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January 31. 2014 8:13PM

Salem school will buy iPad minis with grant funds

SALEM — Thanks to a grant from the Arlington Pond Protective Association, students at North Salem Elementary School will receive further help in learning social skills.

Earlier this week, the School Board approved accepting a $2,200 grant from the association to buy six iPad minis and two educational applications.

“Social skills are taught throughout the year in guidance or in speech-language therapy in small group formats,” said North Salem Principal Janice Wilkins. “Social skills instruction focuses on how we interact with others and includes conversation skills, the understanding of social cues, and understanding emotions.”

Wilkins said she believes the iPads and educational applications will be a valuable addition to the many ways social skills are taught at the school.

“Practice in an interactive format has proven to be engaging for many students,” said Wilkins.

The educational apps are Conversation Builder and Social Skills Builder.

The conversation application allows students to record conversations in individual and group settings. The social skills application shows videos of actual social situations and helps students understand how they can apply what they have learned outside the classroom.

“While using technology will never replace the need for students to practice with their peers, this provides a motivating way for students to practice and develop social skills that they need to be successful outside the classroom,” said Wilkins.

The Arlington Pond Protective Association has made a number of grants and donations to the district and North Salem Elementary school over the years.

“I’d like to publicly thank the Arlington Pond Protective Association,” said School Board member Michael Carney. “They have been very generous to the town and the school district over the years and have been a great neighbor to the North Salem School.”

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