District Administration June 2020 - 16

Districts of Distinction
ed tech category finalists
DA honors four K-12 districts as Districts of Distinction runners-up for incorporating
education technology in professional learning and in the classroom
By Steven Blackburn
TEACHING WITH TECHNOLOGY
TRAILBLAZERS
Palm Beach County School District
(Fla.), palmbeachschools.org

CHALLENGE: As the 10th largest U.S.
district, Palm Beach schools struggled to
provide all teachers with consistent and
comprehensive digital skills training for
new technology. "It was the wild west,"
says Mike Goldstein, technology program specialist. "At some schools, new
technology would just sit on the shelf."
INITIATIVE: Principals began selecting teacher leaders, called Trailblazers,
to build each school's digital culture. PD
takes place in blended learning environments where Trailblazers learn to adopt
common language and standards-based
instructional practices using tools such
as SMART boards and Chromebooks.
Trailblazers share their expertise with colleagues and other schools.
IMPACT: More than 2,000 of the district's 2,400-plus Trailblazers are Google
Certified Educators. They have deployed
110,000 Chromebooks and have taught
1,700 educators how to use SMART
boards. "This has enabled teachers to
provide engaging standards-based digital instruction that meets the needs of all
learners," says David Atwell, manager of
educational technology.
BADGE IT
Katy Independent School District
(Texas), katyisd.org

CHALLENGE: District leaders wanted
to ensure every teacher had access to relevant technology and related PD.

DISTRICTS OF
DISTINCTION
16 | June 2020

INITIATIVE: After a successful pilot in
spring 2018, administrators rolled out a
virtual microcredentialing platform districtwide so teachers could learn how to
use new ed tech tools. To earn a badge,
teachers complete an asynchronous
course and then show evidence of the tool
being used in the classroom, providing a
reflective summary of how it improved
learning, as well.
IMPACT: Teachers are actively involved
in the program because the badging platform has a digital leadership board that
displays all of the badges that their peers
have earned. Educators also display physical leadership boards on their classroom
doors. In 2018-19, 858 teachers received
8,126 badges. "It develops a friendly competition," says Darlene Rankin, director
of instructional technology.
NAME, STRENGTH, AND NEED
INITIATIVE
Wilson County School District
(Tenn.), wcschools.com

CHALLENGE: District leaders wanted
to help teachers form stronger relationships with students, many of whom felt
disconnected at home and at school. Yet
teachers felt ill-equipped to meet student
needs, and inequitable access to digital
resources and support was a related issue.
INITIATIVE: With the K.I.D.S. roadmap, teachers identify strengths and
unique needs of each student. Implementation teams updated and uploaded
standards-based online resources and
activities in a systematic repository. These
resources were then organized into uniformed digital courses with common
assessments in science and social studies,
on which teachers get PD and support.
IMPACT: From 2015-16 to 2018-19,
every high school rose from Level 1 to

Level 5 in literacy and numeracy on state
assessments. In 2018-19, Wilson County
was one of only four districts in Middle
Tennessee to achieve Exemplary status on
state testing data. From 2017-18 to 201819, the number of chronically absent students fell by 500.
FUTURE WORKFORCE AND
STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP
Huntsville City Schools, Huntsville
Alabama, huntsvillecityschools.org

CHALLENGE: District leaders wanted
to improve its high school manufacturing programs. Also, the programs' 3-D
metal printers were expensive to maintain and required high levels of expertise
to operate.
INITIATIVE: Students and teachers
receive additive manufacturing training
using two metal 3-D printers from the
National Center for Additive Manufacturing Excellence and the U.S. Army's
Combat Capabilities Development Command. This partnership also formed an
academic pathway for students entering
the workforce, or enrolling in two-year
training programs or higher ed. Auburn
University and Huntsville City are developing a curriculum so students graduate
high school with a certificate in additive
manufacturing and college credits.
IMPACT: At one school, six of the 11
participating seniors who graduated in
2019 are working for local engineering
and manufacturing companies. "Our
students were ready to work after graduation because of the tools and skills they
received through this partnership," says
Todd Watkins, director of career and
informational technology. "Our students
are learning to work on machines that GE
and Boeing use to manufacture their jet
motors." DA
DistrictAdministration.com


http://www.palmbeachschools.org http://www.huntsvillecityschools.org http://www.wcschools.com http://www.katyisd.org http://www.DistrictAdministration.com

District Administration June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration June 2020

District Administration June 2020 - Cover1
District Administration June 2020 - Cover2
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