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Gist visits West Warwick elementary school; sees new technology at work

September 5, 2013

Education Commissioner Deborah Gist watches a kindergartener at Wakefield Hills Elementary School in West Warwick navigate his way through an educational game on a new laptop provided to students by the school. Jessica Boisclair. Kent County Daily Times.

WEST WARWICK— Education Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Deborah Gist visited Wakefield Hills Elementary School Wednesday morning to view how the students and teachers there were using their new laptops, which were purchased through the help of a grant.

Last year, The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) awarded the first Rhode Island Innovation Powered by Technology Model School Grant to the Pleasant View Elementary School in Providence.

Wakefield Hills was the second elementary school in Rhode Island to receive the grant.

The school used the $80,000 to provide Chromebooks to all students and staff to be used in their classrooms.

Jim Monti, West Warwick’s Director of Education Reform, Compliance and Technology, explained that a chromebook allows students to operate the laptop using the cloud program, which takes all the programs and stores them in a virtual folder.

Doing this saves the laptop from viruses and program overload.

“We’re anticipating these will last the students their entire elementary school career and into middle school,” he said.

In addition to the laptops, the school used grant money to provide professional development for staff members and community members.

Principal of Wakefield Hills Keith Remillard explained that the school created a district development commission, which includes district coaches.

These coaches handle the creation of professional development for the district and “they understand our needs with the technology and they’re customizing professional development.”

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