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April 2010 - JANET PORCARO

Biodeisel fuel project spawns new curriculum at Newton North High School

Biodeisel fuel project spawns new curriculum at Newton North High School

Greengineers, Greengineering the FutureGreengineer

The Biodeisel project at Newton North High School was launched with a $400 grant from the PTSO. The small tank pictured here was purchased with those funds and this was just the beginning of an innovative curriculum design. Since that first bit of seed money, the program has benefited with donations from MIT,  http://www.savethatstuff.com/, and more.

Personally I have learned that biodeisel fuel is green fuel made from wasted vegetable oil. The students of North created a fuel production laboratory to recycle the leftover oil from the Newton North cafeteria. Read about the fuel lab here.  I also hear they have an Algae Lab up and growing.

This busy operation is actually an exciting new way for students to become engaged in learning. The integrated curriculum combines several disciplines into one (STEM: science, technology, engineering, mathematics.) In addition, students are applying concepts learned from business, finance, physics, production safety, communications and more.  The best part is that the problem solving strategies are used to help local and global communities. Contact: Greengineers1@gmail.com

I like to think others will learn from such brilliant curriculum design. If you enjoyed hearing about this program, please let me know. I’m happy to investigate more.

Ranch For Rent/Lease in Harwich Port

Ranch For Rent/Lease in Harwich Port

[photo:listing:2199685]
Great beach vacation

• 1,754 sq. ft., 2 bath, 3 bdrm ranch “Spacious one level living” – MLS®$3,000 USDWeekly- Escape to Cape Cod

Harwich Port, Town of Harwich  –  Pristine Cape ranch positioned on dead end street. Spacious interior rooms look out to beautiful wooded lot maintained with underground sprinkler system. Many updates include family room and two decks for easy living. Hardwood floors throughout, central air, two car garage. Finished basement is a plus. Close proximity to private deeded beach. Off season rates are negotiable.

Property information

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Newton Public School’s Technology Department Employs The Best

Newton Public School’s Technology Department Employs The Best

Newton Public School’s Technology Department Employs The Best

Jessica DuvalNewton Public School’s Technology Department Employs The Best Jessica Duval, Web Facilitator for Newton Public School’s Technology Department (www3.newton.k12.ma.us), was recruited from Waltham’s McDevitt Middle School, where she worked as a technology teacher. She’s a great catch judging by her love of design, her strong technological background, and her upbeat and creative perspective. She works within the NPS Technology Department as Web Facilitator and the results have been a thing of beauty. The clean design of the revamped site is easy to navigate, handsome, and filled with interesting content. (http://www3.newton.k12.ma.us/) The site will be evolving over the summer with many new proposed improvements. Still the site as it exists today is clear, concise and gives a nice flavor of Newton Public Schools. This must have been a challenge. Newton is one of the larger school districts in Massachusetts with 15 elementary schools, 4 middle schools and 2 high schools. The system is complex and has many levels of organization. So far this is a job well done.

Newton Public SchoolsApparently, after much research, the Department decided to go with an Open Source content management system called Drupal. Open Source is a development method for software, with collaboration and community at the core. The benefits include lower costs and the ability to maintain standards for the good of the community. It’s the same system used by The White House (http://www.whitehouse.gov), although I’m sure the resources and staff in Washington are bigger than in Newton. Having worked in Drupal in some of my volunteer positions, I know enough to say that it is an extremely powerful yet challenging environment–enough to appreciate the good work being done on the NPS site. Watch this site as it evolves in the future because I can almost bet my laptop that it will be a shining example of best practices for community web sites. Kudos to Shelley Chamberlain, Director of Information Technology, Newton Public Schools. The greatest leaders know how to surround themselves with the best and the brightest!