In every Learning Counsel Digital Transition Event, one of our most popular features is our Local Panel of Educators. It is an opportunity for the areas brightest minds to get together and solve the most pressing challenges of the day. This year’s Florida event featured Dr. Connie Kolosey, Director Media, Text and Digital Learning at Pinellas County Schools, Maurice Draggon, Senior Director of Digital Learning at Orange County Public Schools and Mariel Milano, Director of Digital Curriculum at Orange County Public Schools.
OCPS has a goal to be the top producer of successful students in the nation. They have been on a journey to do that with digital learning and believe they will be able to increase student engagement and achievement by personalizing learning for all students through the use of digital content and tools. Also hear how the district took a two year plan and implemented it in mere weeks, providing an additional 70,000 devices. When they made a pivot to asynchronous distance learning in the spring of 2020, and another pivot to remote learning in the fall of 2020, they had to focus on three levers: Capitalizing on communication, providing professional development and training, and investing in their instructional systems.
In this educator session, Stephanie Acosta Castro, ESE Chair and Coach at Coral Park Elementary, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, shares the particular tech she is using, as well as her particular wisdom. Castro is an ESE director, overseeing 20 staff members, including ESE teachers, district-assigned SLPs and occupational therapists. According to Castro, “We are not all in the same boat. We are all in the same storm. Although we're all going through COVID and we're all learning the new normal, no two families are experiencing it exactly the same way.”
See how the experience of JoAnne Glenn, Principal at the Pasco eSchool translates into academic success during this time of hybrid and virtual learning. According to Glenn, “There's like a sweet spot between having complete control and losing some of that academic freedom that really makes a classroom a vibrant experience for our kids but wanting to limit the burden on teachers. It's definitely been an experience in terms of establishing some different communication patterns in our district so that when teachers feel like an activity is not the best way to teach something, they have a way to collaborate with our curriculum specialist and rethink it.”
“Although 2020 brought us challenges and in spite of our current situation, we remain committed to providing our parents, students and community the same levels of support and communication throughout this pandemic. We have really used this as an opportunity to provide access to our parents who may not have come, especially as a Title 1 school. In the past, we were lucky if we had 100 to 150 parents out of 1500 students participate in our open house. As a result of switching it to a virtual open house, we had over 500 participants, and we're looking to even double that number in the spring.”
Todd Dugan, Superinendent at Bunker Hill CUSD #8 and James O'Hagan, Director of Digital & Virtual Learning at Racine United School District discuss the specifics of their districts’ digital transition in the time of the Coronavirus pandemic. Learn how to make virtual learning truly personal, the role of families, and how to innovate rapidly and creatively to meet student learning needs in a changing environment.
Todd Dugan, Superintendent at Bunker Hill CUSD #8 in South Central Illinois has been passionate about digital equity for many years. In his session, you’ll hear concrete examples and ideas along with some fascinating theories to help students gain access to the highest quality digital programming available and allow all students to reach their full potential. Learn how to analyze how your district is doing in five key areas.
Dr. PJ Caposey, Superintendent at Meridian CUSD 223 helps us take a 30,000-foot view as he examines the opportunities for change brought by the pandemic. Learn how to take advantage of the COVID-19 crisis to create change and improve your district’s education for the long term. After all, a crisis is a terrible thing to waste.
Farheen Beg, Director of Technology at Butler SD 53 shares her district’s new professional development plan. “Whatever kind of teacher you are, you realize that you have to change and that there needs to be continuous learning,” said Beg. “We've had all of these tools and now we're maximizing the use of them because we don't have a choice, because without those tools we can't survive. I'm really proud of our teachers that the focus is still on how to improve teaching and learning. We haven't lost that focus, but now we are doing it digitally.”
Dr. Ken Wallace, Superintendent at Maine Township High School District 207 discusses learning structures that his district put into place. Since the turn of the 21st century, his school district has seen its poverty tripled, with two of the three high schools transitioning from majority high schools to majority minority high schools. Through the change, they have improved every metric for their students, including standardized test scores. Regardless of where you are on the continuum of this journey, you can begin now and find a way to not only handle what's going on today in your classrooms, but really thrive in those classrooms.
Learning Counsel is a research institute and news media hub with 310,000+ readers that provides context for schools in digital transition from a deep understanding of tech user experience, systems, and organization. Our mission-based organization was the first to develop a thesis of education’s future based on technology’s evolution -- and start helping schools advance systematically. Our EduJedi Leadership Society is a membership organization created for community amongst educators with change management professional development. Our Learning Groups on important tech topics and digital curriculum standards convene inside our social media site, Knowstory.