Bear Creek Middle School goes paperless with OneNote Class Notebooks

Kareem Anderson

Brandee Green, 4th and 5th Grade ELA, Social Studies Teacher and Department Chair at Aiken Elementary School works with a student using OneNote on a Windows device

Some of us may remember a time when attending middle school meant weighty backpacks filled to the brim with books, notebooks, and folders overflowing with pounds of paper. For some of us, successfully toting around the equivalent of an overweight four-year-old all school year long was a right of passage, necessary to obtain the well-deserved locker eventually granted in high school.

Well, the students of Bear Creek Middle School are attempting to forego the potentially hunch-backed inducing backpack full of paper by using Microsoft’s OneNote to go as paperless as possible.

In conjunction with the district’s personalized learning initiative, Bear Creek recently began a paperless school model through the use of the OneNote Class Notebooks. Bear Creek—located just south of Atlanta, Georgia, in the Fulton County School District—implemented a 1:1 device initiative, which provides over 1,100 students with a Windows 10 Dell laptop. As an Office 365 school, the transition to OneNote Class Notebooks has been seamless.

The switch to OneNote presented immediate benefits to both students and teachers. Beyond the noted time save, which Anthony Newbold and Darren Clay, the school principal and assistant principal marked as much as 4.75 hours saved, OneNote’s collaborative structure allowed for teachers to educate around learning curves with ease.OneNore paperless journey

Fortunately, for Microsoft, the successful integration of OneNote has led Bear Creek utilizing more of the company’s services and software further building a cohesive educational mesh network and shaving time and effort off of old processes.

In addition, teachers were introduced to the Office 365 PLC group that comes with a OneNote Notebook. Each grade level content team uses the PLC notebook to develop common lesson plans, assessments, meeting agendas/minutes and analyze student data. “This has saved the teachers time while keeping information organized and readily available. Our teachers no longer have to sift through emails to find a lesson plan. They simply access their PLC notebook,” said Anthony Newbold, Bear Creek principal. The Bear Creek leadership also take it upon themselves to lead by example by using OneNote for the faculty handbook, lesson observations, task management and team collaboration.

Granted, Bear Creek Middle school is now a Microsoft Showcase School, the faculty plan to continue to find ways to optimize the educational process using OneNote and other Microsoft products going forward. Beyond the benefits of moving to a more paperless environment, Bear Creek’s faculty see OneNote as a time save and collaborative resource unlike any other.

Let us know in the comments below what you use OneNote most for and what other software has enabled you to go paperless.