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Bringing Digital to the “Natives”

Students at the Memorial Elementary School have the use of three brand new iPads thanks to Memorial PTO's new fundraiser "Box Tops 10K for Technology." The PTO began the initiative in September with a goal of raising $10,000 to purchase additional technology for the school.

"This year, we knew technology in the school and the classroom was going to be a big thing," said Michele Arthur, Memorial PTO's Volunteer Coordinator. Arthur, along with the help of Box Top Coordinator Jackie Russo, set collection boxes out at various places throughout the community including the Upton Town Hall, United Parish Food Pantry, Fluff & Fold Laundromat, the Upton Senior Center and Library to collect "Box Tops for Education" coupons. They also went to great effort to get the teachers, students and their families involved in the fundraiser by holding contests where the class that collected the most Box Tops would win a $150 cash prize and a "special surprise" for the students, both sponsored by the PTO.

Brenda Webster's 3rd Grade classroom won the Fall contest by collecting 2,732 Box Tops and will be enjoying the fruits of their labor when they return from winter break. Webster has an iPad in her classroom and will be using the $150 prize to purchase additional educational apps and software for her classroom, wanting to use the money in the "spirit of which it was collected;" on technology.

She said that they also thought long and hard about what to do for their "special surprise" and her class has decided to create a video on the importance of clipping Box Tops, using the students as actors, directors and cinematographers. "We could have had an extra gym class or recess time but we really wanted to do something more meaningful and integrate technology into the special event," said Webster. The students will be using video recording equipment and software to create the video and Webster plans to invite the parents in for a "red carpet" showing of the student's final product. Webster credits the PTO with making these tools available for the students. "Our PTO is amazing. They provide so much to the teachers and the students; we are very fortunate," she said.

Memorial Principal Debra Swain is pleased with what this new fundraiser has brought and will be bringing to Memorial in the future. "I am very excited about the role that technology is playing in the classrooms," she said. "Our students are 'digital natives' and if we are going to make their learning relevant, it is essential to include the use of technology. The staff and I are extremely grateful for the support and generosity of the Memorial School PTO."

To date, the Memorial PTO has collected approximately 20,000 Box Tops, which equates to about $2,000. Although they still have a ways to go to get to their $10,000 goal, Arthur said they are optimistic about the Box Top collection for the Spring. Arthur said that they plan to use all of the Box Top proceeds for additional technology purchases for Memorial such as additional iPads and interactive whiteboards.


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