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Murray Journal

Hillcrest Junior High to Receive iPads

Oct 08, 2015 11:01AM ● By Bryan Scott

Hillcrest teacher Bruce Eschler received a grant to purchase seven iPads to help English-as-a-second-language students succeed in the classroom. Photo courtesy of 100% for Kids Foundation

By Julie Slama

Hillcrest Junior High’s English-as-a-second-language teacher Bruce Eschler wanted his students to have opportunities to have access to technology and be able to work more efficiently on assignments.

So, he applied and received a 100% for Kids grant for $2,800 for seven iPads dedicated to ESL students. 

“ESL program typically has less access to technology, so these will be dedicated to those students for individual learning or small groups,” Eschler said. “This way, the instructor can be working with other students and another group can be engaged on the iPads. It will be helpful for both newcomers as well as those who have been in the program a long time.”

Hillcrest’s ESL student population ranges from 10 to 20, but at the end of the school year, there were about 12 students in the class. 

Eschler said that the state has a language acquisition program they provide called “Imagine Learning,” which will help these students learn language skills such as basic and academic language, key components of reading, listening comprehension, grammar and speaking.

The iPads also can be used for writing with the “Utah Compose” web-based writing program that will give students writing prompts, graphic organizers, instant feedback and tutorials.

There will also be phonics, a bilingual dictionary and other language tools available for students.

“We’ve had a great diversity of English learners in class from South Korea to the Middle East to Somalia to Central and South America, but they all are picking up language quickly and want consistent quality learning,” he said.

Liz White, the 100% for Kids Foundation director, said that the iPads are the most funded item.

“We see the value in them and how they are utilized in the classroom,” she said. “Specifically with Hillcrest, the teacher presented the need well and showed the value for these students. We hope to get them started with providing technology to improve their education.”

Since forming in 2002, the 100% for Kids Foundation has funded more than $4 million in grants throughout Utah to all 40 of Utah’s school districts, specifically trying to reach students in the classroom and school level.

Eschler has been an ESL teacher at Hillcrest for 11 years, and after applying for the award in March, he received word that it was granted at the end of the school year. However, Eschler won’t be around to introduce the students to the new iPads this fall, as he accepted an administrative intern position with Corner Canyon High School in Draper.