In November 2011, District 100 implemented eChalk, an online learning and communication platform.
eChalk began in New York City with a teacher who wanted to create a simpler way to communicate. eChalk is now used in over 350 school districts across the country, and South Berwyn has lead the way in Illinois.
Before eChalk, schools managed their own websites and teachers used a variety of programs to create their classroom sites. There was no consistency, and communication was difficult. Implementing eChalk has transformed communication in District 100.
eChalk provides a consistent platform for website creation and management, allowing each school to maintain an informative and easy-to-navigate website for parents and community members to find current information, events and announcements. There has been a noticeable increase in family and community involvement and attendance at school events as a result.
eChalk gives teachers a simple platform to communicate with students and parents too. In a one-to-one learning environment like District 100, where all students have access to a mobile device, this is key to successful classrooms. Teachers are able to provide students and parents with a place to access resources at school and at home to continue their learning. Students and parents simply log in to eChalk to find all of their classroom resources, assignments and announcements in one place. With eChalk, communication between teachers and parents has increased.
eChalk fosters student engagement because it allows students to be connected to their teachers and their classmates. Students can email their teachers questions or concerns, and receive feedback in a secure environment. Students participate in online discussions to reflect upon their learning, as well as learn from each other. Principals regularly email students also, to provide support, encouragement and recognition.
eChalk’s Lesson Planner allows teachers to create and share lessons with one another, increasing collaboration among teachers across the district. Just this year, teachers have shared over 50,000 lessons.
Having access to an incredible library of professional development resources allows teachers to develop and enhance their own instruction.
eChalk has already had an incredible impact in District 100 and we look forward to continuing to see it grow.
Lindsey Lahr is iCoach and eChalk coordinator for School District 100