Decatur Proud Newsletter
Message from the Superintendent
Happy New Year to our Decatur Township families and staff! I hope that everyone’s 2019 is off to a great start. We were happy to see our students, teachers, administrators and staff return to school looking recharged and ready to fulfill our mission of fostering an environment of empowerment, growth and development. Between the School for Excellence securing a prestigious award to our students capitalizing on 21st century learning opportunities, our school district experienced many instances that truly made us all #DecaturProud. With such a strong and successful start to our 2018-19 school year, we are eager to see what our staff and students will accomplish in the new year. Be sure to stay tuned for more exciting news to come!
Dr. Matt Prusiecki
Why leveraging computer science is crucial to every classroom
By: Aimee Kroll, Computer Science teacher at MSD of Decatur Township
In the ever-changing technological world, computer science is not only becoming more prominent in classrooms, but a staple in education. Computer science combines the principles of technology and use of computers to educate learners on both the hardware and software of computer technology. The field of computer science is exceptionally diverse, as the skill sets are in-demand across practically every industry — serving as a lucrative and stable career pathway.
In addition, computer science can have many facets — meaning educators can leverage various components of the field to reach students across all levels and learning abilities. With technology present in almost every classroom, educators have a greater opportunity to implement computer science lessons with practically every curriculum. This provides students with the knowledge and skills required to help follow job market trends when they graduate.
Technology in the classroom has revolutionized the way students learn, allowing students of all learning styles to connect and provide the chance to move at their own pace for a more individualized approach to learning. It also increases the quality and quantity of students’ thinking and writing. With more access to resources than ever before, students now have the world at their fingertips and can apply this advantage to enhance their educational experience.
Often times, educators are intimidated by computer science, thinking it is a more complex subject for younger learners; however, similar to all core subjects, students at pre-K and elementary levels can easily master computer science by learning incrementally. By helping students develop skills of inquiry, ideating, creating, modeling, testing, and analyzing in the early years, it becomes easier to integrate computer science into the classroom in later years.
The learning experience is evolving for students in order to keep up with an advanced and technology-centered society. Students are now expected to be both knowledgeable and comfortable with computers and various other communication systems. This expectation is leading to more productivity and efficiency in the classroom which translates to a more advanced education. By integrating more innovation in instructional techniques and delivery systems through use of technologies in the classroom, educators are achieving results faster than ever.
Between establishing a voice across social media channels, a professional identity throughout online networks and maintaining an educational portfolio, computer science is teaching students to multitask on a completely new level. Additionally, students are given access to online learning outside of the classroom today with the use of hotspots, which allow learners to stay connected at all times and provides teachers the flexibility to incorporate additional digital learning opportunities into their curriculums.
Abundance of opportunities.
In comparison to other fields of study, computer science skills are transferable across almost every industry. Coding, specifically, is considered to be one of the most invaluable job skills of the future as countless companies require it for its business infrastructure, software and online presence — making computer science professionals indispensable. In fact, employment of computer and information research scientists is projected to grow 19 percent from 2016 to 2026.
Computer science forces students to think critically and communicate in the digital world, while simultaneously giving them a competitive advantage in our ever-evolving technological world and help ensure future global stability and success.
About Aimee Kroll
Aimee Kroll is the computer science teacher at Decatur Central High School of MSD of Decatur Township, a nationally recognized school district that uses an innovative and personalized, small-learning community approach. Aimee believes educating young learners on the importance of computer science fundamentals will better prepare students for future career paths and opportunities. For more information, visit www.decaturproud.org.
Meet the Clubs Embracing Computer Science
Each semester, new clubs and programs are implemented to better engage our students. This past semester, our school district introduced two new clubs to the vast, existing roster: The Coding Club and Innovation & Entrepreneur Club -- both incorporating forward-thinking skills.
“We decided to move forward with these clubs due to the interest and curiosity of the students. We are structuring them on two primary educational mindsets, computational and forward thinking,” said Innovation Hub director Brian Bulmer. “We want to get kids involved and develop pipelines for computer science mindsets, for whatever career path they decide to choose. No matter what field students plan to study, computer science will play a role.”
The purpose of the Coding Club is not just to create and design, but also to inspire and stimulate. Computer science is at the forefront of most technological advances today, and in effort to give our students a competitive advantage in today’s world, Decatur Township felt it only necessary to provide this extracurricular engagement to the students. Each meeting involves introductions and coding practice using the Swift Playground software. The long-term goal of the coding club is to create an app prototype, using the necessary skills developed. If students or parents are interested in learning more or have any questions, they can contact computer science teacher Brian Belch.
Our Innovation & Entrepreneur Club encourages students to seek and ignite change in a common problem or social issue they’re facing or noticing today. After just one meeting, students have already begun crafting their own innovations and ideas! The group will not only work together to establish long-term goals, but they’ll also participate in soft-skill workshops, such as short elevator speeches and lessons on building their personal brand. Contact Innovation Hub Director, Brian Bulmer to learn more about the Entrepreneur Club!
As technology and innovation become increasingly influential in our world, Decatur Township schools proactively seek out opportunities to incorporate them into our education system. Together, these clubs will work in unison to ignite change in our community, and promote the use of problem solving for everyday situations. We are confident the addition of the Coding Club and Innovation & Entrepreneur Club will prove beneficial and better equip our students for successful journeys after graduation.
Fine Arts Features
Hawk Highlights – Winter Athletics
“In my 3 years coaching at Decatur, this game was the most complete game a Decatur Lady Hawks team has played for me. They were focused, precise and determined.” Coach Gibbs said. “The team coasted through another game, lead in scoring by Ajulu Thathu, to defeat Providence Cristo Rey High School 61-23.”
Come out and support your Lady Hawks as their season continues!
Student-Athletes of the Month
In partnership with corporate sponsor Marion Adams Flooring, we are happy to recognize the commitment, determination and success of our student-athletes. The Marion Adams Flooring Athlete of the Month Award is given to one female and one male student-athlete who displayed athletic excellence in all areas of competition during the previous month.
Jenna Perry – Valley Mills Elementary
The MSD of Decatur Township app for iPhone, iPod, and iPad allows student, faculty and parents to keep up to date with school and classroom communication.