New London Public Schools, Connecticut

Within New London Public Schools, designated by state legislation as the only magnet district in Connecticut, the focus is on breaking down barriers while building outstanding, diverse schools and programs. The shift to a digital environment is a key strategy and myON is an important component.

Educational leaders faced some challenges during the transition to digital a few years ago, which they overcame through a collaborative approach, according to Chief Academic Officer Katherine Ericson. “Sometimes technology can be scary,” she said. “There may be concerns about not enough technology, the staff not being equipped enough to deal with the technology, which can make you think about why a personalized library won’t work.

Today, the situation is very different, and the proof is in the numbers. “Our data shows that where there is an increased use of technology in the classroom, you’ll see increased use of myON,” Ericson said.

New London launched myON as part of a blended-learning package when they went 1:1 with iPads and Chromebooks—providing a balance of literature and non-fiction to address the Common Core State Standards within their K-5 magnet schools. Each site has a focus: the Arts, STEM and Dual Language (where authentic literature in Spanish is especially helpful).

"Students see computers not just as a tool for playing video games, but also as a place for finding information."

Literacy coaches and library media technicians, along with community library staff, were engaged early on to ensure that students would be supported when reading both in and out of school. The local Regional Educational Service Center collaborated in the rollout. Principals saw the value and set expectations for use, and teachers integrated myON in authentic ways by establishing myON centers to provide a broad selection of titles for independent reading.

“It’s pretty exciting to watch students use the resources and navigate the tools,” Ericson said. “Students see computers not just as a tool for playing video games, but also as a place for finding information. And, to have them reading online doesn’t hurt when it comes to the assessments connected with the Common Core.”