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Fitness Center and Music Rooms Receive SMART Boards

SMART Boards—the 21st century chalkboard.  SMART Boards have been widely used and met with great enthusiasm all over Staples.  They can be found from wing to wing all across Staples, and are used in classes for note-taking, presentations, projects, and more.  A valuable education tool and a nifty source of entertainment during communication time, everyone from teachers to students to administrators are in agreement that the Boards are handy tools to have; and now they’ve popped up in the physical education and music departments.  New technology is always a blessing in the ever-changing electronic world- but how is Staples heralding the new Boards?

It seems that these new SMART Boards lead an entourage of excitement and intrigue, along with a parade of positive praise.  The challenge of navigating the new technology, the excitement of a new teaching tool, and the thrill of possibility seem wired into the very systems of the Boards.

Whether they’re being used to watch Youtube videos of pandas on slides or presidential speeches, the big, bright screens are a great improvement from projectors and old TVs.  Orchestra teacher Adele Valovich is extremely excited for the new music room Boards for particularly that reason.

“We like for the students to hear what they’re going to play, so we usually bring in an audio recording.  But it’s so much better for them to visually see what they’re playing: what part of the bow etc.   And to be able to compare and contrast different performances- Youtube’s a wonderful tool,” Valovich said.

And students are equally pumped about having the Boards in their classes.  Being able to really see what their teachers are instructing is extremely helpful to a huge majority of Staples.

“I like the idea! I love how they’re expanding the SMART Boards to these rooms as well,” Anabelle Porio, ‘15 said. “I’m sure it’ll make things more organized. I hope to see them used to find examples online for (P.E. and music) classes.”

Many agree with Porio that the Boards make a huge difference in organization skills.  There was a little resistance to the new tech, however, when students realized how much the Boards cost.

“My personal opinion on the topic is that smart boards in gym rooms or classes such as orchestra/band are unnecessary and the school’s money should be put towards more useful purposes,” Jhumi Parimal, ‘15 said.

David Gusitch, physical education department head, was positive that the cost of the Boards would not affect the school’s budget in any negative way.   And Maddy Sampath, ‘16, agreed that the new Boards were a worthwhile use of the school’s budget.  Despite their high cost, many believe the Boards were a wise investment.

Gusitch said he could not look forward to the students using the Boards more.  “The teachers are (excited) too, to take instruction to the next level.  Any time we’re able to effectively incorporate tech, I think it strengthens the instruction.  And there’s a huge student benefit.  (The Boards help in) enhancing curriculum, allowing more student-centred classes, and allowing students to explore ideas they come up with as they take part in the unit.”

With the SMART Boards being used in 100% of the orchestra classes and nearly all freshman and junior P.E. classes, the new technology will definitely get thorough use.  With so much about the SMART Boards to look forward to, the music and physical education departments have an exciting, technologically-advanced year ahead of them.

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Jessica Gross, A&E Editor
Most kids might shy away from new experiences and dread trying something they’ve never done before, but not Jessica Gross ’15. “I’m totally open to new things,” said Gross, “Actually, I love trying new things.” And it makes perfect sense. The A&E Page Editor has lived in Hong Kong, been to Paris to see a rock concert, and even attended a Berklee College summer program for the performing arts. While she indulges her passion for performing arts through her involvement in Staples Players and her love for journalism in Inklings, Gross’ guilty pleasure is baking. Whether it’s for friends, family, teammates or co-workers, she is always able to put her own spin on any traditional treat. And it’s not just her friends who take note of her knack for baking; even her boss at the restaurant she works at has remarked on her talent, adding a dessert special to his menu featuring Gross’ homemade cookies and brownies. She has even ventured as far as making mini key lime pies, a favorite on the menu. When someone has so many different passions, it’s hard to pick their proudest moment. However, Gross’ came to mind easily: “My band and I opened up for Paul Simon at a concert,” she said, “it was incredible.” Gross is actually the lead singer for that band, created at the School of Rock in Fairfield. Few musicians were invited to join the band at School of Rock, only those with rare talent made the cut. Whether it is finding an interesting topic to cover for Inklings, practicing with her band to get the best sound, or even baking a delicious snack, Gross does it all with flair. So as she embarks on her senior year, take note of her name, because who knows, Jessica Gross might be headlining a tour, opening up a bakery, or even writing for The New York Times in the near future.

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