March 6th, 2023
New Brunswick Middle School
Welcome to New Brunswick Middle School! We are elated to have the opportunity to be part of the VILS program. This program provides our staff and students with the latest technological infrastructure at school and at home. One of our difficulties was the lack of accessibility to the internet once the students were home. Our plan is to extend the knowledge and ongoing professional development to our students and parents and bring our community closer in order to prepare, empower and inspire lifelong leaders.
One of the district's professional development goals is, "Goal 3: To personalize student learning through the implementation of an equitable whole-school approach to technology instructional integration." Not only does the VILS Initiative help us accomplish portions of this goal, but the district as also done an outstanding job tackling STEAM as a whole. STEAM stands for (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics), and the Instructional Technology team, along with the Science Department have done a lot of work towards ensuring the students of New Brunswick Public Schools are being exposed to concepts and challenges within STEAM. STEAM concepts like coding, the design process, collaboration and communication have been embedded within curriculum, and teachers have been receiving professional development throughout the school year to continue to build their capacity.
Instructional Technology Team (From L --> R): NBPS Director of Digital Learning and Innovation Carla Segarra, VILS Coach for MK & LNA Greg Pardo, VILS Coach for NBMS Angie Beneciuk, and NBMS Supervisor of Instructional Technology Jamie Schoenbach
What's Been Happening?
Rising Star Award
In the 2021-2022 school year, New Brunswick Public Schools was acknowledged as a Digital Promise Rising Star!
"The East Region selected NBPS to receive the Rising Star award for the following reasons:
New Brunswick Public Schools (NJ): Led by a strong district team (Superintendent Johnson, Carla Segarra & Andrew Levine), NBPS has developed a compelling vision for 1:1 technology integration and successfully implemented systems that will drive the sustainability of this work in New Brunswick's schools for years to come. Their spirited, cross-functional team has recruited instructional technology coaches who can effectively support teachers and students in leveraging technology to create powerful learning experiences. Most importantly, district leaders are unafraid to explore bold, innovative ideas (like Esports, the Metaverse, etc) in order to provide all students with immersive, cutting edge opportunities to learn and prepare for the future!"
Verizon Innovative Learning Lab Ribbon Cutting
Members from NBPS, Middlesex County and Representatives from the State cutting the ribbon in the Verizon Lab.
Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Aubrey Johnson, providing a few words thanking everyone for coming and making this remarkable project a reality.
In the classrooms...
Virtual Reality Integration
My coaching this year has focused mostly on VR integration. Students in a sixth grade class explore Anne Frank’s Secret Annex and used their experience to expand their thoughts and what they have seen within their writing. They also made connections to the novel Milkweed. Other sixth grade students were able to travel to four ancient Egyptian sites through the use of the Wander application. They were able to focus on details of the architecture, what is still left of the structures, and got a feel for how massive these sites are. In seventh grade students took a tour of Auschwitz in which three women survivors talked about their experience in the concentration camp. Students then made connections to a character in a novel they were reading and were able to explain why the character acted a certain way after being in a concentration camp. In a Social Studies class where students were learning about West African cultures, students were able to use the Wander app to visit Mud Mosques like the Sankore Mosque and the Great Mosque of Djenne. They also were able to visit the Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove. In addition, they were able to experience a safari, tour the Nambi Desert, and see what a market is in Marrakech through the use of Youtube 360.
Meet the Coach: Angie Beneciuk
As a VILS coach, I am fulfilling my passion of helping others. I am a former teacher and I understand how difficult teaching can be, and when there is an absence of teacher resources, the job is that much harder. Now, as a VILS coach, I am that resource for teachers to help drive the use of technology in the classroom and help teachers find the most engaging and fun ways to reach their students. We get to explore together what they want to do, and I get to help them make those wants a reality.
Student Tech Team
The NBMS Tech Team is made up of 19 students who are in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. Being on the Tech Team provides opportunity for students to take on leadership roles in the school, develop a STEM-based skillset, and collaborate in an innovative learning environment. Students on the Tech Team create how-to videos for students, support students and staff with different digital resources, they help run STEAM events within the school and district, and they explore the use of new technology before they are available in the classroom.