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Digital Learning Initiatives

Washington Community Schools Innovation Planning Grant ­Comprehensive Plan

Washington Community Schools is committed to transitioning all classrooms to a 21st­century style of learning where students are engaged in developing the skills of critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity (The 4 Cs). We have used the innovation planning grant to evaluate our current state of instruction in the classroom and to build a plan for transition to where we want to be. The following overview provides a synopsis of our discoveries and our plan to move our district forward to a high ­access digital environment for all students.

 The components of our plan consists of the following:

1. Evaluation of our Program

2. Guiding Coalition to Drive Future Planning

3. Professional Development Plan

4. Access to Technology

Overview ­ Evaluation of our Program

A major component of our evaluation of our current level of technology integration and instructional practices that develop the 4 Cs was the Five Star IMPACT Analysis Report. This report provided an evaluation of the current levels of technology integration and types of instructional practices in our classroom. The following areas provided information for our current levels of technology integration in the classroom:

● Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity ­ This area describes how teachers use their knowledge and skills to facilitate experiences that advance student learning, creativity, and innovation in both face­to­face and virtual environments. The IMPACT analysis in this area shows that WCS teachers are using research­based tools and strategies within their weekly lessons, but technology is still an isolated or separate tool in their classroom.

● Design and Develop Digital­Age Learning Experiences ­ This area describes how well we are currently designing and developing authentic learning experiences that incorporate contemporary tools to maximize student learning in context and develop the 4 Cs in all students. The IMPACT analysis in this area shows that we are in the beginning stages in this area with teachers exploring and testing tools and strategies.

● Model Digital­Age Work and Learning ­ This area reflects the teacher's’ ability to exhibit innovative skills and processes in a global and digital society. The IMPACT analysis in this area shows that while we have some teachers exhibiting these skills it is not consistent across the board and can be better integrated into supporting student learning.

● Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility ­ This area describes the level of understanding and knowledge teachers have in local and global societal issues and responsibilities in an evolving digital culture and how this is integrated into lesson planning. The IMPACT analysis in this area demonstrates only a beginning level of integration in our classrooms district wide.

● Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership ­ This area describes the level of teacher professional development and leadership in the use of digital tools and resources. The IMPACT analysis in this area reveals we have some evidence of progress in this area but must continue to grow in this area to have strong professional growth with the effective use of digital tools and resources district­wide.

In addition to the IMPACT analysis, we have used the Speak Up survey tool to measure our stakeholders’ understanding and overall viewpoints towards digital learning in the classroom. The following responses from 2014 represent a baseline for where we are as a district:

● 23% of our instructional staff believe they possess “advanced” technology skills.

● 90% of our instructional staff utilize a “traditional” classroom format.

● 78% of our instructional staff utilize some type of internet resource in their classroom.

● 24% of our instructional staff utilize a Twitter account as an informal professional development tool.

● 76% of our instructional staff believe the effective implementation of instructional technology is important or extremely important.

● 90% of our instructional staff identify the lack of internet access at home for all students as an obstacle to using technology in the classroom.

● 79% of our instructional staff believe the use of mobile devices in the classroom would increase student engagement.

● 79% of our instructional staff are concerned with students being distracted in the classroom through the use of a mobile device.

The Five Star IMPACT analysis process and the Speak Up survey shows that we are at the ground level for technology integration and instructional practices to develop the 4 Cs within all students of Washington Community Schools. We are committed to improving in all areas and value the importance of leadership, planning, and professional development.

Our immediate goal is to implement a one­-to-­one initiative in our Junior High School next school year. From the Junior High initiative, we will expand our student technology access at both the elementary and high school levels. Further, we will continue to provide high quality and on­site professional development opportunities for all of our instructional staff K­12.

Guiding Coalition to Drive Future Planning

Through our partnership with Five Star Technology Solutions, we have contracted a Technology Integration Specialist (TIS), to support our leadership and planning to move our district forward to a high­ access digital environment for all students. The centerpiece of this support is with the development of our Guiding Coalition for technology integration in our district. The Guiding Coalition includes representation from the instructional staff and administrative team and is responsible for managing the change effort in the district. The Guiding Coalition has met one time this fall and is just in the beginning stages of creating the vision statement for technology integration in our district. The vision statement, once completed, will be used to as a map for all stakeholders for where we are headed in regards to technology integration in our classrooms.

Professional Development

The first step in this process is to provide allotted Professional Development time for staff. Every Wednesday from September through April is a 1 hour early release day so that faculty has a full hour every week for PD. We began this PD with some fundamental technical training for several weeks and have now transitioned into some Instructional expectations for staff. We also have several classrooms piloting Google Classroom as our Learning Management System.

As of November 1st, WCS has entered into a contract with Five­Star Technologies and their Technology Integration Services program. We are currently in the process of re­writing our vision statement and have developed a Guiding Coalition to move our district forward. The main purpose of the Guiding Coalition is to create a vision statement for long range success with our stakeholders.

Washington Community Schools is going to be the host site for a Five­Star Technologies Summit in January 2015. This is going to be a time where area schools can come on­site for a time of Professional Development and collaboration as we help teachers adapt their pedagogy to prepare our students to be well equipped after they graduate.

Access to Devices/Technology

Our current technology for student use has been predominantly computer labs and some small iPad classroom sets. We also have 300 Chromebooks distributed via a Cart Based Model with 1­2 carts represented at each school across the corporation.

Plans to increase student access:

● 1:1 implementation of Chromebooks at Junior High (Grades 7­8) ­ August 2016

● BYOD Implementation at High School ­ January 2017

● 1:1 Implementation of Chromebooks (Grades 4­6) ­ School Year 2017­2018


We have a plan in place to increase our access to devices. Our professional development plan is targeting on improving instructional practices as we adopt new standards and adapt new pedagogies to increase digital learning.