Technology Planning Committee Meeting
March 14, 2019
Attendees: Ray Birks, Ron Brown, Jacob Bucholz, Dennis Conger, Scott Feil, Todd Jensen, Dan Kjobech, Liz Lewis, Brandon Marsh, Holly McDonough, Tina Nicpan-Brown, Pete Phillips, Mark Woolsey, Dave Yancey
All committee members were welcomed to the meeting and the afternoon’s agenda was reviewed.
Tour of Washington Elementary Rooms
Reading article conversations
Q. The reading was very Professional Development (PD) focused. Can we draw that out? A couple articles really drew a framework before the devices were rolled out. Do we have a framework that we’re pushing or are we still in the development of it?
A. We have ongoing collaboration with staff. We’ve used the SAMR model, and the SAMR swimming pool model.
C. It’s not about the device, but more about how to teach using the tools.
A. We’ve tried to be agnostic about the tool because they change so often and quickly.
C. We’ve added things in steps; we have built-in PD (Ray’s in year 4 at OMS); FMS had two teachers in the 1:1 program for a few years and have added six teachers to it this year. All the teachers are in different spots too depending on their experience.
C. I know that just the way that the students are using the tech has transformed.
A. We need to remember that our 7-year journey may not be understood by everyone, and that we have four new school board members. Explaining that journey would be good especially if we’re needing their buy-in. That all our processes have been examined and used; we are in a position to not fail and to go big.
C. The weak link is teacher buy-in. I’m in two buildings, one has high tech and one low tech, but I see it in both buildings.
A. It’s a catch-22 - it can be hard to use tech as a singleton and many of our teachers are in that position. We have 48 1:1 teachers and 2 teachers that are less than excited about using the tech. As you get more ubiquitous with the devices and staff then Learning & Teaching can get more serious about using it, e.g. we are getting a math book because all classes are not digital; it will be unused in the digital classes.
C. We need to answer ‘why they need the technology’.
C. At FMS we’ve seen the continued support by Mark Woolsey. Some of the teachers near retirement want to know the next step and not knowing that is embarrassing and uncomfortable to them. The continued support helps them feel comfortable about being uncomfortable.
C. It takes a while to breakaway from being the Keeper of All Knowledge.
A. So often people think that PD means ‘sit and get’. We define it as embedded professionals like an Instructional Technology Facilitator who can handle situations on the fly. It is an important distinction.
C. Coaches and non-teaching staff need the same PD as the teachers because they don’t understand what we do.
C. Learning & Teaching has been disconnected from what we do.
Q. Do we have anything that supports the thought that students with 1:1 do better academically than students in non-tech classrooms?
A. Yes, we do and if the School Board asks for it I can use it. I don’t want them to think that it was due to the tech because it’s more about the teacher and the engagement.
C. It is how the teacher uses it; It is the teacher first and the technology second.
C. This District is so much better than some of the schools in the NCESD where they are still trying to block out time.
C. I can imagine that teachers fresh out of school are clamoring for the tools.
C. So many new teachers primarily use their phone.
C. Collaboration is really built into the devices. Some people think students will just sit and stare at their iPad. The first year we were part of the 1:1 program there was no PD, we just had to wing it. The first tools were all shiny objects; things that looked neat and we grabbed them to use.
C. The hardest nut to crack is getting to be a part of teachers’ development time; if we could integrate better with Learning & Teaching we’d have a better idea of what they do. I would love to sit down with teachers when they are doing their lesson planning.
A. It takes time to do that, and you don’t get that unless you are embedded with the staff.
C. People don't want to do things wrong. They want to keep doing what works, which is fine, but when the students are not successful or not engaged there needs to be a shift.
Final Approved Budget Reduction Effect on Technology
Q. There has been some recent teacher resignations at the elementary level. Is it possible to continue to advocate to keep Mark in his current position?
A. I will continue to do that but not sure it will work.
C. There is still some chance that the state will come through with budget funding.
A. Hopefully we can reinstate Mark’s position if the tech levy passes.
Past and Future Spending Analysis
C. The ASUS Chromebooks are more hardy than the CTL devices.
A. We also can get many years out of the iPads. They do run out of battery life and chip life, but we still will get 4-5 years out of each iOS device.
Speak Up Results
Laying Out the Priorities of the Plan and Diving into the Details
Q. Why isn’t there an increase in coaches in year 3 of the 6-Year Levy Outline?
A. It is simply a matter of dollars and sense. Hopefully over time the coordination between Learning & Teaching and Technology becomes tighter so you can have training for all instructional coaches who would then support teaching with tech. It would be nice to have more, but realistically, the coach could do 40-50 staff if things are coordinated in the right way.
Q. Would there be two coaches at WHS because there’s 100 staff?
A. That would be a place where we could do more in the future but also a place with the most resistance to how they teach and learn. There is also some shift in instruction with chromebooks. That building is more part of the 7-14 year plan. The middle schools are ready now, and we’ve been banging the drum for some time at that level. The teachers are ready. It will be a longer, harder shift for the high school staff.
C. There are a small percentage of staff at the high school who are ready now, but selling the whole idea is really important. We want to change our instruction and do the four Cs, get out some pedagogy changes. We need to show that we’re ready to make those changes. It’s a hard sell when you’re asking for the stuff first, rather than changing how they teach and then getting tools to continue that change.
A. Nothing is put in stone. This outline is more than what would be on any ballot. It’s up to us to lay out the granularity of what things will look like over time. We have to find the happy medium where Instructional Technology Facilitators are embedded in the building, and it will take a while to get there.
C. We should make the case that they are needed like HVAC; It is a part of what we do.
A. Vancouver School District just passed their technology levy for the next 6-years; now they’re in their second phase.
Q. Is granularity going to work against us?
A. I am not sure. We want to find the happy medium on what to commit to and still maintain our flexibility.
C. It’s a plan that can be changed; it’s not the law.
C. My concern is that a teacher could dig in their heels and spread the negative word to other voters.
C. There's a structure that’s been created within the District that if you don’t like the way something is going, to use a backchannel to get preferred results rather than working openly for solutions.
Q. Have we taken the temperature of our board on this matter?
A. It may be an uphill battle. They are fiscally understanding and our CFO is totally onboard with this and understands.
Q. Would that be something that you’ll highlight to the board?
A. Yes, it’s our current belief that we wouldn’t have to cut anything with a levy in place. The blue area in the 6-year Levy Outline is the classrooms, which is an easy sell. The red area is the devices; orange area is the people and PD. The other things can be flexible, e.g. when to do what with which level. We do not anticipate switching the type of technology used since we’re an Apple district. We will upgrade about 600 devices on a lease agreement with Apple that will cost us only $1/device at end of lease at which point we’d also own them. I am still a believer that the middle schools are the most ready and then to we should build out from that point.
Q. Does the Board know that this is coming?
A. Yes, Brian has told them and Larry ran the numbers.
Q. Is there any way to get a sense of what the Board’s roadblocks might be?
A. I know that one Board member is very supportive, and only one member has been outspoken against it. I don’t know about the others.
Q. Would there be any benefit to have them visit a classroom or hang out with Mark all day?
A. That is not a bad idea.
C. This plan is all about equitable access.
A. Yes, that is what it is all about. Equitable access to learning the way they should be in the world today. I will let them know the big picture, and a tour is a great idea. The Board has seen the classrooms but without the lense of the levy.
C. One of the Board members remarked at a recent meeting that they liked when people gave suggestions rather than just emotions since it gave the Board a starting point on which to work.
A. It will be easy to start with the enhancements. We’re already trying to get more years out of the hardware.
C. I can see them asking if we can survive off of $1.9mil in year 3 then why can’t we do that in year 1. The Board also likes to break information out into chunks.
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