Critique my cover letter- take the gloves off!

Hello All. Putting together a funding cover letter- happy to take unvarnished criticisms

As the principal of Te Kura o Town to 46 decile 2 students I am acutely aware of how the education of tamariki our needs to change to meet the future demands of the world. I support Town’s request for funding for 3 interactive display panels in our classrooms so we can remove barriers to access for our decile 2 students. Interactive display screens are similar to have a 70 inch tablet for a whiteboard. The panels will cast to the chromebooks we already have as well has a host of other features. The software would allow for our teachers to create multiple slides before class and show them throughout the day, meaning less teaching time is spent with the teacher’s back to the class writing and more time facing and engaging with their students. Reading and writing are critical skills for our tamariki to learn while they are with us. These panels allow for students to write on them with the ability to read the words back to the children. This is a very exciting to children which increases their engagement. These panels allow for up to 20 students to write on them at the same time which allows for collaboration and teamwork on a whole new level. These panels include digital tools and features that will also grow our learners in the STEM field, such as inbuilt protractors and rulers which on the 70 inch screen are more engaging to students.

Currently Maori make up just 2% of our workforce in the science field.[1] Early STEM exposure is vital, if our students don’t get it “this denies young children the opportunity to form a deep affiliation with STEM content and practices that stimulates the habits of mind that are critical to STEM identity development.”[2]

Te Kura o Town is a rural school with an isolation index from the Ministry of Education of 3.02, meaning it is more isolated than 89.9% of all schools in New Zealand. Our roll is 100% Maori with the majority being of Ngāti Tamahaua, Ngāti Ira, Ngāti Ngahere, Ngāti Patumoana, Ngāti Ruatākena and Ūpokorehe descent. We cannot remove this barrier to access for inclass technology without your generous funding. Interactive panels are ideal for active learning as they can be touched, they are visually more stimulating and encourage shared experiences by working together with other students on a large panel. A meta analysis done at Harvard found that for STEM passive learning (being lectured to) had students suffering a 50% higher risk of failing when compared to active learning.[3]

Digital devices increase learners engagement and allows for students who have difficulties learning to connect in a different way with the material. [4] [5] These interactive panels will allow students to engage more meaningfully with what is taught to them as the touchscreen and onboard software is designed for active learning.. The Ministry of Education has highlighted how devices allow for a classroom to be more learner centric “Digital devices have the potential to expand and enhance interaction in the classroom, enable more real-world activities, improve learning environments, and engage students in new and exciting ways.”[6]. As we are a rural school we have the challenge of each classroom having 2 school years in each classroom which means we have a very wide range of academic abilities in each class and creating a learner centric environment is critical. We have an added layer of challenge when it comes to keep everyone engaged and learning at the same time. Only by keeping our learners engaged can we allow everyone access to their right of an education.

I support Town’s request for funding for interactive display panels as I am gravely concerned that as a decile 2 school too many of our learners do not have technology in the home. Without removing this access barrier their chances of going into a STEM field are very low and the continue under representation of Maori would continue. Further more as a rural school we have a wide range of abilities in the classroom and these interactive display panels will increase engagement and stop our tamariki on missing on their education. While the benefits would be truly life altering for our tamariki, the average income in Town is $22,400, per year.[7] For this reason we are not in a position to fund from the community. While our role is 46 students, as the interactive panels are expected to last at least 10 years, with new entrants and transfers, the total number of learners expected to benefit from your generous support is past 120 over the lifetime of the technology.

Please give this proposal your full consideration.

submitted by /u/Grantedfortaken11
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