Cesar Chavez High School

Through the integration of people, technology and business systems, a collaborative learning environment was created with NEC projectors so graduates will meet the challenges of the future.

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Cesar Chavez High School

Cesar Chavez High School is the newest addition to the diverse, dynamic and growing Phoenix Union High School District. Through the integration of people, technology and business systems, a collaborative learning environment was created so graduates will meet the challenges of the future as enthusiastic, life-long learners and thinkers who are prepared to participate fully as responsible, contributing members of society. They use the motto of the predominantly lower-income school’s namesake Cesar Chavez “Si Se Puede,” or “Yes, We Can!”

The Challenge

It was clear that the chalkboard-lined classroom of yesteryear had no place in the new school. The challenge was deciding the best technology for teachers to use to deliver lessons that inspire and capture students’ attention.

With its students being from the “MTV generation,” most are used to receiving information through visual, auditory and often interactive mediums. If the school wanted to stay competitive, it needed to choose flexible technology that adapts with the changing face of education. The display choice also had to offer students good viewing angles and the ability to work in the fluorescent light of the classroom.

Students entering the school needed to be prepared for future employment opportunities as well as higher education. By placing technology at their fingertips, Cesar Chavez would provide students the tools they need to succeed in today’s competitive world.

The Solution

At first, Cesar Chavez considered placing 32-inch CRT televisions in every classroom. After further discussion, however, administrators realized that the TV arrangement would have several limitations. That is when they turned to audio/visual integrator CCS Presentations Systems for help. After meeting with technology educators at both the school district and Cesar Chavez, they chose a complete video projection system for each room. Unlike the TV plan, the projection system would allow teachers to present material from a variety of sources, such as a computer, video or the Internet. Projectors also would allow all of the students, even those at the back of the classroom, a good view of the presented material.

NEC’s portable, lightweight projectors made the grade. They were easily ceilingmounted into 130 classrooms throughout the high school. They were chosen due to the NEC projector’s versatility, brightness and affordable cost. Importantly, the NEC projectors easily overcome the ambient lighting found in classroom environments, making it simple for students to view the screen even in the harsh light of day.

Once the equipment was installed, the next step was to demonstrate to teachers how the projectors could become a valuable educational tool. District technology educators instructed a team of teachers on the projectors during the summer months. Once these teachers felt comfortable using the projectors and realized their benefits, they helped train their colleagues when the school year began. As a result, nearly every teacher, from the science and math departments to the English and foreign language departments regularly use the projectors to enhance lesson plans. Best of all, when the projector is on, students are tuned in.

The Benefits

According to James McElroy, principal of Cesar Chavez High School, the use of projection in the classrooms has been a tremendous success. Students get excited to watch a history video showing a past battle, to see and “experience” the countries of the foreign language they are learning, and to participate solving a difficult math equation in front of their classmates.

And there is measurable success. Reading scores have gone up and the student dropout rate is the lowest in the district.

“Kids come to school if they like school,” Principal McElroy said. “The reason we most often hear that students don’t like class is that they are bored. Since our teachers started using multiple strategies to teach and technology like NEC’s, our kids are here because they are happy to be here.”