Google This! Tech initiative thrives at Inman Middle School

With a world of technology at their fingertips, each Inman Middle School student will soon have access to their own ChromeBook laptop in the classroom, thanks to the Inman Middle School Foundation’s 1:1 Initiative and principal Dr. Kevin Maxwell’s leadership.

“Our goal is to be fully 1:1 by the end of the [2018-2019] school year,” said Maxwell, who will be starting his second academic year at Inman this month. They currently have 750 out of their 1,100 ChromeBook goal.

Last spring, the 6th grade was 100 percent 1:1, 7th grade was at 75 percent, and 8th graders had access to a cart of the devices in half of their classes on a rotating basis. For some students, this is their only access to a computer.

“Kids love technology. But they are using the device to create, curate, evaluate and synthesize info,” Maxwell said.

Students are “more in charge of their learning” by peer reviewing student essays, creating YouTube video presentations, and some are even becoming classroom IT experts. Teachers are also fans of the 1:1 Initiative because the devices enable more individualized instruction based on student need and abilities with a variety of instructional platforms, like Google Classroom.

“A ChromeBook in every student’s hand individualizes student learning with endless access to online resources, each that cater to different interests, comprehension, and vocabulary levels.  Additionally, Google integration provides classrooms limitless opportunities for collaboration and creation through powerful apps, ” instructional coach Sarrita Allen said.

Led primarily by parents, the Inman Middle School Foundation funds instructional technology, teacher and staff training, and related student programs. Last year, the Foundation raised nearly $100,000, the majority of which went toward technology.

“The Foundation understands how technology can be a vehicle for students to be engaged in the classroom,” Maxwell said.

By providing nearly 250 of the 750, the Foundation also understands how this support allows the schools limited budget to spend more on human resources.

“If the Foundation is able to provide technology then that allows Maxwell to spend his resources on staffing – so you have better coverage in the classroom and more qualified teachers,” Foundation trustee Kim Meyer said.

Case in point, Maxwell recently hired an Instructional Technology Specialist. The Foundation is also funding Google Level 1 certification for all teachers.

“I love the benefits of Google Classroom. No more stacks of paper. You can see a single kid’s entire work flow. It keeps families informed and you see real-time progress,” said Melissa Nunnink, who teaches 6th grade science.

The Foundation also covers all costs associated with another key initiative launched at Inman during the 2017-18 academic year: an in-school tutoring partnership with the locally based non-profit Educational Advisory Foundation (EAF).

“Inman’s partnership with the EAF brings skilled and experienced outside educators to provide intensive one-on-one or small group instruction for students who require extra attention,” Foundation Chair Kevin Lyman said.

Last school year, these educators worked with nearly 100 students, a majority of the students in need but not all.

Teachers watched students develop the confidence to volunteer to read passages in front of the class for the first time.

“We’ve seen statistically significant increases in test scores with those students. It’s definitely working,” Maxwell said.

For this school year, the Foundation will once again turn to its parents and community to promote these initiatives and its mission.

“Knowing that we are having a long-term impact on these students and their achievement levels, that’s what we’ll keep doing in partnership with Dr. Maxwell,” Meyer said.

To donate or learn more, see inmanfoundation.org.

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