It’s hard to believe that the first quarter of the school year is already over! The Digital Literacy team has been very active to start the year. Here’s a quick summary of some of the work that’s underway.
The Student Information System (SIS) study process has been completed. The SIS steering committee, using stakeholder feedback around learner-centered criteria, recommended that CRCSD switch from PowerSchool to Infinite Campus. The goal is to put this recommendation before the CRCSD Board of Education at the 11/12 meeting. Much more information will be on the way about this exciting change including timelines for data conversion and professional learning plans for teachers and administrators.
Student Device Study
A student device study has been started! A representative steering committee (see below for all invited members) has been assembled to determine what is the best device and software ecosystem to rollout next fall to our high school students in the 2019-20 school year. The team had its first meeting on 10/24. There will be two open demonstrations at GWAEA comparing the Microsoft Office tools to the Google G Suite tools on the evenings of 11/15 and 12/4 from 4:30 to 6:30 PM. All staff are invited to attend in order to provide feedback to the steering committee’s selection process. Please complete this very brief RSVP form if you would like to attend one of these sessions. We hope to complete the study process by mid-December.
Our accessibility team has been moving things forward this fall, too! This group, in conjunction with technology operations, rolled out over 600 laptops to students with assistive technology needs. They have also met with several building staffs to provide professional learning around how to effectively use these devices with students. Contact Rose Hays or Ryan Rydstrom if you’d like to set up time for them to work with your building’s teachers.
School Library Programs
The Digital Literacy department also supports all school library programs within the district. This team has had an eventful fall, too. In addition to the learning and the program work done on Friday afternoon “blue dot days,” the team is participating in the Future-Ready Librarian learning series hosted at GWAEA over the course of this year (one full day of learning and four half-days). In addition, with funding from an Iowa Department of Education computer science grant – Thank you to the awesome Tara Troester for writing our application! — all librarians had the opportunity to attend and learn at the ITEC conference in Des Moines this fall.
Data Analysis and Quality
Our expanded data analysis team has been very productive to start the year as well. In addition to partnering with various schools and departments to collect and analyze district data, the team has also created a process to standardize the data sharing process with third-party organizations. While this does not sound very exciting, this process protects the privacy of our students, staff, and families. So, this is very important work.
This team has also taken the lead in designing and facilitating a process to help our building secretaries problem-solve and learn. This team has established six, ninety-minute learning events spread across the year for building office staff. Our first meeting was on October 16 and the group problem-solved issues surrounding transportation, cumulative folders, and permits/enrollment questions. There was new learning about the SRI (state of Iowa student reporting) and free, Linn County GIS (Geographic Information Systems) software – used to validate addresses.
The technology operations team (helpdesk, field support, network, and systems) is just finishing up one of their busiest times of the year – the start of school. During the first quarter, in addition to all of the start of school work, the team rolled out new, mobile devices to all middle schools. They are currently working through the logistics of computer updates to the high schools.
The Digital Literacy Department has also picked up and run with the CRCSD Year Two Blended Learning cohort or CRBLENDS. We are serving teams from seven schools. The focus of this year’s learning has been to implement blended strategies through the lens of the SAMR model.
As great as the first quarter was, I’m even more excited about the next quarter! At the halfway point of the year, we will have (hopefully) begun the work of transitioning to a new SIS as well as providing learning and training for it. This transition will also provide abundant opportunities to redesign existing data practices for better outcomes for kids, teachers, administrators, and parents.
We should also have a clear understanding of what devices and software our students will be using next year. This sets the stage for planning and action regarding policy, professional learning (including management), technical support, logistics, and communication. Great things are just over the horizon! As always, don’t hesitate to contact me or any member of the team if you have questions or wish to learn more.