NPS and Pascack Valley Regional High School District Receive Grant to Develop Technology Enhanced Curriculum

Newark Public Schools receives $250,000 grant from New Jersey Department of Education to partner with Pascack Valley School District to improve digital learning readiness in four NPS schools


[Newark, NJ – March 28, 2016] – Newark Public Schools (NPS) received a $250,000 Future Ready Schools – New Jersey (FRS-NJ) grant from the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) to implement a technology enhanced curriculum that ensures Newark students are college and career ready.  Under the grant, NPS will partner with Pascack Valley Regional High School District to develop an innovative and effective technology curriculum that enhances digital learning.

“Technology is an integral part of how our students think and learn in today’s global economy,” said Superintendent Christopher D. Cerf of NPS.  “It is so important to develop a curriculum that supports 21st century learning, and the Future Ready grant will help ensure that our teachers and their classrooms are preparing students for college and a successful career.”

FRS-NJ is designed to help students in elementary and secondary public school develop the digital learning skills they need to compete in today’s global economy.  The partnership will help both districts develop best practices that can be shared with teachers in other classrooms and schools to create student-centered learning environments that improve college and career readiness.

“Pascack Valley Regional High School District is proud to partner with Newark Public Schools to support student learning through technology,” said P. Erik Gundersen, Superintendent of Schools at Pascack Valley Regional High School District.  “Digital learning has transformed the way our students learn at Pascack, and we are looking forward sharing best practices to collaborating with educators in Newark to create a technology enhanced curriculum that will serve as a model for others.”

Over a period of six months, NPS and Pascack Valley Regional High School will collaborate through virtual Professional Learning Communities, virtual and in-person coaching and professional development trainings to develop and share best practices that will help improve and enhance their respective digital learning programs.  The grant will primarily focus on promoting digital learning in high need schools like Luis Munoz Marin Elementary School, Brick Avon Academy, Technology High School and East Side High School.

“The district has been working very hard to ensure our technology curriculum is giving our students an excellent 21st century education,” said Joshua Koen, Special Assistant for Technology in the Office of Curriculum at NPS.  “The Future Ready grant will help advance our work and ensure our teachers have the resources they need to create an innovative learning environment for our students.”

The FRS-NJ grant program was included in the FY2015-16 budget to assist schools with implementing a technology curriculum to create student-centered learning environments that are closely aligned with common core standards and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exam.

“It is so important that our schools and teachers have the tools necessary to prepare students for a global economy,” said Senator M. Teresa Ruiz, who represents the 29th Legislative District and serves as chair of the State Education Committee. “The Future Ready Schools-NJ grant will help to transform Newark’s classrooms by implementing a technology enhanced curriculum that can be shared across schools. This is an innovative approach that will allow students to develop the skills they need to be successful.”

NPS is the largest school district in the state with 47 elementary schools, 16 high schools, 14 charter schools and two ungraded schools.  NPS has made a concerted effort in recent years to utilize technology to accelerate learning and help teachers strengthen the teaching curriculum.  The district recently purchased over 11,000 student Google Chromebook laptops with the goal of facilitating 21st century learning environments.  The district also announced last year it is partnering with Google’s Expeditions Pioneer Program, a new pilot program that allows teachers to take students on virtual reality field trips around the world.

Pascack Valley Regional High School District serves Hillsdale, Montvale, River Vale and Woodcliff Lake in Bergen County.  The district considers itself an “e-Learning School District” with over 12 years of experience incorporating technology into the curriculum.  Pascack Valley Regional High School District is an InnovateNJ district and a member of Digital Promise’s League of Innovative Schools, an organization that is dedicating to improving student outcomes through digital learning.