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Technology playing greater role in education

A year ago, the North Syracuse Central School District introduced the 9.5 Nova Net program for North Syracuse Junior High School ninth-graders who were struggling and did not have the necessary credits to advance to grade 10 at Cicero-North Syracuse High School.

Over a six-week period in the summer of 2009, 29 ninth-graders participated in an online learning experience directed by two regular classroom teachers. At the end of the six weeks, almost all of the students had earned enough credits to go on to the high school where they enrolled in a combination of grade nine and grade 10 courses.

To ensure the students stayed on track, they continued to meet with the two instructors and remained in the 9.5 program for the remainder of the year. Even now, almost a year and a half later, the original instructors provide needed support when necessary to the students who first joined this program in summer 2009.

A similar program also began a year ago at North Syracuse Junior High School for students who failed eighth grade and ordinarily would have been retained and not promoted to ninth grade. Teachers in this program begin their curriculum in their respective areas with eighth grade material, as well as concentrating on team building.

The teachers incorporate the NovaNet program to build skills in grade eight courses the students have not learned. Within the first two months, the students transition to ninth grade courses with more traditional teaching, but with supplemental use of the NovaNet program. At the end of the year, students could go on to the 9.5 program or move to the high school as 10th grade students.

Also, at the high school, credit recovery programs are being introduced in several academic areas to help students who have failed a required course. Although the emphasis is on online learning through NovaNet, two teachers are available to assist students and provide assistance.

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