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School Principal Broadcasts Positivity


School Principal Broadcasts Positivity

Robert E. Lee High School is a public secondary school in Montgomery, Alabama, serving grades nine through 12. According to U.S. News & World Report data, among the student population of 1,386, the total minority enrollment is 95 percent, and 86 percent of students are economically disadvantaged. When Doctor Antjuan Marsh became principal at Robert E. Lee High School, one of the first things he did was assess the school's education technology. The classroom displays, he discovered, were aged, underutilized, and included a difficult-to-manage mix of models that included ViewSonic ViewBoard interactive displays. Teachers reported that they preferred the ViewSonic ViewBoard interactive displays because they were easier to use and enabled them to do much more digitally than the Promethean boards.

After assessing the ViewBoard interactive displays, Marsh and the school improvement team agreed to purchase current-model 75-inch ViewSonic ViewBoard interactive displays for every classroom. It was a wise investment. Teachers use the ViewBoard displays daily for instruction, Doctor Marsh said, and are well versed in using the included myViewBoard software tools to boost collaboration and engagement.

"For example, one English teacher breaks students into workstations, with one group working at the ViewBoard display," Doctor Marsh said. "Students can interact with text on the board, which allows them to annotate, highlight, and request audio readings, which is an outstanding way to improve vocabulary and comprehension."

With the instructional technology upgrade behind him, Doctor Marsh turned his attention to finding innovative ways to build a stronger school-wide community. The leader of a school where 80 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced-cost lunches and live in an often violent and uncertain environment.

Doctor Marsh recognized a unique opportunity presented by the ViewSonic ViewBoard displays installed in every classroom across the school. His plan was to leverage the displays to extend the power of the positive through dynamic and compelling school-wide multimedia messaging.

The ViewSonic Manager software included with ViewSonic ViewBoard displays allows for remote centralized management of all networked displays, along with the ability to distribute text-based messages across some or all ViewBoard displays. Text alone, however, was not compelling enough to meet Doctor Marsh's goals. To deliver video and other media messaging, he would need the Manager Advanced subscription-based software upgrade.

The CDC indicates that when students feel connected to their school, they're less likely to experience poor mental health, sexual health risks, substance abuse, and violence. The ViewSonic ViewBoard classroom displays provided an important means of reaching these critical goals.

Doctor Marsh uses videos on connectedness to shape school culture, positively impact social-emotional learning, provide public service announcements, and run safety drills. To capture student attention, he broadcasts these messages to every ViewBoard display in the school at random times, including in the middle of classes.

"I've broadcast many types of messages," Doctor Marsh said. "Most of them are about the great things our students are doing, but the broadcasts are also helpful for utilitarian messages. For example, yesterday we ran a PSA on where and when students can and cannot use cell phones. Teachers appreciate these PSAs because when they see students in the hallways not following the rules, they can remind them of the videos."

Creating the broadcasts is as easy as using his iPhone to record video, along with using apps on his laptop, Doctor Marsh explained, enabling him to edit and add captions. The Manager Advanced software further enables him to broadcast YouTube videos or other web-based content, another feature which he leverages for positive impact. Occasionally he will send messages to certain classes, easily identifying and selecting the ViewBoard display endpoints using the Manager Advanced interface.

As hoped for, the videos have become a happily anticipated part of the school environment. "The more videos I create, the more they want to see them," Doctor Marsh said. "If I can't make it to an event or leave something out that they think should be there, the students let me know."

The opportunities to notice, capture and broadcast connection and caring are endless. On March 14, otherwise known as Pi Day, the school held a pie-throwing event. A student unexpectedly tossed the edible kind at the principal, who accepted the gesture with extreme grace. Someone caught it all on video and it is now one of the many memorable broadcasts bolstering the community at Lee High School.

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