Rocky Hill School is proud to announce the recipients of the Terry Coes Innovative Teaching Endowment. Robert Lee (Chair of the Social Science Department), and Ashley Ferranti (Chair of the Foreign Language Department) each submitted proposals that identified specific goals, skills, and benefits to the Rocky Hill School learning community.
In honor of the late Terry Coes, a beloved teacher, innovator, and passionate photographer, Rob Lee presented a detailed proposal outlining the multiple merits and benefits of enhanced video and audio equipment for aspiring videographers and students across the community.
Ashley Ferranti submitted a proposal for the Duolingo English Test, a real-world language assessment tool, to allow Rocky Hill School’s ELL students to take a cutting-edge exam that is more accessible, more affordable, in line with the most current assessment trends, and accepted by leading schools of higher education.
Robert Lee - Essential Video and Audio Equipment
“Video has a major and growing influence in the lives of our students, both socially and academically. By learning how to create innovative videos, students of all ages can learn not only about the subject, but also about storytelling, visual imagery, the influence of audio, and the technical aspects of video production. When making videos, they have to plan, collaborate with others, and learn how to operate equipment, direct actors, write scripts, and use software to edit both audio and video content.” - Robert Lee
The equipment will elevate and enhance the learning experience of aspiring videographers and appeal to students on multiple levels; particular tech skills and techniques will be introduced, practiced, and mastered across the curricular—in the classroom, in the visual and performing arts, and on the playing field. Students will promote the School through official and unofficial channels, by harnessing the power of social media and sharing their work.
Ashley Ferranti - Enhancing English Language Proficiency and Promoting Research through Duolingo.
The Duolingo English Test is scientifically designed to provide an accurate assessment of real-world language ability. Funding provided for Duolingo will allow for Rocky Hill School’s ELL students to take the Duolingo English exam in order to (1) benchmark proficiency scores in comparison with each student’s TOEFL score, (2) create an opportunity for RHS’ ELL students to access a cutting-edge exam, and (3) provide the opportunity for a qualitative research study to better understand the current phenomenon.
International students’ performances on the standardized TOEFL exam are part of the School’s admissions criteria, and the ELL program’s newly-implemented placement process. While the TOEFL is arguably the most popular exam to measure English proficiency levels in North America, the Duolingo English proficiency exam is becoming increasingly popular among many of America’s leading universities when determining English proficiency levels.
The Duolingo English Test, which currently costs only $49 per student, is a more cost-effective alternative to the TOEFL test which costs a minimum of $195 in the US, and $250 in China. By benchmarking the process at Rocky Hill, the School will be able to offer a more accessible test option for incoming students, as well as a more affordable option for current students to re-test for placement purposes. The Duolingo English Test can be taken from any location as long as the test taker has a wifi signal and a working device with a microphone and video capabilities. Students receive their scores within 48 hours and can send their scores to as many schools as they would like with no additional cost.
By funding students to take the Duolingo exam, Rocky Hill School will be in line with the most current English proficiency assessment trend, that is widely accepted by many of the US’ most prestigious institutions such as Yale, Tufts, and Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. Because the School aims to attract students from around the globe, the Duolingo Test will be more accessible to students who do not have easy access to the TOEFL test for either financial or logistical reasons.