Sunday, December 17, 2017

Week pg December 18,2017 Annoncements

Guidance for Parents on Educational Apps

            In this New York Times article, Tara Haelle quotes Ellen Wartella, director of the Center on Media and Human Development at Northwestern University: “There really does need to be some sort of Good Housekeeping seal of approval to say this is a good app, but we don’t have that yet.” While we wait for authoritative guidance, Haelle suggests that teachers and parents apply these criteria when appraising apps that claim to be educational:
-    Does it have clearly defined, measurable objectives that build on existing skills?
-    Does it connect new learning to existing knowledge?
-    Can kids transfer what they learn to real life?
-    Does it actively engage the child? Is it fun?
-    Is it empowering for kids? Is it an active versus a passive experience?
-    Does it have features that make it socially interactive?
-    Is it adaptive, adjusting to errors and giving feedback as kids play with it?
-    Does it have distractions that interrupt the learning experience?
“When an app is well-designed, with a clear goal to support a skill and clear target audience,” says Jessica Taylor Piotrowski of the Center for Research on Children, Adolescents, and the Media at the University of Amsterdam, “and really relies on these principles of being active, engaged, meaningful, and socially interactive, it works, it absolutely works. But some of these apps are playful experiences that enable creativity and problem-solving, and they can be just as valuable.”
Haelle goes on to suggest several questions that educators and parents should ask about apps as they pick and choose from hundreds of possibilities:
Does the app seem right for its users? This involves watching kids playing with the app and seeing where it falls on the continuum from serious learning to just play.
Who created it? Pretty much anything from PBS is going to be high-quality, says Haelle. With other companies, see if educators were involved in the development process. Big names like Disney and Nickelodeon don’t always produce good educational apps, while some little-known companies like Tinybop have some excellent  products.
            • Trust the experts. Common Sense Media is a good source of information on apps, says Haelle. Children’s Technology Review (Ctrex) also does helpful reviews, often including video clips of the app in action.
            • Does it have advertising or in-app purchases? PBS apps are free with no strings attached, but others support themselves with commercial links. Poptropica, for example, is a fun app with some educational content, but it can seem like “one long advertisement for Kellogg brand cereals,” says David Hill, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Communications and Media. Some apps offer a “freemium” app that lets users download a partial version to try before paying for the full-featured version.
            • Does the app protect children’s privacy? Be wary of apps that ask for too much information on a child. Products for children under 13 should be compliant with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). But anonymity is a double-edged sword, warns Haelle. “In social apps, complete anonymity can open the door to bullying if kids don’t feel accountable for their words.” Does the app make it easy to report abuse? Roblox is an example of an app with multiple safeguards for kids.
            • Does the app do something only an app can do? Flashcards and worksheets are a waste of technology. A good app should “bring to life an experience that’s impossible to create off screen,” says Christine Elgersma of Common Sense Media. Examples include these Tinybop apps: The Earth, Robot Factory, Space, Skyscrapers, and The Human Body. Another good one is Homer, a literacy app that allows kids to send their creations to approved family members and educators.
            • Everything in moderation. How much app playing is too much? “It’s a question of balance over the course of the day,” says Wartella, who recommends technology-free zones such as mealtimes and bedtime. The American Academy of Pediatrics has a personalized family media use planning tool at App use should make room for physical activity, homework, reading, and social interactions – and of course eating and sleeping.
            • Co-play. There is some evidence that when children use an app with another person, there are more benefits than from solo use. When parents or teachers use an app with a child, there are additional benefits: “A parent can really be a bridge to transfer any learning an app has to the real world so it’s not isolated to a screen when the tablet cover is closed,” says Elgersma. “Co-use and co-play – that is one of the most powerful ways that apps can be educational.”
From her informal network of parents and educators, Haelle recommends several apps: RazKids, Dragonbox, Starfall, Bedtime Math, IXL apps, Scribblenauts, Endless Alphabet, Spelling City, TumbleBooks, Epic!, and ABC Mouse.

“How to Decide Which Educational Apps Make the Grade” by Tara Haelle in The New York Times, December 7, 2017,

Chocolate Bars for Fund Raising 
Recently there have been a number of parents who were unaware of the fund raising requirement of either paying $175.00 to Smart Tuition or selling candy bars.  This was stated on this blog for three weeks in September (please scroll back to September to see the announcements) along with the policy that it is an either/or scenario - either parents opt to sell candy bars to defer them making payments directly out of pocket OR pay out of pocket. 
 The registration form on TADS does mention all these facets.
The September notices gave a deadline for chocolate pickup as November 1st so that entries could be made by Smart Tuition on those people who decided which option they wanted. 
For next year Mr. Woods will make sure more clearly that parental understanding appears on the sign off sheet. It is also just as important that parents read the blog carefully and ask office staff questions before over reacting because they did not read the policy.

Kitchen Update
The New York City Fire Department was here last Wednesday regarding the hood above the stove in the kitchen.
The Fire Department has ruled that the hood must be removed completely and a new hood installed with a venting system running through the rectory with an exit pipe on the rectory's roof.
This matter is being looked at the building commission of the Archdiocese and therefore the stove and convection ovens must remain off until the work is complete and approved by the
 NYC Fire Department. 
The kitchen was installed in 1980 and rules have changed over the years so children will continue to be served a cold lunch provided by the Archdiocese of New York's  Child Nutrition Program until the work is completed and approved. 

Registration facts for the 2018-2019 School Year 

December 1, 2017 :
Admissions open for NEW families

January 19, 2018:
Registrations for NEW and RETURNING families open
Re-Qualification for Financial Assistance opens for RETURNING families
Tuition & Fee rate sheets  will be available on January 12, 2018.

February 1, 2018:
Deadline for NEW families to submit complete Admissions & Financial Assistance applications, including all required documentation, in order to receive a decision regarding Financial Assistance by March 15.

March 15, 2018:
Families who have submitted complete Admissions & Financial Assistance applications (including all required documentation) and who have been accepted by the school of interest by February 1, will receive email notices informing them of the results of their Financial Assistance applications by this date.

Monday - December 18, 2017
Please check with your child's teacher about classroom party on Thursday

Tuesday December 19, 2017
PreK For All Holiday Presentation 9:00 AM
8th grade Cake Sale 

Wednesday December 20,2017
Mrs. Claus arrives with the elves to visit students in PreK, Kindergarten and First Grades 

Thursday December 21, 2017
Lessons and Carols -- 8 :30 AM - All Grades - IN CHURCH. Parents welcome 
Dismissal at 3:15 PM 

Christmas Recess begins at dismissal - Classes resume January 3, 2017