School CIO: Back Office Business

1/29/2014 4:00:00 PM

Pennsylvania districts get low-cost Ethernet services

Challenge: Several school districts across three Pennsylvania counties needed infrastructure upgrades to support a variety of cloud computing and disaster-preparedness initiatives being developed.

Solution: The districts will receive Comcast Ethernet services through the Lincoln Intermediate Unit, which offers educational and technology resources to more than 96,000 students and teachers. Comcast Business will connect the districts to PA IUnet, an online, statewide, private network that allows teachers and students to communicate, collaborate, and share resources. “Comcast has allowed many of our districts to increase their bandwidth exponentially—and in some cases for half the price—which has given them access to cloud computing, video conferencing, and other online educational tools that had previously been cost-prohibitive for them,” says Jared Mader, director of education technology for the Lincoln Intermediate Unit.

Flipped classrooms choose a plat form to support their initiatives

Challenge: One school in Connecticut and another in Michigan needed to find platforms to support their flipped learning initiatives. They were both seeking something that would encourage collaboration and communication among students.

Solution: Both schools chose EDU onGO. “Our students responded really well to the flipped learning model, but I knew that was just the beginning,” says Greg Green, principal of Clintondale High School in Clinton, Mich. “I needed to take flipped learning to the next level and make it a real success at our school. With EDU onGo we are receiving a straightforward, intuitive platform for teachers to create the collaborative and customized learning environments necessary to generate higher-level thinking and participation among students.”

Six New Jersey districts select a data solution

Challenge: The AchieveNJ educator evaluation and support system relies on multiple measures of performance to evaluate teachers. Six New Jersey districts needed to find a way to manage the onslaught of data from these measures—including Student Growth Percentiles, Student Growth Objectives (SGOs), and classroom observations.

Solution: Butler Public Schools, Cherry Hill Public Schools, East Brunswick Public Schools, Franklin Township Public Schools, Freehold Regional High School District, and Garfield Public Schools all purchased Performance Matters, which offers an assessment and data management system, along with the newly released SGO module to assist in the creation, management, and monitoring of SGOs. Three of the districts will also implement FAST e (Formative Action System for Teacher Effectiveness), a turnkey system for evaluating educator effectiveness with a framework that can be customized for each school system.

Spring ISD delivers collaborative learning experience

Challenge: Spring (TX) Independent School District wanted to provide students with more personalized and blended learning opportunities inside and outside of the classroom.

Solution: The district partnered with itslearning, a cloud-based learning management system that lets teachers differentiate and deliver instruction. The learning platform lets teachers share instructional resources, assignments, activities, and assessments with students and parents via personalized dashboards. “We assessed our current standing and felt there was more we could do to prepare our students for digital 1:1 learning, collaboration, and truly self-directed academic experiences,” says Regina Owens, executive director for instructional engagement at Spring ISD.

The fourth-largest U.S. school district expands its digital offerings in classrooms

Challenge: Miami- Dade County Public Schools is working to transform teaching and learning by providing dynamic and interactive learning opportunities to all students.

Solution: As part of its continued digital conversion, the district expanded its partnership with Discovery Education to provide all of its 348 schools with Discovery Education Streaming Plus, a collection of rich multimedia assets aligned to state academic and testing standards, as well as Discovery Education Science, a multimedia curriculum supplement for elementary and middle school science education. In addition, district educators will be provided with extensive professional development preparing them for life inside a digital classroom.

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