Tuesday, July 17, 2018

BHS Class of 2022 iPad Distribution

Burlington High School incoming freshmen for the Class of 2022 will receive new devices during distribution sessions this August. BHS freshmen will continue the Burlington Public Schools 1:1 Learning Program with iPads this year. The decision to select iPads again for freshmen came after careful consideration and ongoing discussion with teachers and students. Burlington Public Schools continues to focus on providing the best learning tools for our students. 
Each student must attend one session with a parent or guardian. The session includes a brief Technology and iPad Orientation presentation that must be viewed by students and parent/guardian. Students and parent/guardian will review the Burlington Public Schools Acceptable Use Policy, Device Responsibility Policy, and iPad insurance options.
There is no registration for sessions. Students must select and attend ONE session. All sessions will be held at the Burlington High School Auditorium. The sessions will last approximately 45 minutes.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

AI Chatbot Presentation at ISTE 2018

Guest post from the BHS Help Desk about Ms. Tyrell, Mr. Wong, and Gati Aher who presented at the ISTE Conference in Chicago on their work with Artificial Intelligence Chatbots! Thanks to Ms. Tyrell, Mr. Wong, and Gati Aher for their efforts with this amazing project!
This past semester, the BHS Help Desk and Ms. Tyrrell’s Exploring Computer Science classes were fortunate to be selected by ISTE (The International Society for Technology in Education) to pilot an AI (Artificial Intelligence) Chatbot curriculum. This pilot was made possible through ISTE’s partnership with General Motors. We are doing a poster session at the ISTE 2018 conference, and our Tuesday, June 26, session is entitled, “Shared Solutions in K-12: Artificial Intelligence Using Chat Bots.” My student Gati Aher will also be presenting with us at ISTE. During the conference, there are many other sessions on AI, including “Artificial Intelligence Goes to School” which will give an overview of the program, and “Empowering Students to Develop Artificial Intelligence for Automation and K-12 Solutions.”
This pilot opened up a vast world which we had some understanding of, but we didn’t really know the technology underpinning chatbots. In my class, we looked at chatbots before including ELIZA (an AI, Rogerian psychotherapist) which was created in the 60’s. I first learned about ELIZA when I had it on my PowerBook back in the 90’s. That PowerBook actually still works, incidentally, and I’ve shown ELIZA to the students along with some very dated voice synthesis. One of my students Shawn Scott showed me that Microsoft has a Virtual Agent used on its support site. Mel Thibodeau showed me Replika which is an AI friend whom you can install on your smartphone.
The pilot also introduced us to the world of AWS (Amazon Web Services). Everyone knows Amazon as a commerce company, but not nearly as many people know Amazon’s reach and influence with the web. The pilot curriculum showed us how to use Amazon Lex and Amazon Lambda. Lex is essentially what powers Amazon’s Alexa assistant, and it can be used to create chatbots. Lambda allows you to run external code from Amazon’s servers, and it gave our chatbots more functionality. There are any more tools in AWS, and our students will continue to learn more about its tools. If schools are interested, they can sign up for AWS Educate.
This video gives a good introduction of how Lex works.
Our materials for ISTE 2018 can be found here. While we learned a lot in our month or so working with the pilot curriculum, we believe we just scratched the surface. We will continue to work with our students and our school’s IT group and the school community to see if what we’ve done can be implemented as functional chatbots which would be used to provide basic tech support and other useful functions in our school.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Burlington High School Post Graduation Party

The Post Grad party for the class of 2018 was held Sunday night June 3rd at Kings in
Burlington. Kings has hosted the graduates the last four years and once again it was a huge
success. Kings General Manager Michael Belley and his staff did an amazing job.

We had 190 graduating seniors in attendance and many wore their 2018 Red Devil T-Shirt that
they received at post-grad party registration. Each year BHS art teacher, Keith Mistler has his
senior students create and submit potential logos for the graduation T-Shirt. Only one logo is
chosen. This year, student Kosta Stamides, designed the T-Shirt logo. The Burlington Chamber
of Commerce along with the following T-Shirt donors make it possible to purchase and print up
a T-Shirt for every graduating senior. An amazing keepsake!

The T-Shirt Sponsors are as follows:

3rd Ave Burlington
The Gutierrez Company
Riemer Braunstein
Burlington AFC (American Family Care urgent care)
Burlington Fitness Together
Cambridge Savings bank
Remax (Realty Experts)
Lahey Hospital and Medical Center
Exit Realty
Winbrook PROMO

Students were able to check in to Kings between 10:00 pm - 11:00 pm Sunday night. When
they arrived DJ Greg Gervais from Curtis Knight Entertainment already had the tunes cranking.
DJ Greg did an amazing job and many of the graduates were still dancing at 5 am. They were
also able to enjoy time with classmates and friends as they bowled, played pool and video

At 11:30 pm Hypnotist Frank Santos Jr. began his show. This is always a highlight of the night.
Frank does a phenomenal job of hypnotizing a group, as their classmates watch and laugh in
hysterics. A large photo booth with a wide array of props was provided by Curtis Knight
Entertainment. Many graduates enjoyed the photo booth throughout the entire night. Additional
entertainment was provided by FUN Enterprises, Inc. This included Two Tarot Card Readers,
Two Airbrush Tattoo Artists and an amazing Roving Magician. Graduates lined up throughout
the night to enjoy all of this entertainment.

On staff, we had Registered Nurses, Officer Fournier, Officer Devlin, Principal Mr. Mark
Sullivan, Assistant Principals Deb Deacon, and Rick Sheehan. In addition the Class Advisors
Mrs. DiCroce and Mr. Regan were in attendance, as well as dozens and dozens of parent
volunteers throughout the night.

Chicken Fingers, French Fries, soft drinks, and waters were donated by Kings. Tony Cs
donated trays of Mac and Cheese, Chips and Dip, as well Caesar Salad. Pizzas were donated
byPizza Works, Flatbread, Burlington House of Pizza and Dominoes. Newtowne Grille donated
Loaded Tater Tots, Not Your Average Joe’s donated Bread and Oil and Papa Gino’s donated
Cheesy Bread. Coffee, Donuts, and Munchkins were donated by Dunkin Donuts.

With Gift cards donated by Wegmans, Shaw’s and Market Basket we were able to buy ice cream, fruit, muffins, juice, and milk. Desserts were donated by LaCascia's and Roma’s Bakery.
Throughout the night we raffled off gift cards, as well as donations from Xtend Barre and Roots

As each senior left 5:00 am, they were given a gift bag which included a pair of sunglasses that were created by three of the graduating seniors; Coleman Began, Dylan MacKinnon, and Jeff Russo. The name of their company is Against the Grain. The sunglasses were packaged in a unique wooden case that displayed the Burlington High logo. The gift bags also included water bottles donated by the Burlington Education Foundation, accessories from CrossFit Exclamation, as well as coupons for free coffee at True North, free classes to Xtend Barre and discounts at Bed Bath and Beyond.

This party would not be possible without our Post Grad Party Committee, as well as all of our
parent volunteers and the following sponsors:

American LegionMillican-MacKenzie Post 273
Axial Financial
Bedford Farms Ice Cream
Burlington’s Patrolmen’s Assoc
Burlington Police Command Officers Union
Burlington Firefighters Local 2313
Burlington Rotary Club
Burlington Educator’s Assoc
W. Gochis Insurance Agency, Inc.
Gedick Bros
Ernie and Ruth Covino
Gulde Insurance Agency
LTB Insurance
Mount Hope Christian Center
Pandolfo Company, Inc
PTO Fox Hill
PTO Memorial
Riemer & Braunstein Robert C. Buckley, Esq.