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October 5, 2023   From the Head of School

Artificial Intelligence at SPS

Artificial Intelligence at SPS - From Matt Evans

We have been reading a number of articles and following the trend in the news lately about the use (and misuse) of AI in schools. Until recently, we have seen most of the concerns with older high school and college-aged students, but we see more and more how the access and the sourcing of AI-generated material is available to younger and younger students. As a School, we are addressing the challenges, and we wanted to provide some information about what we do, are planning to do, and how our program is intentionally designed not to be easily manipulated by students using AI-adapted technology. However, for all our optimism and genuine protection, we must remain aware and help our students navigate a world where AI is as easy to access as a smartphone app.

Some aspects of our program that help us manage AI at school:

  • We know our kids
  • We know AI cannot create presentation skills, (content yes, but not the necessary skills)
  • We assess the students often and in various ways, which helps us understand their knowledge and how they share that knowledge
  • We double-check work often and ask students to explain their understanding, not just their answers
  • We ask students to present or record, in person, their responses
  • We teach ethics and the value of knowing how to do something. ChatGPT will always be available, but knowing how and when to use it are important differences
  • We use Google Docs, and we have access to students’ history and can tell if work was pasted into a document or created, typed, and edited

Some areas we will continue to explore to help alleviate the possibility of students using or relying on AI:

  • Flipped classrooms and rethinking how homework is used and what we ask students to do at home versus what they are tasked with doing in the classroom.
  • Developing a more comprehensive rubric to evaluate independent student work.
  • Continuing conversations about what AI is and how it can be used as a learning tool for students.
  • Discussing the ethics of using AI for work and how that aligns or does not align with our Community Code.

We are confronted with a challenge and must remain aware and constantly vigilant as we prepare content, questions, lessons, and assessments for students. We anticipate more education on this topic in the coming year and when helpful information is available, we will share it with our community. Derek Bruff, a consultant and Associate Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at the University of Mississippi spoke about the challenge we all face in schools, “Giving clear rubrics and expectations is meant to make grading more transparent and fair, and groups… advocate for the notion. The more transparent I am in the assignment description, the easier it is to paste that description into ChatGPT to have it do the work for you. There’s a deep irony there.”

We look forward to continuing our conversation with our community about this and welcome feedback from you all. This is evolving and we will continue to learn as we go and share our knowledge with you all. Below are two sources for you to consider. We look forward to learning alongside you in this ever-changing arena of artificial intelligence in schools.


How AI could save (not destroy) education – Sal Khan

A school psychologist explains how to talk to your kids about AI