Innovate to Educate Entry

Community School of Excellence

Stu Keroff, Technology Coordinator

What innovative technology initiative or project are you most proud of, and how has it improved teaching and learning in your school/district?

Community School of Excellence is a Hmong charter school in Saint Paul. Our students are either Hmong or Karenni children who are either refugees or children of refugees from Southeast Asia. Almost all of our students qualify for free or reduced price lunch. Our innovation is the CSE Asian Penguins, our school's Linux club. Community school of Excellence is the only Hmong school with a Linux users group. The middle school kids in our club learn to install, configure, and use Linux and open source
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What were some of the biggest challenges to your initiative, and how did you meet those challenges?

The biggest challenges are fundraising to get the computers for our school and our students' homes. We have a fundraising table selling snacks at all school special events for this purpose. We once did a fundraiser called Pennies for Penguins, in which kids brought change from home to put in their teacher's jar. Finally, we did a crowd funding campaign online called Operation Upgrade, where people could contribute electronically. Another problem that arose was determining who would get to be in the
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What are the three biggest components that need to be in place for tech innovation to succeed are:

Having a teacher that wants to spearhead the innovation. It will not happen by itself.
The enthusiasm of the students. They can help make your innovation more successful.
Resources. If money is not an available resource, then look at what is available. In our case, we used free/open source software along with used computers. This made our program more affordable.

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