Navajo Elementary School is located in the 85251 zip code of Scottsdale. It’s a great school. I know. My son attended 5th and 6th grades there. I served on the PTO board, and was the school web master. The school population is diverse, and the parents are involved. It’s truly a neighborhood school.
Today, the East Valley Tribune wrote “Navajo Elementary ready for high-tech face-lift“, describing the school’s efforts to refine its focus on a math and science curriculum, coupled with a technology transformation. Navajo will teach to the state standards, but from a math, science and technology perspective.
There are three major parts to the plan, which will be implemented when the school finalizes the resources and partnerships.
- Create a partnership with Arizona State University that will bring graduate students into the classroom to run hands-on labs and extracurricular activities, like a robotics club.
- Adding a science teacher to develop high-level math and science lessons, in collaboration with the classroom teaching staff.
- Finally and most exiting, immersing students in technology, with a “one-to-one” laptop program.
Several years ago, I participated on the Scottsdale Unified Technology committee that, in collaboration with the school district, created a vision and plan for technology in the Scottsdale school district. Administrators, teachers, parents, business people, and technologists met over a several months, putting together a long-term solution for upgrading the networking and classroom technologies for the district. In that plan, laptops were to be provided for each high school student. Some say, that the laptop program is why the bond did not pass in that first election. Since then, the bond to fund technology evolution has been passed by voters, minus the one-to-one laptop program.
At Navajo, they have reopened that door. In the passing years, newer, smaller computers have been created, which helps. And, in this case, Navajo hopes to procure a grant to implement their program, rather than using public funds.
I’m a nut for technology. I was exposed to computers in high school in the early 70’s, when a teacher worked out some ad hoc arrangement with the Phoenix Union School district. Our algebra class wrote programs in Basic and COBOL over a three week period. That experience parlayed into a life-long love of computing, which led me to graduate school and has given me opportunities in many fields. So needless to say, I’m a strong advocate of the program and am proud that Navajo has taken the initiative to push ahead and provide its students with a unique and timely education.
And, if the grant passes, Navajo will be one of two schools in Arizona with the “laptop for every child” education program!