Each year the Technology Leadership Network (TLN) team at NSBA sets up site visits to school districts from around the country to create awareness about best practices and innovative ways to infuse instructional technology into the curriculum. The East Irondequoit CSD is one of two districts chosen by NSBA for a site visit this coming school year!
The district is excited and proud to share its story, especially given the challenges of being a relatively small district (3000 students) with a very diverse and economically challenged population (20 different languages and 54% free and reduced lunch).
This NSBA tech site visit is geared more for school board members and district leadership positions. In addition to the topics listed below, this is a perfect opportunity for these leaders to see and learn what digital conversion is all about, and understand the commitments necessary to replicate this work in their own district.
School board members and district leadership teams from around the country will be visiting East Irondequoit on November 5-7, 2017 to learn, among other things, about:
- International Baccalaureate authorized at all grade levels
- AVID program 6-12 (Middle School is an AVID national demonstration school)
- Robust pre-engineering program (Project Lead The Way)
- STEM initiative
- 21st century classroom and library design
- Digital Conversion (1:1 devices K-12)
- Partnership with University of Rochester around Digital Conversion
The theme for this NSBA tech site visit will be the "Spirit of Collaboration". The district has been very successful in its efforts to create awareness about their instructional technology integration research, and has had over 67 districts visit them in the last 18 months. In keeping with this theme of collaboration, we are pleased to announce that Michael Fullan and Mark Edwards will be delivering the keynote address at this event. Michael is a renowned education researcher and worldwide authority on educational reform, and author of over 24 books on the subject. Mark is recognized as a pioneer of 1:1 computing in public schools, and is the former superintendent of the Mooresville, NC school district. He currently serves as Senior Vice President of Digital Learning with Discovery Education. Michael and Mark recently coauthored a book called The Power of Unstoppable Momentum: Key Drivers to Revolutionize Your District (and Integrate Technology in the Classroom), which "details a simple but powerful school improvement plan for integrating educational technology, pedagogy, and deep learning that leads to lasting change” (source: Amazon). A copy of this new book will be provided by one of the event sponsors to each registered attendee.
East Irondequoit CSD accepted into the League of Innovative Schools
In October 2016 the East Irondequoit Central School District was one of 19 new school districts accepted into the League of Innovative Schools, a national coalition of forward-thinking school districts organized by Digital Promise, an independent, bipartisan nonprofit organization authorized by Congress to accelerate innovation in education. East Irondequoit was selected from a competitive and national pool of applicants based on its leadership, evidence of results, innovative vision for learning, and commitment to collaboration. With the new members, the League now includes 87 school districts in 33 states, representing nearly 3.3 million students. The full list of members can be found at http://digitalpromise.org/initiative/league-of-innovative-schools/districts/.
OnBoard magazine recently published articles about work that the Warner School of Education, University of Rochester has done around “Digitally Rich Teaching”, and the work East Irondequoit has done around technology integration. Links to both articles can be found here:
Partnership with University of Rochester (Warner School of Education) evolves
In August of 2015 the East Irondequoit CSD announced a partnership with the Warner School of Education at the University of Rochester to promote the adoption of a Digital Conversion Model in K-12 schools. This partnership has led to the formation of a Digital Conversion Consortium. In January and March of 2017 the University of Rochester offered Digital Conversion workshops to districts in Western New York. A total of 24 districts sent teams to these workshops, facilitated by the university and hosted by East Irondequoit.
In March of 2017 the Warner School of Education announced a new advanced certificate approved by the New York State Education Department. This new certificate in "K-12 Digitally-Rich Teaching" is designed to teach our future educators about what to expect as schools invest in personal computing devices for their students (1:1 devices), and the "advantage of the technology and new understandings of the ways in which students learn and engage with technology and content." The advantages of attaining this certificate will become transparent as more and more districts create digitally rich learning spaces, and look for new teacher hires that already possess the prerequisite skill sets to excel in this environment.District announces NSBA tech site visit will be held in lieu of the 2017 annual Digital Conversion Symposium
The district decided that the NSBA tech site visit to be held on November 5-7, 2017 will take the place of the 2017 annual Digital Conversion Symposium. Current plans are to resume hosting the annual symposium starting the following year (November 2018).STEM initiative underway
In the 2015-16 school year the East Irondequoit CSD launched its STEM initiative with a coding pilot program using Kano kits. These kits include Raspberry Pi computers that first need to be assembled by the students, who then learn to create code to solve problems to challenges that get progressively more difficult. A computer science programming course was also added at the High School as part of the Project Lead The Way curriculum. Here is a link to a video describing coding at the elementary level: EI student coding video
Maker spaces were introduced to the intermediate schools (grades 3-5) in the 2016-17 school year, which included 3D printers, Dash and Dot robots, and Ozobots. Lego Robotics kits will be introduced in September 2017.
As teachers become more and more comfortable with mobile technology, digital resources, and the advantages of every student having their own computing device ... they begin to realize that classroom redesign is not only possible, but can also have a big impact on learning. During the spring of 2017 the district encouraged teachers to submit proposals for what has become known as "classrooms of the future". Eleven proposals were accepted (10 classrooms, 1 library), and those instructional spaces will get transformed over the ensuing summer. Each teacher was able to choose from a menu of state of the art technologies, as well as new classroom furniture designed for collaborative workspaces.
Two of our other libraries have been redesigned with mobility and workgroup collaboration in mind, as part of a capital construction project. Construction will begin on one of these libraries in September 2017, wth the other one beginning in the summer of 2018.
We want our teachers to benefit from the same ubiquitous access to digital resources that our students now enjoy. Roughly 30% (106) of our teachers will begin the new school year in September 2017 with a brand new 2-in-1 mobile device (laptop and tablet), with the balance of teachers receiving one by the end of the 2017-18 school year. These new devices, in conjunction with a docking station, replace the functionality of the traditional teacher desktop computer in each classroom. Connecting just one cable from the 2-in-1 device to the docking station is all that is needed to both charge the device and activate an external monitor, keyboard, mouse, and presentation device (projector or smart board). The docking station also provides a wired network connection. When the docking cable is disconnected the 2-in-1 device instantly connects to the district Wi-Fi network, and the teacher can then traverse the classroom or building with uninterrupted network connectivity. These devices can also securely access the district network using any internet connection, giving teachers access to district resources from home or wherever they may be... on a fully supported district device.