Portage Township Schools remains committed to a culture of innovation. Due to precautions to ensure the safety of students, the district made the decision to participate in the solar eclipse virtually; however, the ability to expose students to authentic and relevant learning opportunities will not be sacrificed. As a district, the decision to view the eclipse on Monday, August 21, 2017 via National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) newest weather satellite, GOES-16, provides an opportunity to further the commitment to a culture of technological innovation rather than to simply participate in an event.
The students will participate in the solar eclipse throughout the duration of the school day. The teachers in Portage have provided students with the background knowledge of the upcoming rare eclipse and have designed learning opportunities that incorporate the still pictures and live footage of satellites looking down at Earth, tracking the moon’s shadow across the United States.
Experiencing the solar eclipse virtually, to include images of the eclipse from NOAA’s GOES-16 newest satellite and NOAA’s DSCOVR satellite that orbits one million miles away provides opportunities otherwise impossible without the connection to a technologically enhanced curriculum. The students will also have the opportunity to view the eclipse live on NASA TV while collaborating about the experiences through discussion. The follow-up and extension activities in the classrooms throughout the district will culminate with the viewing of the still images and movie of the moon’s shadow to be released later in the week.
Portage Township Schools remains committed to the mission of educating, empowering, and inspiring excellence. Technological innovation continues to be a priority in fostering high achievement and is evident in some of Portage Township Schools’ most recent accomplishments. PTS is currently one of only thirty-two school districts across the state that received the Indiana Department of Education’s (IDOE) Digital Learning Grant. Furthermore, Portage Township Schools is one of eight districts in the state to be certified as a Common Sense Media District for 2016-2017, and has been sought by the Indiana Department of Education as one of three districts hosting a webinar for Digital Citizenship Week in September for educators across the state. As a Future Ready School District, Portage Township Schools is committed to personalized learning where students are able to choose how they best learn while using the various digital tools available now and in the future.