Triton Shows Commitment to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)

Did you know that the Triton High School Robotics team, led by Kathy Norton, has access to three 3D printers? Technology/Math teachers Jim Galante, Scott Dube and Kathy Norton each have one in their room for students to explore and experiment with. If you haven’t seen one in action, check it out on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8aghzpO_UZE)

– It’s a pretty amazing machine.  Some even go so far as to say 3D printing will change the way that the United States manufactures in the future.  You may have heard that a 3D printer is being carried up to the international space station with the aim of manufacturing spare parts in space; or that the first ever working car has already been 3D printed and driven (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2014/09/19/so-this-exists-a-working-car-has-been-3d-printed-out-of-carbon-fiber-plastic/).

At Triton, the Robotics team requested one of the printers last fall to accommodate the building of parts for their competitions.  Funds were made available through the federal 21st Century Grant program, and the printer was purchased in October.  Since then, 2 more printers were purchased through the 21st Century Grant program, as well. The printers allow students to apply what they have learned in engineering technology classes, as well as math and science classes to a real-world engineering design format. Students begin working with the printer by copying projects from predesigned templates.  However, it is the goal of the department to have students design and develop items using the software and printers that would solve real life problems.  Last year, they produced a replacement exterior door security latch which was difficult to obtain commercially.  “Triton students have a wonderful opportunity to be exposed to Engineering in high school,” said Technology Teacher, Jim Galante.  “The skills that they are learning with the technology we are able to offer will help to prepare them for college and a career in the field of Engineering and/or Engineering Technology.”

Educators from the Robotics team will be attending the STEM summit in October as Triton continues their commitment to STEM.

Triton’s Business Program Clicking! Finishes the Year with Stellar Results

Over the past several years, Triton has made a conscious commitment to the Business Program in the high school in an effort to broaden the range of opportunities and give students a leg up when applying to college or entering the business world.   While all courses in the business department are considered elective, the reality is that 25% of the student population is going on to Business School and/or to get Business Degrees in college. Moreover, many of those programs are highly competitive. UNH, for example, receives over 4000 applications to their Business School every year, and accepts only a tenth of those applicants into their program. Realizing this, Triton’s business program, which is part of the Math & Technology Department, has upped their game, offering students a greater number of more diverse courses and more ways to get involved in extracurricular activities.

DECA, the Distributive Educational Club of America, is just one such example of how the business program has expanded. DECA is an after-school curriculum driven program based on National Standards, 21st Century Learning Skills and a real world application/extension of classroom instruction. The Mission Statement of DECA is to prepare emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management. Students participate in over 60 events in various forms (virtual competitions, individual competitions, team competitions or written essays) and are tested, perform role-plays or submit presentations to a panel of professional judges. The goal of each competition is to “keep moving on” from District (5 schools) to State Competition (65 schools) to Internationals (4 countries, 50 states). Triton’s membership in the program has grown from 7 founding members three years ago, to 27 members, to 74 members this year, making it the high school’s largest school organization. With this year’s accomplishments, our DECA Chapter has earned 50 MA State Qualifiers, 7 MA State Finalists, and 9 International Qualifiers. The program has also achieved 24 Academic Achievement Awards for high proficiency testing results, 1 Achievement of Excellence Award for International testing and role play results, 1 National Emerging Leadership Award, and 2 State Chapter Achievement Awards for Chapter Development. Incoming senior, Sarah Collins, who has made it to the State Competition and Internationals in Atlanta this year with her presentations, expressed that her involvement with DECA gave her the unique opportunity to explore a career path that very few classes allow. “Coming into my junior year I knew that I had an interest in pursuing business in the future, but I wasn’t quite sure how to confirm that idea enough to know that I definitely wanted to go to college for it,” said Sarah. “By taking a business class and joining DECA it confirmed my interest in being a business major and opened my eyes to what the field is actually like.” She goes on to say that in DECA, not only was she getting the educational training, but that she also learned how to present herself professionally, a competence which will serve her well during the college interview process and beyond.

Perhaps the two most meaningful awards the DECA program received this year are the two Community Recognition Achievements. The first was for integrating special needs student Lexi McCarthy into the DECA horizons at the District Level. And the second for a fundraising event to help one of the schools night shift janitors, Junior Joaa, whose family was trying to emigrate from Brazil. The donation triggered a matching gift from his employer who claimed that none of his other customers had ever recognized one of his employees in his 50 years in business.

Another example of the extracurricular opportunities available through the Business Program is the Banking Internship Program, led by HS business teacher Richard Fisher. Here students gain practical experience in the on-site Institution for Savings bank that helps prepare them for real-world scenarios. This spring, several students in the program were selected to participate in the Massachusetts School Bank Association Spring Conference at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. There, the 4 students who participated in the Banking Bowl won first place, above 26 other teams!

Finally, two sophomores, Justin Steeves and Shauna Murrin (both DECA Members), took part in UNH’s BizGen program, which is a community outreach effort to high school students based on their Paul Holloway Entrepreneurial Competition at the university level. Triton High School was one of only 12 local high schools selected to participate in this pilot program with $8,000 at stake. Emphasizing three critical components: innovation, critical thinking and problem solving, sixteen teams competed in three divisions, with the competition following a “Shark Tank” format. After presenting their concept – “The Loop”, a social media app,being rifled with 17 questions in 5 minutes from the three judges, Justin and Shauna placed 2nd in their division! However, more impressive was that these students, participating as sophomores, were up against seniors, and when given feedback from one of the judges after the competition, were told that he was so impressed with their pitch that they would have made in into the finals at the collegiate level, as well! Business Program teacher, Frank D’Aloisio commented, “[The sophomores pitch] was one of the smoothest presentations I’ve experienced.” The knowledge and experience that have come from participating in this event will continue to make the high school, business program, and DECA stronger as a result.

It is extremely gratifying for the department to see such wonderful accomplishments coming from its students. The hard work and dedication that the teachers and staff are putting forth has elevated the business program

Triton Viking

TRSD Improves Technological Access Through Three Computer Grants

Triton Regional School District is thrilled to announce the receipt of three grants which will be used to fund three new mobile computer labs, two in the high school and one at Pine Grove Elementary

The first grant, in the amount of $20,000 was issued by the Newburyport Bank Charitable Foundation through the Triton Education Foundation and will help finance the purchase of 32 Chromebooks which will occupy a mobile cart, an additional 10 Chromebooks that will reside at a rechargeable station, a portable, wireless white board with projection, and 2 laptops for the High School Library Media Center. Librarian, Andrea Sargent, who wrote and applied for the grant, spoke of the critical need for improved technology and resources in the Media Center. She noted, “The adoption and integration of the Common Core Standards and 21st century skills commands a vast emphasis on the use of technology.” Further, she commented that “the addition of a 3rd mobile lab will greatly contribute to the teaching and guiding of students through the process of research, reading, and projects.” With the addition of the new computer lab, the library itself will be restructured to create a more work-centered environment. Andrea envisions separate spaces for labs, a quiet work study area, collaborative space and a snack area.

The second grant was issued to the High School English Department through teacher Mr. James Allen who received $13,000 from the Newburyport Area Industrial Development group. The funds received will go to purchase 26 small Chromebooks, 2 larger screen Chromebooks, 2 laptops, a mobile cart and a wireless printer for the English Department. Similar to Andrea, referred to the overwhelming need to have additional computers to satisfy the growing needs of the 700+ students at the high school. He stated, “These Chromebooks will be used for long- or short-term writing assignments, as well as research.” Since the computers will reside on a mobile cart, all teachers in the department will have easy access to them.

Of course, the addition of new technology to the school requires that teachers and staff are up-to-speed on how to instruct in the new medium. To ensure an adequate knowledge-base, professional development funds have been set aside to send at least 2 teachers from each department to a six-hour training on the Chromebook and Web 2.0 tools.

The final grant was issued to the Technology committee at Pine Grove Elementary and was written by fifth grade teacher, Erica Geyer, Library Media Specialist, Elizabeth Cominole, and IT Specialist, Lilian Chalifour. The Institution for Savings Charitable Foundation presented the school with approximately $40,000 which will fund the purchase of 50 teacher notebooks, plus an additional 60 notebooks and 2 recharging carts which will make up two mobile computer labs that will be available to all staff and students. The addition of the mobile computer labs to the two existing stationary computer labs will allow technology to reach a greater population through flexible scheduling and movement to classrooms. By arming children at an early age with digital literacy skills and integrating technology into the traditional curriculum, students will be better prepared to move on to middle/high school and beyond.

The use of the technology will be facilitated by the installation of district wide WiFi access during the summer. Triton is honored to be the recipient of these generous grants and is excited to continue moving forward with its technological resources for its students!

Triton State Champion Cheer Team Visits State House

The Triton High School State Champion Cheer Team was honored on May 8th with an invitation to visit the State House! The girls took a tour of the State House, met and had lunch with Senator McGee, Senator Ives, Senator Tarr and Rep. Brad Hill, and took some time for photo ops. Governor Deval Patrick, who was also supposed to meet with the team, got delayed at a prior appointment. However, he called in and spoke with Coach Dempsey, expressing his regret for not being there and of his hopes to congratulate the team in person in the near future. What an honor for the team. Way to go, ladies!

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High School Students Make Art From Plastic Pollution

High School Marine Biology students are getting a rare opportunity to express their creative side while educating others about ocean plastic pollution by entering the 2014 Ocean Awareness Student Contest, sponsored by the organization, “From the Bow Seat.” Plastics account for 80% of all ocean pollution and pose a huge threat to the ocean ecosystem because they do not biodegrade. Countless sea animals and birds die each day from ingesting and getting entangled in plastic debris. Students from across the nation have been invited to explore some of the major questions surrounding ocean plastic pollution and raise awareness of this international situation through art, essay and advocacy. Over 70 Triton students participated and the contest submissions are now on display in the library. Not only is each piece an impressive display of artwork, but also the message they convey as a whole is one that cannot be ignored. We applaud the efforts of our students and invite the public to come to the high school library to view the projects and recognize the lessons they impart. (For more photos, visit our Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/TritonRegionalSchoolDistrict)