“If you want something you’ve never had, then you’ve got to do something you’ve never done.” – Thomas Jefferson
O’Dea Core Knowledge, like most schools, is a school full of smart boards. However there were a few classrooms who were hanging out in the dark ages of 1990 with chalkboard, whiteboards and books.
When Jennifer Rosen and Jessica Smeins decided they wanted a part of 2015, they enlisted the help of Lead Board Certified Behavior Analyst, Autism Coach, Speech and Language Pathologist and friend Lisa Hernandez. These motivated ladies applied for a Supporting Partnerships in Innovative Education or SPIE Grants. SPIE grants allow teachers the opportunity to apply for innovative teaching materials for creative and inventive learning. Jennifer Rosen, Jessica Smeins and Lisa Hernandez won a 2013 SPIE Grant for their smart boards. Lisa credits Grants Coordinator, Stacy Poncelow with being invaluable to their grant writing and said she made the process so easy and wonderful.
Jennifer and Jessica are teachers within the center based program for students with autism at O’Dea Core Knowledge, here in Fort Collins, CO. Their students spend time in their classrooms as well as general education classrooms. While in their general education rooms, the students had access to smart boards, but not in Jennifer and Jessica’s classrooms. Now that the two rooms are equipped with the latest smart boards, their students have more access to them. It has been highly motivating for them. In particular, students are learning valuable soft skills such as waiting and taking turns as well as writing and working collaboratively in a community. As teachers, they are enjoying the ability to share multiple visuals without relying on passing books and printed material around. It has allowed for better visual comprehension of the topics they are working on.
Once Jennifer and Jessica learned they had received the grant, they immediately signed up for the informational class on how to operate their smart boards. Unsure of how long it would take until they were delivered and installed, Jennifer and Jessica were pleasantly surprised when they arrived back from winter break to find them up and ready.
The team was awarded a 2013 SPIE Grant for $5,000 to include 2 Smart Boards Epson- M600, 2 projection units and installation. The interactive whiteboards are light sensory vs touch sensory which allows for accessibility for those with decreased fine motor skill strength. It is a multi-touch unit which can accommodate two users simultaneously.
Jennifer and Jessica are excited to explore and experiment with their new technology.
Poudre School District Integrated Services Director: Sarah Belleau 2407 Laporte Avenue, Fort Collins, CO 80521