Today’s news:

Sen. Diaz funds Mott Hall V SMART Boards

Months ago, Senator Ruben Diaz had no idea what a SMART Board was. Today, Diaz is determined to put SMART Boards in classrooms throughout the 32nd Senate District: Soundview, Castle Hill, Hunts Point, Longwood, Parkchester and west Pelham Parkway.

Diaz visited the Mott Hall V middle school on Tuesday, September 22 to bless seven new SMART Boards, some of the first granted to School District 12. Diaz funded the SMART Boards as a member item via the Hispanic Federation.

“I plan to do this at every school in my district,” Diaz said.

Hispanic Federation executive director Lillian Rodriguez joined Diaz at Mott Hall V, a five-year old public school. The Hispanic Federation is based in Washington, D.C. and New York. Rodriguez is from the Bronx.

“Study hard,” she told a Mott Hall V sixth grade class. “Appreciate what you have.”

What Mott Hall V has is a brand new building, the shiny James Monroe Annex on E. 172nd Street. Mott Hall V spent four years in cramped quarters at Stevenson High School.

The James Monroe Annex is home to Mott Hall V, the Cinema School, Icahn Charter School IV and a school for children with special needs. Mott Hall V has earned an “A” grade from the Department of Education for three straight years.

What’s a SMART Board? Imagine a chalkboard, an overhead projector and a laptop computer combined. SMART Boards are used to do algebra, read, play, illustrate and access the Internet.

“When I was in school, I never wanted to go to the chalkboard,” Mott Hall V principal Peter Oroszlany said. “But our students are excited to go to the SMART Board.”

Mott Hall V science teachers use SMART Boards to demonstrate chemical reactions. Math teachers use SMART Boards to correct equations– no squeaky eraser required.

“The SMART Boards are really cool,” Emily Jacome of Harding Park, 11, said. “I like to draw on them. It’s fun.”

The SMART Boards allow substitute teachers to stay on course, Rodriguez said. In 2008, students in the Bronx and beyond learned about Barack Obama via SMART Board videos and the Internet.

“Students don’t just read the lesson,” Oroszlany said. “They see it happen.”

On September 22, Diaz praised Oroszlany and had Jacome’s sixth grade class demonstrate its diversity. There were students from Puerto Rico, from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Ecuador, Mexico, Costa Rica and Jordan.

“A small United Nations!” Diaz said.

Some condemn senate member item funds, often misused, as imprudent. Not Diaz.

“See?” the senator said. “Some of us make good use of member item funds.”

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