Scranton High School

During its birth as an industrial center in the early 19th century, Scranton, Pennsylvania attracted immigrants, many from Eastern Europe. Now, in the early 21st century, it continues to welcome visitors from all over the world. The changing demographics are clearly seen in at Scranton High School, which graduated nearly 500 students from over 40 countries in 2006. Teachers address these changing needs through the use of technology and intensive ESL classes, while they also strive to support achievement in the greater student population.
During its birth as an industrial center in the early 19th century, Scranton, Pennsylvania attracted immigrants, many from Eastern Europe. Now, in the early 21st century, it continues to welcome visitors from all over the world. The changing demographics are clearly seen in at Scranton High School, which graduated nearly 500 students from over 40 countries in 2006. Teachers address these changing needs through the use of technology and intensive ESL classes, while they also strive to support achievement in the greater student population.

Preview [dial-up OR broadband]

 

Adapting to Population Changes

Principal Bryan McGraw and his staff are up for the challenge of serving a new student population.

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Principal Bryan McGraw makes connections to his students.

As the proud principal of Scranton High School, Bryan McGraw calls his school the “campus of champions.”  Scranton students are reflections of a global community, and the newness of the modern physical plant offers a stark contrast to the gritty downtown. Once in economic turmoil, the city of Scranton experienced revitalization in the 1980s. In a way, the school campus is a tangible symbol of hope for the city’s residents. More recently, Scranton has become home to a highly diverse immigrant population that is changing the face of education in the city.


Meeting the challenges of changing demographics [dial-up OR broadband]


Scranton School District information

School website

The success of the academic team led to the “campus of champions” nickname.  But, McGraw has other reasons to be proud. Because of its urban location, Scranton High students have access to programs at local universities, including the extensive dual enrollment program in place at their school. This program gives already high-achieving students an extra boost that could strengthen their college readiness.


Getting college credit [dial-up OR broadband]


In addition to meeting the needs of its high achievers, teachers at Scranton focus on the burgeoning population of ESL students.  Content area ESL classes help these students learn language skills in addition to crucial content that prepares them for state assessments.  With the ESL inclusion program in its second year, teachers are excited to get students engaged in projects using technology, though teachers are still learning how to adapt to their culturally diverse classes.


Changing instruction for changing students [dial-up OR broadband]

 

Integrating Technology: Successes and Challenges

Eager teachers experience the joys and struggles of their new resources.

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Teaches share the wealth of computers now available in their school.

Funds from the Classrooms for the Future grant provided laptops carts, interactive white boards, and projectors to fourteen classrooms in the school. Unlike some schools receiving this grant, Scranton distributed technology to a variety of academic departments, and they’ve seen the benefits of this decision.

For social studies teacher David Powell, technology allows him to teach beyond the textbook.  Fellow social studies teacher Jerry Skotleski appreciates how the technology facilitates the use of images, an essential strategy for teaching ESL students.  In English teacher Lynn Harding’s class, technology helps bridge the gap between disparate cultures as students prepare slide shows about their home countries for their classmates.


Supporting ESL learners with technology [dial-up OR broadband]


Lynn Harding’s lesson plan

English class presentations

Teachers are observing how at-risk students and those with special needs are affected by the influx of technology. Across the school, student engagement is up and student discipline problems have dropped off.  For students like Andrew, new opportunities to see, hear, and type their work keep them coming to school each day.


Making learning accessible [dial-up OR broadband]


Classrooms for the Future Research

Paulette’s lesson plan

Regardless of the benefits, keeping the new technology up and running presents challenges. Adding fourteen carts of wireless laptops has weakened an already stressed network.  Limited access to computers and inadequate bandwidth keep eager teachers from moving forward with their ideas. Teachers try to remain flexible and optimistic, but the frustration creeps into their voices, especially when a network outage has forced a change in their daily plans.


Building infrastructure, increasing access [dial-up OR broadband]


Classrooms for the Future Research

Going Further in Math

Upper level math comes alive with interactive tools.

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Traditional assignments are transformed in Calculus.

AP Calculus class is a lively place.  As her students hunch over their desks, which are piled with books, notebooks, and laptops, teacher Judy Gruen moves between two adjacent white boards.  On one she displays a problem related to the second derivative.  On the other she moves through a multimedia calculus tutorial.  Then, students break into small groups and begin working their homework problems.  As these students write, their work is being captured to the computer.  At the end of the day, Judy uploads the documents created during class to her website where students can use them to study.

Judy’s lesson plan

AP Calculus website

Like Judy, Lori Stetzar jumped at the chance to be part of the grant because she was convinced that the technology could help her address problems related to student learning in math. Stetzar was particularly eager to try out statistics software because she knew it would expedite sometimes-tedious computations, thus allowing time to explore concepts more deeply.


Integrating technology in math [dial-up OR broadband]