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Ohio district uses Connections Learning by Pearson to increase flexibility and choice

The number and variety of courses that can be offered in a small rural district is often limited. That was not acceptable to Erik Belcher, superintendent of Fayette Local School District in northwest Ohio.

With California’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards, it became apparent that all students in Placentia-Yorba Linda USD in Orange County needed better keyboarding, higher order thinking and information fluency skills in order to perform well on the Smarter Balanced assessment.

When Linda Quinn became superintendent of Washington’s Ferndale School District in 2009, it was the start of a new era for the district, one that included some unprecedented challenges. 

The New Lenox School District 122 serves 5,400 pre-K through grade 8 students in 12 schools, and is located about 30 miles outside Chicago. The district has been noted for its high levels of achievement, with an average of 85 percent of students meeting or exceeding the Illinois Learning Standards in each of the last nine years. New Lenox administrators attribute this success to a rigorous curriculum that includes reading, writing and math, as well as instruction in art, music and technology skills.

With FCC changes to the E-rate program, districts can increase spending on Wi-Fi connectivity. The ability to purchase managed Wi-Fi is another recent change. This web seminar, originally broadcast on September 17, 2014, featured an industry expert, as well as two district technology directors, who discussed key considerations for technology planning around the new Wi-Fi E-rate regulations. They also went over deployment options for managed Wi-Fi and how it can support BYOD, 1-to-1 and improved learning environments.

When Michael Lubelfeld came to Deerfield Public Schools District 109 (Ill.) last summer, the superintendent known as a super-communicator knew that engaging students was crucial to their education. So the new superintendent leveraged the district’s technology, including school administration software, to keep students in regular contact with teachers, administrators and each other. “My administration is centered on clear communication and a healthy organizational culture and climate,” says Lubelfeld, whose K8 district is about 25 miles north of Chicago and six miles west of Lake Michigan.

When the projectors throughout the Phoenix Union High School District were found to be outdated and inefficient in 2013, administrators knew they were due for an upgrade. “During a larger initiative to increase student engagement across the district, I noticed that the projectors we had were so old and were so dim that it was impacting classroom management and student engagement,” says Don Fournier, the district’s division manager of information services.

Audio plays a crucial role in making collaborative student learning environments effective. Students need to be able to communicate with their teacher when necessary, and teachers should be able to hear what all students are saying during small group instruction. This web seminar, originally presented on April 2, 2014, featured educators from Andover USD 385 in Kansas, who discussed how classroom audio solutions have enhanced small group instruction, improved student communication skills and led to improved student learning.

Since Lancaster School District (Calif.) is a K8 school system, Rebecca Cooksey, director of IT, knows that none of her students have optimal listening skills yet. “Students’ audio processing tracks are not fully developed until they are 15,” Cooksey says. And the 25 percent of Lancaster’s 14,000 students who are ELL face additional challenges in listening to and processing information presented orally by teachers. “It is important for ELL students to hear the way teachers pronounce words, and the nuances in their voice,” Cooksey says.

Collaborative learning and small group activities can facilitate higher-level thinking in students. However, it can be difficult for teachers to effectively evaluate that all groups and students are on-task and learning, and it can be challenging for students to communicate with their teachers in a small group setting.

To achieve measured success through blended learning, it is essential for educators to create learning experiences that enhance student understanding through technology. The team at the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools assists teachers at low-performing schools by providing resources such as engaging instructional software that create these experiences.

The influx of devices and applications that result from a BYOD project typically strain a district’s wireless network. Keeping your network secure is also a concern. However, with the proper device and network management tools, these issues can be mitigated and innovative ways of delivering education through technology can be achieved. This web seminar, originally broadcast on August 22, 2013, featured experts from Cisco Meraki and GovConnection, who offered advice on how to plan for, implement, and manage wireless networks in a BYOD environment.

To maximize the power of technology and the web, district leaders must define a clear purpose around using these tools as a method of deploying curriculum. At Del Mar Union Schools in San Diego, California, administrators used Google Chromebooks and Apps for Education to aid in preparing students for academic achievement and college and career readiness.

Whether using the internet safely or preparing for a nationwide assessment that will be completed on a computer, students at a Long Island, N.Y., district are conquering the digital world. The district’s 5,800 students in grades K-8 are using EasyTech, a web-delivered curriculum from that allows teachers to seamlessly integrate digital literacy skills into math, science, language arts and social studies instruction.

Project Tomorrow’s 2012 Speak Up National Research Project provides insight into what parents, principals, and other stakeholders would like to see in terms of technology, in and out of the classroom. These results can inform administrators’ plans and decisions. This web seminar, originally broadcast on July 11, 2013, addressed the respondents’ different views on the benefits of digital content in the classroom, the importance of personalized learning, and how specific technologies can be used to individualize instruction.