Our 1:1 Journey
As part of the district's 2014-2018 Strategic Leadership Plan 1.0:
- A Technology Integration Coach position is created. Adam Watson becomes Shelby County's first TIC.
- Laptops are distributed to teachers and administrators. Staff are allowed to choose either Lenovo Yogas (Windows OS) or MacBook Airs as their building-wide device.
- Adam Watson begins leading professional development for Shelby staff on integrating education technology to make teaching and learning more effective.
- Shelby County creates a Google Apps for Education domain. (As of spring 2021, this is now known as Google Workplace for Education.)
- March 26, 2015: Shelby County has its first Edtech Share Fair, where Shelby educators share digital tools that have impacted student learning. This becomes an annual event that is as popular for visitors outside the district as it is for Shelby staff.
- Several public presentations by vendors of learning management systems are given, open to all Shelby staff. Based on their input, the district decides on Schoology.
- After research and visits to other school districts, Shelby decides on Chromebooks as the predominant 1:1 student device. (For more information on the advantages of Chromebooks, read Mr. Watson's blog entry "Why Chromebooks?")
- Adam Watson becomes the district's Digital Learning Coordinator. Two Shelby teachers leave their classroom for one year to become Digital Learning Coaches to help with professional development -- one embedded at Shelby County High, the other at Collins High.
- Cliff Chandler becomes the district's Network Engineer. His expertise is invaluable in preparing our wireless network for the thousands of student devices that will be accessing the Internet.
- In September 2015, our first Chromebook deployment begins for high school students.
- In January 2016, middle school students received their Chromebooks.
- In September 2016, elementary students received their devices, completing the 1:1 deployment. Kindergarteners received iPads, while grades 1-5 received Chromebooks. In recognition of their unique needs, MacBook Airs and Lenovo Yoga laptop from school carts are redistributed to juniors and seniors.
- January 5 and 6, 2017: the district had its first SnoGo days. For many students, this relied on e-learning access.
- In February 2017, the district reached a new milestone: three-fourths of our students and teachers are using Schoology.
- March 22, 2017: At the third annual Edtech Share Fair, students present for the first time. In May 2017, the Kentucky School Boards Association publishes two different articles on the Edtech Share Fair (here and here) in its Kentucky School Advocate magazine.
- Edtech professional development begins to shift from simply "how to" introduction of tools to learning about SAMR and the need to be transformative in the integration of technology. The role of technology in personalized learning and resources for digital curriculum is also highlighted.
- The wireless network equipment is replaced and recalibrated with the newest technology. Among other capabilities, it can more than double the previous system's load of wireless devices accessing the network.
- Plans begin for building the new K-8 school off of Discovery Boulevard, named after Marnel C. Moorman. The school broke ground in 2018. As part of the planning, SCPS instructional leaders and building architects meet with the network engineer and the Digital Learning Coordinator to discuss what a "Classroom 2023" in Shelby County should look like, where technology fuels collaboration, creativity, dynamic exhibitions, and flexible learning spaces.
- In May 2018, the Shelby Board approved an expansion of the IT department. This included having a building technician at every elementary and middle school, with two technicians at each high school. Also, a new classified position of Digital Technology Coordinator was created to supervise the technicians and lead the IT department; Chad Hebner became the first person in this role in August 2018.
- Based on the district's Profile of a Graduate (created in spring of 2017), the learning community spends 2017-2018 creating the next four year Strategic Leadership Plan 2.0. "Personalized Learning" becomes one of the main strands, which asks technology to ensure all stakeholders can access data dashboards of student mastery, as well as creating "anytime, anywhere" opportunities.
- Teachers and staff requested a learning management system that better allowed tracking of mastery and support Shelby's shift to a competency-based educaton system. After vetting several programs, the consensus led SCPS to purchase Empower, which began piloting in classrooms in late summer 2018 and replaced Schoology for the district in July 2019. Empower is key for the "data dashboard" part of our SLP 2.0 Personalized Learning strand.
- Also as part of SLP 2.0, the adaptive learning systems of Lexia, Reading Plus, and DreamBox were chosen (after input from staff across the district) as district digital platforms to enhance student literacy and numeracy, as well as provide personalized opportunities for practice, intervention, and enrichment of academic knowledge and skills. 2018-2019 marked the first full year of integrating these systems with district expectations of usage fidelity and intentionality. The Digital Learning Coordinator provided principals with school and district level qualitative and quantitative analytics to track student learning.
- Lenovo Yogas are retired at the end of their lease and returned to the vendor. Teacher devices are now all MacBook Airs. Chromebooks remain the dominant student device for grades 1-12, although some dual credit high school students need to use MacBook Airs. As kindergarten iPads begin to age out, SCPS is slowly replacing them with Chromebooks as well as evaluating other devices.
- The Shelby County Digital Citizenship Curriculum, which Adam Watson began creating in spring of 2016 and implementing in fall of 2016, was finalized in the fall of 2018. This spiraling curriculum has 65 unique K-12 student lessons organized in five focus strands throughout the school year, ensuring 5+ instructional hours of digital citizenship every school year for every student. SCPS librarians have a vital role in teaching the lessons and/or overseeing the implementation of the curriculum.
- The Share Fair is rebranded (dropping "Edtech" from its title) with sessions on both edtech and competency-based education. Highlights from the fifth year of the conference included launching a new event website and having a building tech lead a session for the first time.
- KySTE awards Adam Watson the 2019-2019 Outstanding Leader of the Year as recognition of his edtech work in Shelby, Kentucky, and beyond.
- After a year of work by district instructional coaches led by Rebecca Martin (Director of Curriculum), the website housing our SCPS K-12 curriculum is published.
- Digital Learning Teams are launched for the first time in each school. The DLT is composed of an instructional coach, librarian, and building tech (although some schools choose to add other members as well). Their purpose is to support adaptive learning system integration, as well as other edtech tools, at the building and classroom level via PD and data analysis. The DLT meets on a regular basis or as needed, and serve as a communication liason between admin and teachers, as well as between the Digital Learning Coordinator and the schools.
- The Digital Citizenship Handbook for School Leaders is published (Ribble and Park, 2019, ISTE), which highlights Shelby County's digital citizenship curriculum.
- The K-8 school Marnel C. Moorman opens its doors in December 2019. Besides having innovative and flexible learning spaces, MCM also serves as a showcase and testing ground for new technology that will replace aging edtech in our other Shelby schools over the next few years.
- Thanks to the leadership of Chad Hebner (District Technology Coordinator) and others, SCHS and Collins High School become the first schools in Kentucky to qualify for and implement Sprint's 1Million hotspot project, which allows hundreds of students the ability to access home high speed Internet at no charge.
- March 16 - May 15, 2020: The COVID-19 pandemic causes an unprecedented statewide Non-Traditional Instruction (NTI) program of "stay at home" teaching and learning for two months. Because of student device deployment, comfort in digital tools, and previous "SnoGo" planning and experience, Shelby teachers and students have a smoother transition into NTI than most Kentucky districts. To capture staff's thoughts on their NTI work and reflection toward the future, the district launches a vodcast series "Shelby Speaks: Looking Forward," which is praised by national education leaders in social media and is recognized in local television news.
- As COVID-19 continued to impact education, the newest challenge for teachers was to effectively teach in a hybrid/concurrent classroom (which combines both in-person and at-home students). Staff Developer Tracy Huelsman and district Instructional Coaches helped create a "Concurrent Classroom Dashboard Doc" which is a curation of resources, tips and strategies; these resources include SCPS teachers screencasting short videos sharing their own expertise to their colleagues. A selection of these videos became the basis of our vodcast series "Shelby Speaks: The Concurrency of our Classrooms."
- The need for consistent, high speed home Internet access for ALL students increased dramatically during the pandemic. Two ways our district is addressing this includes the expansion of our Sprint hotspot program to students K-12, and the first stages of installing Aruba outdoor access points on over a dozen Shelby County utility poles in multiple neighborhoods, which will broadcast our school network WiFi across our community (made possible with a partnership between SCPS, KDE, local municipal government, and regional utility companies). We plan for the Arubas to be fully operational by fall 2021.
- SCPS begins a major deployment of Clevertouches -- mobile interactive flat panels, which includes highly engaging software for student learning -- in dozens of classrooms across the district. This is part of our "Classroom 2023" 2017-2018 plan of refreshing our edtech and replacing our aging SMARTboards, projectors, and desktop computers. By fall 2021, 250 more Clevertouches will be in place, which means nearly all instructional classrooms will have one.
- At the end of the school year, a waiver was granted by KDE to expand our Cultivate Virtual program to include K-5, launching in fall 2021. Unlike 6-12, which utilizes Apex Learning and advisors, K-5 will have certified elementary teachers that will facilitate student learning both synchronously and asynchronously.
- In summer 2021, brand new WiFi access points are installed and configured throughout all schools, optimizing our network capacity.
- In July 2021, CompetencyWorks published "Crosswalking Edtech with Competency-Based Design Principles." The blog entry highlighted our innovative edtech work in SPCS and the need to put technology integration into a rigorous academic context.
- A full range of virtual professional development modules were created by the Digital Learning Coordinator and provided online for most of our major digital platforms, allowing staff to have "anytime/anywhere" learning.
- SCPS deployed several hundred Clevertouches as planned. This was followed by yearlong PD personalized and provided at the school level, as well as support via a virtual PD module. An additional order of 100 was placed in spring 2022; once received and deployed early next school year, we will have interactive flat panels 1:1 with our principal-designated instructional spaces throughout the district.
- In November 2021, Adam Watson presented in Pittsburgh, PA at EDSpaces21, a conference about building and renovating schools. The presentation topic was on the journey of opening our K-8 school Marnel C. Moorman (MCM), which included discussing its technology innovations. EDspace's Essentials magazine later asked Adam to write an article based on the presentation, which was published in April 2022.
- SCPS was the only Kentucky school district mentioned by name in a Next Generation Learning Challenges national report released in March of 2022, titled "What Made Them So Prepared?" The report celebrated districts having success during the pandemic despite numerous challenges, and highlighted our Profile of a Graduate as well as our "Shelby Speaks" vodcast series (see above for vodcast details).
- On April 20, 2022, three of our schools -- West Middle, MCM, and Heritage Elementary -- made it to the State Championship level of STLP Kentucky. This is the first time we've had any SCPS school make it to the State in several years, much less three! Additionally, both MCM and Heritage qualified as finalists by having a Level 3 Project. Putting this accomplishment in perspective, out of approximately 2000 Projects that began competition in Regionals, these two schools made it to the top 3% in Kentucky. MCM also won Runner Up in the Newscast Challenge (grade 6-8).