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Ocoee Middle School is First to Try E-Learning Curriculum

Ocoee Middle School (OMS) in west Orange County is not your typical school. In 1997, the Legislature designated it as Florida’s Demonstration School, part of the “Soundly Made, Accountable, Reasonable, and Thrifty” (SMART) Schools Initiative. As such, OMS serves as a laboratory to test the world’s leading education technology. Teachers, students, and even parents utilize the most recent technological advances in order to enhance learning and efficiency, and the results are remarkable.

Classmates wait patiently as
Commissioner Horne gives a student
his new Tablet PC.

Since the implementation of the SMART Schools Initiative, students, teachers, and parents at OMS have become more engaged. The need for student discipline has decreased significantly. Teacher retention has improved substantially, and parents are more aware of their child’s performance, behavior, and homework requirements.

OMS is not only being watched by the people of Florida. People around the world are interested in learning more about the school and its achievements. Most recently, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard and Holt, Rinehart and Winston joined together to provide seventh grade students at OMS with Tablet-PCs and an interactive online e-Learning curriculum. Student progress will be monitored to see how students benefit from around-the-clock fingertip access to their learning resources.

Ocoee seventh grader eagerly
accepts her new Tablet PC.

On Friday, August 22, Education Commissioner Jim Horne visited OMS to congratulate the school for earning this first-ever pilot program, an outstanding accomplishment. OMS was selected over some of the best schools in the nation, including schools from Texas and California, due to its forward-thinking and innovative nature.

Although the technological presence at OMS is impressive, the school should be applauded most for its dedication to student achievement. According to Principal Katherine Clark, academic achievement is our primary mission at Ocoee Middle School. “We use technology to meet the needs of our diverse learners,” she said. “I believe that e-Learning will be the key to unlocking the potential of every student.”

OMS has earned an “A” school grade for the past two years, and students and staff are already working hard to master the Sunshine State Standards and earn another “A” this year.

For more information on Ocoee Middle School, visit the web sites below.