- Upper School
Dear Parents and Students,
One of the primary planks of the Strategic Plan, 2020 Dare to Dream, was to investigate ways for The Bear Creek School to deliver a high-quality Christian liberal arts education which prepares students for the world in which they live, including being innovative in our approaches to instruction and assessment—in other words, to accomplish the vision of a Christian liberal arts education in light of the contemporary world.
Over the last five years, there have been several initiatives aimed at accomplishing this goal, including:
- modifying our curriculum so that all students are exposed to computer programming at an early age;
- developing innovation labs in each division; and
- hiring specialists to help us think well about design thinking, project-based learning, and innovation in general.
And over the last two years in the Middle School and Upper School, we have been preparing to use technology to help us differentiate instruction and assessment for students. Middle School and Upper School faculty have earned Digital Citizenship certification from Common Sense Media® and will complete certification as Microsoft Innovative Educators by the end of the school year.
With all this intentional planning and preparation, we are pleased to launch Phase 3 in the 2019 – 2020 academic year, which includes piloting Microsoft Surface Pro devices with teachers and students. In August, rising seniors and juniors will receive their own Microsoft Surface Pro computer. In subsequent years, we plan to expand this program to all Upper School students, dependent on the success of the pilot year.
After extensive research, our Innovation Team determined that the Microsoft Surface Pro would be the most productive for students and teachers and believe these devices are good tools for providing students with the ability to ink—thus facilitating handwritten notes or writing out the step-by-step solutions to math problems, as well as the ability to sketch diagrams, etc. In fact, multiple studies have shown the benefits to students who use digital inking in addition to keyboarding. These links provide some additional context:
- Oviatt, Sharon. 2013. Computer interfaces and their Impact on Learning.
- International Data Corporation. 2017. The Power of Digital Inking in the Classroom.
Each device will be the property of the individual student, so students will be able to take their Surface Pros with them to college. Students may pick up their device and participate in a training session on the following dates and times.
- Monday, August 19 from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. in the Marilyn R. Nagel Commons
- Tuesday, August 20 from 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. in US Room 110
- Thursday, August 22 from 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. in US Room 110
- Friday, August 23 from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. in US Room 110
- Monday, August 26 from 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. in US Room 110
Repairs and replacements on these devices will be managed by the Microsoft Store via the device warranty. Each device automatically comes with a 1-year warranty, and there is an option to purchase a more extensive warranty should a family choose to do so. There will be a discounted 3- or 4-year extended warranty that may be purchased at the Microsoft Store within 45 days of receipt of the device. This warranty extends the manufacturer’s warranty and includes accidental damage to the device.
While students may choose to opt out of this program, we believe it will be advantageous for students to use the same devices as their faculty. If you would like to opt out of this program, please contact Director of Information Technology, Veronica Mickelsen, Veronica.Mickelsen@tbcs.org.
If you are unable to attend any of the pick-up/training dates, please contact Linda Graham, Linda.Graham@tbcs.org for alternatives.
While adoption of these devices is an exciting new development, our aim is not to change the foundational assumptions of our mission, which is supported throughout the Strategic Plan and informs all that we do at The Bear Creek School. These devices are tools which will help us better deliver our curriculum and are not intended to change it. This initiative, we believe, will help us provide personalized instruction and assessment to students and allow us to continue to provide a high-quality Christian liberal arts education in a nurturing environment that enables each student to become the individual God intends in the contemporary world into which they will graduate and live.
We look forward to students arriving in August to pick up their devices.
Grace and peace,