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Princeton Public Schools will open on September 14 with all students learning remotely. Your school principal will provide information about schedules and class placement. There will be an update soon about the distribution dates for student devices.

Here is some information about technology:

PowerSchool and the Parent Portal

Though the district is moving away from PowerSchool Learning as the district LMS, we will continue to use PowerSchool as our Student Information System (SIS). Parents can access the Parent Portal to see their children’s attendance and grades.

Student Devices

The Board of Education approved a 1:1 program earlier this summer, which means that the school district will provide each student with a district-owned device that is appropriate to their intellectual development and functionally suited to the academic work they will undertake both remotely and in the classroom.

Pre-Kindergarten through 1st Grade pupils will receive iPads, which are app-based and feature simple navigation. Students in grades 2 through 5 will receive more sophisticated Chromebooks, which run learning apps and also provide word processing and other software. Grades 6 through 12 require the full functionality of a laptop and will use MacBook Airs.

Before pursuing the 1:1 program, the district looked at Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs. We reached out to local districts and outside consultants regarding the implementation of such a program. The feedback we received is that the programs are hard to manage and support, they often lead to a lack of technological equity among students, and are rarely successful.

Compatibility issues across operating systems and software with the range of devices in a classroom can be troublesome and time-consuming. Teaching may be limited by the need to work with the lowest common denominator in technology, when more pedagogically powerful tools exist. In addition, personal machines also cannot be used for mandatory standardized testing which creates a need to purchase more devices.

By contrast, standardizing devices for each grade level simplifies teachers’ efforts to keep students working together and literally on the same page. It allows them to do such things as advancing pages simultaneously and sharing screens with students. It also reduces purchase and licensing costs and simplifies maintenance. While Apple products are generally more expensive than PCs, their pricing for educational institutions is cost-effective, and their buy-back program is strong. A 1:1 program obviates the need to maintain an inventory of devices in school for use as needed. In fact, the district’s Information Technology office was able to implement the 1:1 program without requesting an increase in their annual budget.

Canvas – The New Learning Management System (LMS)

The district’s new learning management system, Canvas, has a reported 99% uptime and integrates with other district platforms (such as Google and Office 365) so learning can occur in the same window. Parents will be able to view all of their children’s classes on one screen.

Canvas facilitates teacher questions from students at all levels, including elementary. The platform allows teachers to bundle activities for students to pursue sequentially. It also enables self-paced learning for middle and high school students.

The technology office is in the process of setting up student accounts on Canvas. They will post information about how to set-up parent accounts once the accounts are ready.

To learn more about Canvas, please click here.

Students can learn more about Canvas by clicking here for video resources introducing them to the platform.

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