Technology Department

Our Mission

In a cooperative partnership with a community that values excellence in education, the Peters Township School District will utilize existing and emerging technologies to provide educational opportunities, expand and improve communication, access information, and optimize administrative operations.

The Peters Township School District has made a significant investment and commitment to technology integration and utilization at all levels. The District uses technology to support and enhance the educational process, to facilitate district operations, and to communicate and store data and information at various levels. Currently the Technology Department in the District consists of two service areas -- Educational Technology and the IT Department.

Educational Excellence

Educationally, the District recognizes the positive impact that technology can play in the attainment of educational excellence and the pursuit of personalization of the educational process. Educational technology helps to facilitate the curriculum, enhances instruction, and optimizes resources that can be used to meet the needs of our students. In addition, there is a focus on staff development to enable staff to use technology successfully in the teaching and learning process. An articulated K-12 scope and sequence for technology literacy is being developed that meets both PA Technology Standards and the ISTE NETS Standards for Students and that can be integrated into all aspects of the district's curriculum.

Information Access and Communication

Information Access and Communication through technology is another important facet of Educational and Informational Technology. The District uses technology to enhance communication with parents and the community to increase their involvement in the educational processes. The school district's web site is a vital medium through which the District provides a wealth of information to residents and staff. In addition, the school district is expanding its information services by using a variety of online services.

The District uses an integrated student information system, PowerSchool to enhance communication between h ome and school. Power School allows teachers to provide students and parents K-12 with access to student schedules and grades through a designated portal.

Teachers use a variety of Web 2.0 tools such as Moodle, Blackboard, blogs, wikis and other web applications to provide students and parents with access to handouts, presentations, audio files and more. Links are often provided through teacher powerschool pages, school staff directory pages, or via email.

Email News Blasts is a voluntary system in which parents and community members can sign up for news about events and important information from a district and individual school basis. To support this, the district uses Comcast Cable Channel 19 and Verizon Cable Channel 39 to display important district and school information.

Telephone Alert System: The District uses Global Connect to contact parents/guardians and staff via phones. Phone data is extracted from the District's student infomration system, Power School.

The District also maintains a Twitter and Facebook presence to provide additional information to students, parents, and residents.

The Peters Township Technology Department is pleased to announce that the Pennsylvania School Public Relations Association awarded the District's web site the Award of Excellence in 2008 and the Award of Honor in 2005 in its Excellence in Education Communication Contest . The web site was also recognized as a "Cool School Site" in 2005 by EducationWorld.com and Finalsite.com.

Technology Committees

At times the district will involve parents of students and community members on advisory committees for technology. These committees are helpful in providing valuable information, expertise and recommendations to our department.

Strategic Plan: Educational Technology Report

In Spring 2008, the District revisited its Educational Technology Plan through the Strategic Planning Process. Volunteers from the community and the school district worked cooperatively together to identify goals, strategies and objectives that will strengthen the district's use of technology to support instruction and curriculum. The members of the committee included:

Jack Moore, Yvonne Weaver, Cindy Chapman, Sudha Darairaj-Krishnasamy, Diane DeChicchis, Carol Munne, Ted Taylor IV, Julie Ann Sullivan, Bruce Marks, Melanie Bleiweis, Mary Matsurra, Paul Suchko, Tracy Dabkowski, Tim Beck, Brian Welden, Lora O’Brien, Suzan O’Brien ,Kelly Gustafson Doug Cervenak, Nina Zetty, and Toni Sulkowski.

View a copy of the Educational Technology Report (pdf format)

Currently the District is updating this plan. A committee of interested parents, community members, and staff is meeting in May 2010 to revise the current plan.

District Hardware

Each K-3 elementary school has one lab of 28 HP computers. The average classroom has 2 computers plus a teacher's pc laptop station. Each library has about 8 computers for card catalog and Internet search purposes.

Grades 4-6 have one stationary lab of 30 Hewlett-Packard PC computers, three HP mobile wireless labs and three mobile "The Writer" labs to facilitate keyboarding instruction. Two Dell "netbook" wireless mobile labs were added in Fall 2009. The library has 7 PC computers, and houses one of the mobile PC labs. There are also 2-3 PCs located in each of the classrooms for student use. All teachers have pc laptops.

The Middle School has two stationary labs of 28 HP computers with flat screens, 1 mobile HP wirless laptop lab and one mini science mobile lab of 15 HP pcs. The library has 15 stationary computers and one mobile HP wireless lab. The Tech Ed classrooms have 18 iMac computers and a mini lab of HP deskptops. PC computers are distributed among student workstations in the science classrooms and in various locations throughout the school. Teachers use HP laptops.

The High School currently has eight labs of 28 computers each for curriculum implementation in Business Education, Fine Arts, Media Technologies, World Languages and Technology Education. There are also mini-labs in all Science classrooms of 6 computers each. The library has an HP wireless mobile lab of 30 computers plus an adjacent lab containing 30 new computers. Labs are updated on about every 4-5 years. All teachers use HP laptops taht have wireless capabilities. Each Art room has a 17" iMacs for production purposes. The HS earned a $188,223 grant from PDE for Classrooms for the Future so that teachers and students can access computers and related technologies more readily in the core subject areas. The money was used to purchase 8 mobile Lenovo laptop labs complete with printers, wireless access, and Smart Boards.

Each school library received a 17" iMac as a donation from PTA Area Council in 2007. These computers are used to create and publish podcasts and videocasts to the internet .

In 2008-2009 each school was provided with several mobile web cameras. The HS has additional web cams purchased through the CFF grant. The district received 2 polycom videoconferencing units that are used for virtual field trips and global connections using internet 2 via the Intermediate Unit 1 KITS project. An additional videoconferencing unit is being purchased in 2009-2010 to expand the use of video conferencing for the schools.

All computers located within each of the buildings are wired for network and internet access. A variety of online and internet-based applications are used to support teaching and learning such as Grolier's Multimedia Encyclopedia, United Streaming Videos, various Web 2.0 applications, and more.

Additionally, staff uses computer-related peripherals to support curriculum and instruction. These include Smart Boards, computer projection devices, document cameras, digital and video cameras, and the Classroom Performance System ("clickers.")

District Infrastructure

Each building is equipped with a LAN which is 100mbs Category 5 wiring to the wiring closet. Each room is then connected to a 100mb switch. Wiring closets are connected together via fiber optic cabling.

The district has a high speed Wide Area Network (WAN) and all buildings are connected to the central office via a gigabit fiber backbone network. This gigabit network is controlled with Alcatel networking equipment at each location. This WAN allows all staff and students have access to district network resources.

 

The district has a direct 10mb fiber connection using the Intermediate Unit 1 KITS network. All students and staff have access to the Internet. Currently the district is using Astaro software for content filtering and as a firewall. Implementation of a 3 year plan to increase wireless access in all buildings began in spring 2009.

Technology Awards and Grants

The Technology Department encourages students and teachers to participate in and take advantage of technology grant and competition opportunities. We are proud of their efforts and accomplishments!

Keystone Integrators: The Pennsylvania Department of Education encourages local schools to recognize teachers who actively utilize technology to support learning in their classrooms. Each district superintendent then nominates one Keystone teacher to represent the district. From across the state, a smaller group of Keystone Integrators are then recognized. The District has had 6 teachers invited to be state Keystone Integrators since the inception of the program

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ING Un Sung Heroes Grant: Renee Brown, PTMS Language Arts Teacher, was awarded an ING UnSung Heros Grant 2009. Grants are given to K-12 educators utilizing new teaching methods and techniques that improve learning.Each year, 100 finalists are selected to receive a $2,000 grant, payable to both the winning teacher and his or her school. At least one grant is awarded in each of the 50 states, provided at least one qualified application was received from each state. Winners are selected by Scholarship America, a national non-profit educational support and student aid service organization.

Hands-on-Learning Grants: Peters Township School District teachers earned two $10,000 Hands-on-Learning grants from the PA Department of Education in 2005 and 2006. The money was used to fund the purchase of handheld computers such as PDAs to enhance curriculum and learning. The Physical Education Department at PTHS earned their competitive grant to support implementation of electronic heart monitors in their classes, while the third grade teachers and librarian at Bower Hill Elementary School purchased a classroom set of PDAs to promote reading and writing skills.

HP Grant: In 2006 a team of science teachers at Peters Township High School was named the recipient of a $35,000 award from Hewlett Packard. The teachers were provided with tablet pcs, multi-function printers, digital cameras, digital video projectors, staff development, and a $500 stipend. The grant facilitated the integration of technology across science disciplines. In 2007 the team expanded to a total of 15 teachers and was awarded a competitive grant worth $81,000 at the National Educational Computing Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

Keystone Integrator Digital Camera Mini-grants: Two teachers from Bower Hill Elementary School were awarded digital cameras from the PA Department of Education in Fall 2006 as part of a state-wide initiative to encourage teachers to implement digital literacy in their classrooms. Staff development was also provided. The awards were valued at approximately $1000.

Best Buy Te@ch Grant: In 2007 and 2008 Best Buy awarded $2500 each to two different teacher applicants in the district. The purpose of the grant was to promote technology implementation in the classroom. In 2007 grant monies were used to purchase digital cameras and accessories to support the Middle School's science department's outdoor classroom project. In 2008 the grant provided funding for a special music, art and literature program at Bower Hill Elementary.

Inspired Teacher Award: In February 2007 a 4th grade teacher at McMurray Elementary School was awarded one of 30 annual scholarships by Inspiration.com. The $750 award was used to defray costs for advanced coursework in technology.

Classrooms for the Future (CFF) Grant: In 2008 as part of a state-wide initiative, the PA Department of Education awarded the Peters Township High School $188,223 towards its grant to implement one-to-one computing in the school. Eight classrooms worth of equipment including laptops, wireless points, projectors, and Smart Boards will be used by core classroom teachers to integrate technology into the curriculum.

Parent Links

Visit our Parent Quick Links page to quickly access programs and services that the district offers online.

Parents of students in grades K-12 can access their child's grades on line 24/7. For detailed instructions on how to access and navigate the Power School page, check out our PowerSchool page!

Internet Safety

New!! The Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office has launched "Operation Safe Surf" to provide parents with valuable information on safe internet use for children. This site has helpful links and videos for all interested parents. Visit Operation Safe Surf.

Internet safety organization and curriculum for schools
www.isafe.org

Equips today's youth to make wise on-line choices www.webwisekids.org

Free,interactive internet safety resources from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and Boys & Girls Clubs of America www.netsmartz.org

Information guides for parents to use with children on internet safety http://www.getnetwise.org

Help, education and use of the internet information
www.wiredsafety.org

A site that provides parents with the skills and knowledge to help keep their families safe online. It also contains strategies to empower girls to learn how to become technology leaders and to use online resources safely. Visit LMK.

"Stop Bullying Now!" includes information on cyber bullying
stopbullyingnow.hrsa.gov

ABC News Special report on Sexting

Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use
www.csriu.org

Report to Parents on Cyber Bullying from National Association of Elementary School Principals (pdf file)

Technology Acceptable Use

School Board Policy 5114.7 defines official policy and procedures for use of technology in the Peters Township School District. School Board Policy 5114.71 defines policy and procedure for the use of personal technologies while on school property. All student users are advised to read these policies and/or to review them with their parents. The policies are available for review on the district website.

Before students can use district computers on the district’s network, they are required to electronically log in and agree to abide by the District’s Technology Acceptable Use Policy. There is a summary of the policy on the computer screen that the student can read each time before clicking on “agree.” It is assumed that the parents of all students will agree to this procedure, otherwise the parent is to notify the school office that his/her child will not be permitted to use district technology-related equipment.

Web Guidelines

Peters Township School District adheres to certain guidelines for the submission of information to be included on the our web sites. Visit Web Guidelines

Contact Us

Adam Swinchock
Director of Instructional Technology
Tel 724 941-6251 ext 7222
Email: swinchocka@pt-sd.org

Bridget Kirwan
Secretary
Tel 724 941-6251 ext 7260
Email: kirwanb@pt-sd.org
Downloads
PDE Approved District Technology Plan 2008-2011 (187 KB)

Acceptable Use of Personal Technology Policy (28KB)

Acceptable Use of Technology for Students Policy

Acceptable Use of Technology for Personnel Policy

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Proposed Technology Scope and Sequence
K-3 Technology (41KB)
4-6 Technology (69KB)
7-8 Technology (41KB)
9-12 Technology (70KB)

A special letter to parents regarding Internet Safety and Children

Interested in helping primary school aged children in learning to keyboard more efficiently? Try out this site:bbc typing site

Watch for our informative Cable Television Show, "Let's Compute!" on Comcast Cable Channels 7 & 19 and Verizon Channels 38 and 39.

 

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Staff Technology Resources

District Resources:

Access PTSD Google Web Apps

Access United Streaming video

Access Moodle

Access Power Teacher

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Web 2.0-oriented sites for educators:

Classroom 2.0 Wiki

Route 21 :Partnership for 21st Century Skills

International Society for Technology in Education(ISTE)

Technology in Education Resource Center

Center For Applied Special Technologies

Edutopia

Apple Learning Interchange

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National Technology Standards by ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education)

Students

Teachers

Administrators (TBA)

Peters Township School District
631 East McMurray Road
McMurray, PA 15317
Phone: 724-941-6251
Fax: 724-941-6565
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