School Evaluation Summary: Red Elementary School

Amy Simon

EDTECH 501: Introduction to Educational Technology

Master of Educational Technology Program

Boise State University


School Background/Demographics

School District A is an urban school district serving 20,577 students, making it one of the 5 largest districts in the state. Within the district, there are 20 elementary schools, 7 middle schools, and 3 high schools. The district serves a population comprised of 25% black, 29% hispanic, and 44% white students. Of those students, 64% are considered economically disadvantaged.

Red Elementary School is home to 455 students. Of those students, 58% are black, 17% are hispanic, and 24% are white. Additionally, 91% of all the students at Red Elementary School are economically disadvantaged.

See the chart below for a comparison of student populations in my school, district, and state.

Within our school, there are 3 desktop computers in each classroom, totaling 66 desktop computers. There is a computer lab with an additional 30 desktop computers available. Our school has three floors, and each floor has a laptop cart that is supposed to have 25 working laptops available at all times (though this rarely happens). The carts offer an additional 75 devices. Each cart is shared between 6-7 classrooms. We currently do not have any iPads or other devices available to our students. This puts us at about 171 devices for our 455 students, a ratio of 1 device for every 3 students.


Maturity Model Benchmark Survey

Administrative Filter

Policy

Behavioral: Integrated

Resource/Infrastructure: Intelligent

There is a policy in place, but it is not fully supported at all levels. This could be due to a lack of knowledge or understanding of the policy. The policy is not enforced at all levels, either. The policy itself, however, is very extensive and comprehensive. It is user friendly and easy to understand.

Planning

Behavioral: Islands

Resource/Infrastructure: Islands

While much of the planning comes from the district level, there is little additional planning at the school level. Technology does not seem to be a priority at our school (there is a huge focus on behavior and attendance), and there is no formal evaluation process in place.

Budget

Behavioral: Integrated

Resource/Infrastructure: Integrated

The budget is mostly dictated by the district, but the school has a technology budget as well. That money is mostly spent on subscriptions and repairs to hardware already in our school. There is very little long-term budgeting to address upgrades to equipment.

Administrative Information

Behavioral: Integrated

Resource/Infrastructure: Integrated

While there has been a shift to some paperless systems, there is still a heavy reliance on paper communication within our school. Instead of email communication, many staff members prefer paper reminders or notes. This is evident in the large number of staff members who print out our weekly newsletters from our office staff. Educational Assistants are not issued any hardware and are left to use student equipment to access communication as well.

Curricular Filter

Electronic Information

Behavioral: Integrated

Resource/Infrastructure: Islands

All curriculum documents from the district are available online, and communication from district to staff is handled electronically. These documents are always provided to teachers on paper, as well. Because of this practice, there is little need for teachers to access the online documents.

Assessment

Behavioral: Emergent

Resource/Infrastructure: Islands

The only assessment students take using technology is the MAP test three times each year. In the classroom, the focus is still on traditional assessment methods rather than utilizing technology to produce evidence of proficiency.

Curricular Integration

Behavioral: Islands

Resource/Infrastructure: Islands

The district provides many subscriptions to online resources, such as Reading A-Z, Pearson Success Net for math, BrainPop, and Tumblebooks. However, these resources do not always align to the text curriculum we have in the classroom, and there is very little support provided in accessing and utilizing these resources.

Teacher Use

Behavioral: Integrated

Resource/Infrastructure: Integrated

Regular classroom teachers in our school have ample access to online resources. Each classroom is equipped with 3 desktop computers, a SMART board, and an ELMO. In addition, each teacher is issued a laptop computer as well. Special Education teachers do not have any additional technology in their classrooms besides their laptop computers, however.

Student Use

Behavioral: Islands

Resource/Infrastructure: Emergent

Students have access to 3 desktop computers in each classroom. There is also a lab with 30 desktop computers in our school that is shared by 21 classrooms. In addition, there are three laptop carts equipped with 25 laptops (there are rarely 25 working laptops available) shared by 6-7 classrooms. Our school does not have access to any iPads, tablets, or other personal devices. While we have technology in our school, it is rare that students have consistent and regular access needed for extensive or ongoing projects or units of study.

Support Filter

Stakeholder Involvement

Behavioral: Emergent

Resource/Infrastructure: Islands

I scored our district at emergent and islands for the stakeholder involvement due to the lack of community, parental, and student involvement in the planning process. The district is great at bringing teachers in with administration to look at planning, but rarely goes beyond that.

Administrative Support

Behavioral: Integrated

Resource/Infrastructure: Islands

Within our school, there is little time allocated to focusing on technology resources or technology needs of our school. This is partially because of the control of our district over the purchasing process, but there should still be at least some discussion within our school as well.

Training

Behavioral: Emergent

Resource/Infrastructure: Emergent

There is no school level professional development focused on integrating technology. The district will occasionally offer some professional development, but staff at our school is eligible to participate in many professional development opportunities due to our extended school day.

Technical & Infrastructure Support

Behavioral: Islands

Resource/Infrastructure: Intelligent

There are no support staff located within our school for technical support. The district has a Call Center set up that is staffed full time. Teachers fill out an online ticket requesting support. Response time is anywhere from a couple days to a couple weeks before the issue is resolved.

Connectivity Filter

Local Area Networking

Behavioral: Islands

Resource/Infrastructure: Intelligent

Each building in the district is set up with wireless access. The connection can support video, voice, and other sophisticated data needs as evidenced by the online testing that occurs three times each year. While the access is available, it is often not utilized to its fullest potential.

District Area Networking (WAN)

Behavioral: Islands

Resource/Infrastructure: Intelligent

Network services are readily available for staff and students, however, the use is often basic and traditional. Video is occasionally accessed and integrated into lessons.

Internet Access

Behavioral: Islands

Resource/Infrastructure: Intelligent

Students and staff have consistent and reliable access to the internet in all areas of the school and district, but integration is generally teacher-led in whole group instruction.

Communication Systems

Behavioral: Intelligent

Resource/Infrastructure: Intelligent

All students and staff are issued a Gmail account. The district does encourage use of Google applications. Students rarely access and use their gmail accounts, however. The reason for these accounts to be created is to link to other online services, such as Kidblog, that require students to have an email account.

Innovation Filter

New Technologies

Behavioral: Islands

Resource/Infrastructure: Islands

While new technologies aren’t readily rejected by staff, they are often met with reluctance. I saw this first hand in my semester as an instructional math coach last spring. Teachers were willing to learn about new opportunities to integrate technology, but were reluctant to try because of the lack of training and support our district is notorious for.

Comprehensive Technologies

Behavioral: Intelligent

Resource/Infrastructure: Integrated

Our classrooms are equipped with technology that has great potential to impact student learning. While the potential is there, due to many factors, implementation is lagging.

Conclusion

        Overall, I could score our district in the Islands category. In comparing the Support Filter (Emergent/Islands) and Connectivity Filter (Intelligent), it is clear that the resources are there. The time and training, however, are lacking. This makes sense, then, that the Innovation Filter (Islands/Integrated) scored low as well. The Curricular Filter (Islands/Integrated) scored from Emergent to Intelligent in different areas. This is an area of concern as it seems to be the main purpose for investing in technology from a teacher’s perspective. Based on these findings, it is evident that the district has made technology readily available and accessible to staff and students, but there are clear gaps in implementation and integration. In order to effectively utilize the investment in technology, this gap must be addressed.

Resources:

Report Cards. (n.d.). District and School Home. Retrieved November 27, 2013, from http://reportcards.dpi.wi.gov/