State Exemplars

Talladega County

In 2009, Talladega County schools started the move towards a 21st century learning environment to prepare students for college and a career. Classrooms are equipped with computers, interactive whiteboards, and digital resources to provide students with access to instructional tools. Teachers use the project based learning (PBL) approach and guide students as they solve real-world problems, using appropriate digital tools and software to teach core content standards. Students are developing 21st century skills — communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking. Currently, all Talladega schools utilize this approach and the county placed digital learning specialists in half of its schools to assist with implementation. Since Talladega implemented the PBL approach, student performance and engagement have improved significantly. Talladega’s districtwide graduation rate is now 90 percent, a 10 percentage-point increase since 2011.

J.O. Kelly Middle School

Leveraging the robust offering of technology in the Environmental and Spatial Technology (EAST) classroom, students are empowered to direct their own learning. Promoting student choice and voice in the selection and direction of their chosen community service projects, project teams work collaboratively to solve real world problems. Using online collaboration tools and digital content, students are connected in way that removes the traditional barriers of walls, location, and time restraints. Teachers embrace the role of facilitator and encourage students to own the learning process; yet teachers provide support and resources along the way to help students bring their projects to successful fruition.

El Capitan High School

Located in central California’s Merced Union High School District (MUHSD), El Capitan High School opened in 2013 as the first MUHSD school to implement a “one-to-web” environment. The district allows student to bring their own mobile devices or provides students with school-issued Chromebooks so they can access all the educational resources they need over the web — anytime, anywhere. Student discipline referrals have decreased and students are more engaged in school by having a device to support their learning.

Kaynor Technical High School

Kaynor Technical High School is the first technical school in Connecticut to fully incorporate a 1:1 device structure. All teachers use an online system to post, receive and grade assignments in a paperless environment. The vast majority of the textbooks have transitioned to online digital instructional materials, to create a “backpack-less” system for students. This school-wide coherent approach provides students with equity of access, as well as enhancing student organization and collaboration. For staff, this initiative was accompanied by whole-group, small-group, and individual professional learning, and has enhanced staff technological capacity and professional culture as a shared learning community. Indicators of success include student and staff surveys regarding ease of use, capacity to access the technology, and effectiveness of training. School walkthroughs with district administrative teams, have provided observational evidence of improved student engagement.

Kuna Middle School

Launching via the Idaho state Pilot Grant in 2013, Kuna School District was one of the first school districts in Idaho to implement a 1:1 learning project at the middle school level. Kuna Middle School (KMS) successfully deployed and implemented over 800 Chromebooks to each of its students and staff members. By using the Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition (SAMR), educational technology implementation model, most KMS teachers launched the program with substitution focusing on the ultimate goal of redefinition. Teachers use online tools to deliver assignments and to encourage group collaboration. The learning management system helps to ensure that all students are connected to each other and that devices provide safe access to the digital resources. Online quizzes and tests, essays and papers, and other final exams are completed and collected digitally. Teachers often use the automatic scoring systems, which produce immediate results and the opportunity to reteach as needed helping to personalize instruction.

Baltimore County Public Schools

Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) is continuing implementation of their instructional digital conversion, known as Students & Teachers Accessing Tomorrow (S.T.A.T.). BCPS installed broadband and Wi-Fi technology for all schools and is working to move from a 3:1 learning platform to a 1:1 platform by 2018, equipping each student and teacher with a digital learning device. To support teachers through the transition, the school system provides each school with a full time coach (S.T.A.T. Teacher) to provide job embedded professional learning to teachers including team planning, modeling and co-teaching lessons, and providing school-wide professional development to meet the unique needs of the staff. BCPS spent nearly two years updating curriculum and planning before devices were selected, with the district ultimately choosing a hybrid tablet-laptop that was favored by students, who tested prospective devices. BCPS is also developing a digital ecosystem known as “BCPS One,” which will provide single sign-on access to students, staff, and parents for the various subsystems including the learning management system, student information system, digital content, and more. The work around S.T.A.T. continues to evolve as extensive planning and work is now being done around student data privacy and makerspaces.

Burlington Public Schools

Burlington Public Schools launched the 1:1 Learning Program for students in grades 1-12 in 2011. The goal of the program is to provide students with real-world learning environments that mirror working environments in the digital age. Student engagement has increased across all grades and in all content areas. Students report that having access to a 1:1 mobile learning device is not only a dynamic catalyst for learning, but an extraordinary tool for organizing their academic and extracurricular lives. Class structures have shifted from focusing on traditional methods of lecture and assessment, to project based, flipped classroom, and blended learning models. The schools are in the process of shifting to digital with some fully digital classes at the high school level.

New York
Yonkers Public Schools

Yonkers Public Schools is located in Yonkers, New York, on the south end of the Hudson Valley, only minutes away from Manhattan. Yonkers is the fourth largest school district in New York serving a diverse population across 39 schools grades PreK through Grade 12 with 26,000 students from 100 different nationalities

In Yonkers, the district provides instructional resources through Yonkers Online Quick Links, the district’s open and recommended digital resource area. It is designed to support easy access for students, staff and families. Individual schools select instructional materials based on instructional needs.

At Palisades Preparatory School, many educators teach in a blended learning environment. Science teacher, Alex Romero, utilizes digital content to engage students. Ms. Romero uses Moodle (a free platform) as the delivery platform for her science class and estimates that 75% of her instructional materials are digital. Students can access teacher created and student created content through the Moodle platform. Ms. Romero combines virtual lab experiences with face-to-face hands on inquiry. Ms. Romero utilizes virtual labs from PhET an OER that offers interactive science and math simulations. Ms. Romero encourages students to “experience the interactive simulations and not memorize,” thus fostering 21st century skills. Ms. Romero promotes student involvement in creating OER content as part of their learning experience. Students created their own tutorials via a free screen-casting app and developed their own rubrics to evaluate projects and case studies.

Nebo School District

Nebo School District, located in Utah County, is the seventh largest school district in Utah serving nearly 30,000 students. The district’s leadership supports a digital learning environment and is moving towards a 1:1 learning environment for all students in all schools over the next several years. Nebo is currently working to remodel the wireless networks to increase broadband capacity and meet demand for online instructional materials. In 2010, in a partnership with BYU and the Utah Office of Education, Nebo piloted an Open Educational Resources (OER) project for high school science. Teachers worked together over the summer to develop OER flexbooks primarily using content available on the CK-12 platform. The flexbooks are available in both print and digital version and the school is moving to full implementation of the digital versions. The flexbooks offer the opportunity for annual changes to the content including adding additional resources and images, including student feedback. During this process, reviewers target areas where students are struggling or where they have misconceptions and teachers have responded positively because they can immediately make changes instead of waiting for the textbook adoption process cycle and/or new funding streams to improve the content. Teachers and students have provided positive qualitative feedback regarding increased engagement and the ability to personalize learning for students.

Henry County, Rich Acres Elementary School

Rich Acres Elementary School is a Total Title 1 Project School based on a high percentage of students qualifying for free and reduced lunch. Each teacher has a wireless laptop and the entire curriculum is digital and available via the staff’s webpage. Teachers at this school have become facilitators, rather than lecturers and students have an active part in their learning process. Students in grades 3-5 are provided tablets that include digital instructional materials, a variety of educational games, support content and numerous educational apps. Digital learning has increased parental involvement and Rich Acres continues to have the highest achievement scores of any elementary schools in the district.

Spokane Public Schools

Spokane Public Schools, located in Spokane County, is the largest school district in eastern Washington with approximately 30,000 students. Spokane includes both urban and rural schools. With a grant from the state, Spokane chose the Engage NY math curriculum for all its K-8 students. Engage NY includes free open resources aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), which was a critical requirement in the instructional materials selection process. Spokane completed extensive field testing of the OER before a two-year roll out. Field tests included one or two units per grade with professional development sessions to support teachers. All of the content is available digitally and teachers can access online teacher guides and student books through their learning management system (LMS). The LMS is only accessible by administrators and teachers, and allows the teachers to access the course materials from work, as well as home. Spokane also provides logistical support for teachers including printing, purchasing and organizing of course manipulatives. Teachers and students can use either the printed or digital version of the OER materials.

Washington Elementary

Providing students with access to technology is important, but giving them access to the right technology to meet their individual needs is critical. In Janesville, teachers personalize technology tools and resources especially for those students with disabilities. As part of the Universal Design for Learning strategies, the schools assess students for their strength’s and seek to discover how they learn best. For example, students that need support to increase reading skills may be provided audio books or apps that provide print materials with audio support. Students at Washington Elementary have increased their reading scores, some even doubled their scores.