Technology and Transition: Sto-Rox High School

Once a struggling school, Sto-Rox High School is quickly becoming the school students and teachers have long imagined. Their recently-acquired Classrooms for the Future grant money is helping to bring life to instruction, and innovative new programs for freshmen and special needs students are addressing academic and socio-emotional needs.
Once a struggling school, Sto-Rox High School is quickly becoming the school students and teachers have long imagined. Their recently-acquired Classrooms for the Future grant money is helping to bring life to instruction, and innovative new programs for freshmen and special needs students are addressing academic and socio-emotional needs.

Preview [dial-up OR broadband]

Leveling the Playing Field

Teachers and leaders at Sto-Rox create meaningful experiences for students, both inside and outside the classroom.

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Students prepare to debate about state funding and low-resource schools.

In a school recently struggling to retain principals for the entire school year, the climate at Sto-Rox High School is positive and focused. As principal Melanie Kerber strolls the long, wide halls, students approach her with smiles and high-fives. She makes an effort to connect with them, asking about basketball games or grades on a recent test. Indeed, students know they are cared for when they come into school, but, as in most large, urban high schools, conditions are not perfect. Access is still an issue for students at Sto-Rox, which is why the Classrooms for the Future grant is playing a crucial role in the transformation of this school.

Even after just two weeks with their new technology, changes are apparent. Teachers can see the impact it is having on their students, and many feel their students benefit even more from these tools than students in higher-resource districts. Today, in Nicole Camaioni’s government class, students act out a state senate session. Acting as delegates and education advocates from their own district, they argue about whether to pass a law giving financial incentives to high-performing schools in their state. The students recognize how a low-resource school like theirs might not benefit from such a plan—and they’re not afraid to speak up about it.


Learning through real-life examples [dial-up OR broadband]


Nicole’s lesson plan

“How a Bill Becomes a Law” PowerPoint

 Targeting Special Populations

Teachers take a grassroots approach to integrating technology.

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Freshmen receive special attention during the transition into high school.

Because of the declining enrollment over the years, Sto-Rox students attend a school building designed for a student population twice their size. Long halls and vacant rooms can be havens for disciple problems, but instead, Sto-Rox administrators are using the ample space in innovative ways. One program making a big difference for students at the large high school is the Freshman Academy. A school-within-a-school, this area, allocated for freshman only, is a bustling hallway with teachers in close proximity to one another. Like other classes and departments throughout the school, Freshman Academy chose to be part of the CFF grant in order to improve the student experience.

Only two weeks into using the Smartboard, freshman biology teacher Nolan Larry realizes that his large class size and long, narrow classroom are not always conducive to interactive learning. At the same time, students are still new to this technology, so engagement levels are high. Larry hopes that further training and use will help him integrate the Smartboard seamlessly in the coming months.


Focusing on freshmen [dial-up OR broadband]


Elsewhere at Sto-Rox, students and teachers are learning about their new technology together. Eager teachers, like Learning Support teacher Tom Rea, make every effort to incorporate the use of the Smart Board into the classroom. Rea teaches a structured curriculum designed to get students with IEPs ready for standardized reading tests, and has converted all of his material to electronic form. Students watch excitedly as their peers take a stab at the interactive tools.

Tom Rea’s lesson plan

“Rewards” PowerPoint


Making the most of test prep [dial-up OR broadband]


Data on Technology Integration