Eastern is future ready


   It’s no secret that Eastern has a reputation in South Jersey for educational excellence.

   Is it about to get even better?

  New Jersey Department of Education, the New Jersey School Boards Association, and the New Jersey Institute of Technology has recently designated the school district has recently been certified as a Future Ready School.

  The Future Ready Schools program, a national program adopted by the state of New Jersey, has a goal to encourage schools to proactively improve their educational environments with the use of technology in the 21st century.

  Mr. Smart, Supervisor of Technology, said there are many indicators of a Future Ready School. “There are three primary areas,” he said. “One is leadership, one is governance, and one is teaching.”

   Mr. Smart explained that it was important for Eastern to be certified as a Future Ready School because it allowed the school administration to create a 5-year Technology Plan, adding that, “the Board of Education has always been supportive of the use of technology at our school.”

  An additional benefit to being a Future Ready School is the ability for Eastern’s school board to discuss the best practices and methods to integrate technology into the classroom.

  “I got to serve as an evaluator,” Mr. Smart said. “It was valuable for me to see what other districts were doing and see if we can implement them here at Eastern.”

  Mr. Smart said that Eastern’s success can be contributed to the use of technology. This has been the the commitment of the Board of Education: the implementation of a robust wireless system, and the teachers’ extensive use of technology to improve student learning—use that could help students in the future, for jobs that will require knowledge of technology, including computer aided design (CAD) and programming.

  “We want to be able to expose students to as much technology as possible. I know that a lot of students graduate from Eastern High School and move onto college, where they will be using different mediums for classroom management. We want them to have familiarity with different programs so they won’t be intimidated by using them,” Mr. Smart said.

  Although Eastern already uses Smartboards, iPads, Google Classroom, and other types of technology, there are still plans to make Eastern more Future Ready.

  Right now, Eastern is certified at a Bronze Level. The goal is to submit an application to be Future Ready at the Silver Level by 2020. “That’s part of the incorporation of a new district-wide strategic plan that the District Advisory Council is working on,” said Mr. Smart.

  Senior Charine Leuterio said that she feels Eastern’s incorporation of technology into the curriculum has helped her grasp different educational applications, but has been distracting to some students.

  “I’ve learned how to use Google Classroom, Showbie, and some other stuff,” she said. “But sometimes I see other kids using the technology irresponsibly and playing games while they’re supposed to be working.

  Seniors Dominick Parungao and Shimoli Parikh, headed to college next fall, agreed.

  “Even though kids not using it the way they’re supposed to isn’t ideal,” Parikh explained, “I feel like knowing how to use apps on the iPad and just being technologically fluent in general will definitely help me in the future.”