


English Language Learners Excel at Culturally Diverse School

Find out how SMART Board interactive whiteboards encourage a culturally diverse student population to be involved, active, and engaged, and how a whole range of SMART products have prompted teachers at this Virginia school to collaborate more effectively, more often.


Peer-Mentoring Program Helps Build Collaborative School Community

A peer-mentoring program at a school in Saskatchewan has brought technology out of the computer lab and into every subject. Discover how both students and teachers have benefited.


Salt Lake City School Leads Learning Exploration

Read all about the teachers at Escalante Elementary, who have incorporated SMART technology into every classroom and “taken chances” with their teaching, all with promising results.


Technology Belongs to the Students at Isobel Mair

Kids know what they like and at Isobel Mair School they like the SMART Board interactive whiteboard. Learn how this school in Scotland uses SMART products to provide motivation for all their students and remove barriers to learning for those with special needs.


Engaging Learners at Tedder Elementary

Discover how teachers at Florida’s Tedder Elementary are using interactive technology to capture the interest of their students and raise achievement levels.


Math Is Something to Sing About at Port Hope High

Learn how one teacher at this school in Ontario, Canada, uses SMART products to build interactivity and creativity - including singing - into her math lessons, and shares those lessons with fellow teachers.


Kenmore students excel with SMART products

Find out how SMART products, including SMART Response interactive response system, have helped students at Kenmore Middle School become enthusiastic and engaged.


SMART Board interactive whiteboards shape learning at Oak View Middle School

Interactive technology helps teachers get their students excited about learning at this school in Florida. Discover how implementing SMART technology has resulted in higher assessment scores for students and improved state rankings for the school.


The SMART Board creates a buzz in Minnesota

Discover how district-wide excitement about SMART technology put a pilot program on the fast-track, transforming a 10-year implementation plan into a 3-year success story.


Maryland teachers in harmony with technology

Learn how easy-to-use products from SMART, hands-on training, and great support have helped a group of teachers at Mount Harmony Elementary School integrate interactive technology into their everyday lessons.


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