Dedham residents Peter H. and Paul Reynolds recently announced a fifty thousand dollar donation of educational software to Dedham Public Schools to enrich student learning and promote creativity in education. "Schools all around the world use FableVision's educational software to engage students and enrich teaching and learning - we wanted to give back to our own community to ensure that Dedham's students enjoy that same advantage," said Paul Reynolds, CEO of FableVision and member of the Dedham Board of Selectmen.
The software suite donated by award-winning educational media/technology company FableVision includes FableVision Learning's complete suite of educational technology offerings designed to help students focus, write, express themselves creatively, and develop a comprehensive knowledge of vocabulary.
"I think it's a great match," said Peter H. Reynolds, New York Times best-selling children's book author and illustrator and founder of FableVision. Dedham is known as the 'Town of Learning', having established the first tax-supported school in the nation in 1644. We are thrilled that FableVision can help keep that learning legacy going and growing."
Superintendent June Doe and the School Committee formally accepted the donation earlier this year. Under the guidance of Dedham Public School's Director of Technology Don Langenhorst, the programs have already been installed across the entire district, noting, "The programs have not only been installed, but we've also provided professional development for staff on the programs and teachers are actively engaging students with the programs."
Superintendent June Doe observes, "Dedham Public Schools are on an exciting trajectory of positive growth and change - the addition of this generous donation of educational technology helps accelerate our increasing momentum." With a new state-of-the-art middle school, increased test scores in many subject areas, the new Avery elementary school coming on line in the near future, and the news that Dedham High School was named one of the Top 50 High Schools in the Commonwealth by Boston Magazine, there is strong evidence that Dedham is fast becoming known as having a premium public education offering.
FableVision Studios, which creates educational media and software for groups such as PBS, Jim Henson Productions, Pearson, Houghton-Mifflin-Harcourt, and the National Academy of Sciences, is headquartered on the Boston Children's Museum's "creative learning campus." FableVision's products and professional development services group, FableVision Learning, is located in Dedham. FableVision Learning provides resources and support for classrooms around the globe.
The Reynolds brothers are also owners of The Blue Bunny Book & Toy Shop in Dedham Square. The "little shop with a big mission" features Peter's original art and his New York Times best-selling children's books. Peter states, "We started The Blue Bunny to help encourage literacy, creativity, and self-expression right there in our own hometown - this software donation is just another step in helping every student find his or her voice and use it in a positive way."
The donation, valued at $50,000, includes a district-wide license for Stationery Studio (writing program for grades K-5), Animation-ish (animation program for grades K-12), SmartMoves (cognitive fitness/recess enhancement program for grades 2-12), and Words And Their Stories (vocabulary acquisition program for grades 5-12.) The donation also includes teacher "take home" rights, which allow teachers to use the programs on their own personal computers.
For more information about the Reynolds brothers' company and mission, check outwww.fablevision.com.
Reactions this week from teachers in Dedham Public Schools to FableVision educational tools:
"My class LOVES SmartMoves! It calms their bodies and minds. They make special requests to do certain moves. I always find it very interesting to see how kids can move their bodies to match the video... some are so good at it and others it can be challenging." -- Stacey Scanlon, Grade 3 teacher, Oakdale Elementary School
"The students' enthusiasm for animating challenging vocabulary [using Animation-ish] and depicting their interpretations of scenes from our readings was encouraging. I was amazed to discover that some of the most reluctant students spent extra time outside of class completing their work. In the end, my students reported that they had enjoyed demonstrating their understanding of concepts in such a creative way and that they had felt more engaged in the material." -- Kelly O'Leary Schultz, English Teacher/Dedham High School
"I used SmartMoves with my fourth grade students before the ELA MCAS last year. It helped relax the students before this big exam. They loved doing it and always wanted to try more challenging levels. They actually asked me if we were going to do again when they took the math portion of the exam. They loved it!" -- Andrea Hume, Special Ed Teacher/Oakdale Elementary School
"The Freshman Academy team used Animation-ish with success. The projects the students completed were thoughtful, innovative, and instructive." -- Dr. John Laflamme, English Department Head
"When it is clear to me that my students have been sitting for too long and just need a motor break, I will use SmartMoves as a way to get them moving and refocused." -- Andrew Podolski, Elementary Teacher /Riverdale School
"We use Smart Moves on a daily basis. It helps us get ready for the afternoon. I also use Stationery Studio both with the students and to send themed notes to parents." -- Heidi Dineen, Riverdale Elementary School
"I love SmartMoves and the kids look forward to it each week when I come in for health. It helps the students to get energy out and get focused for the lesson! And it only takes a few minutes!" -- Michaeline Menz, Elementary Health and Wellness teacher
"During the Spring 2010 MCAS, SmartMoves was a great way for the students to get up and stretch mid way through the exam, without conversation and movement away from their desks. It truly allowed the students to relax, and refocus." -- Liz Tavalone, Grade 5 Teacher, Oakdale Elementary School