Wildwood was recently notified of a one time funding opportunity in the amount of $60,000 via the Smart Schools Bond Act. The Smart Schools Bond Act was passed in 2014 and authorized a one time $5 million bond to finance educational technology capital projects for students with disabilities. Schools who can benefit from these funds are approved private special education day schools such as Wildwood.
As part of the process to receive the funds, we are required to submit a Smart Schools Investment Plan to demonstrate how the funding will be used to provide educational tools and opportunities to students with disabilities to succeed in the 21st century economy. The plan needs to: demonstrate a linkage between our long-term educational plans and the technology investment; include learning opportunities within and beyond the classroom through the use of technology; and address the educational needs of all of our students. Wildwood has developed a plan that uses our current resources and equipment along with the funds received through the Smart Schools Bond Act to ensure that we are meeting the above-mentioned criteria.
Wildwood intends to enhance teaching and learning on a sustainable basis through the installation of Smartboard interactive whiteboards in individual classrooms. The school currently uses Mac computers in the classrooms and labs, and we have Smartboards in several shared locations. With funds from the Smart Schools Bond Act we intend to purchase 14 units of 65” Smartboard 4000 LCD Panel and 14 Macbook Air Laptop Computers to be used with compatible Smartboard packages. The planned expenditures will seamlessly integrate with platforms and systems currently in place and make them available to all students and staff.
For students with autism and other neurological impairments, the use of interactive whiteboards in instruction increases attention to task, accuracy of response, social interaction and language development. Being able to manipulate items on a screen rather than a static worksheet is beneficial to our students who need multi- sensory learning approached. Having an interactive Smartboard as a focal point in the classroom also allows for the board to be used for environmental structure, visual supports and schedules. In addition, many of the curriculum solutions and software we use are all enhanced by the use of an interactive whiteboard and are optimized for such use. The ability to have a Smartboard interactive whiteboard in each classroom will:
- Enhance differentiated instruction and expand student learning beyond the classroom;
- Ensure equal access with these improved educational services and learning opportunities for all of our students;
- Leverage technology to provide additional technology-related learning opportunities for our students;
- Promote a framework that recognizes the strengths, needs and skills of diverse learners; and
- Advance Wildwood School’s short and long term educational goals.