SVVSD wins International Society for Technology in Education recognition
By Amy Bounds, Daily Camera
The International Society for Technology in Education chose St. Vrain Valley as one of three school districts of distinction for 2019.
The award recognizes school districts that “demonstrate effectiveness and innovation in the application of educational technology, ensure equitable, accessible and appropriate technology use for all students … and exhibit a progressive mindset when it comes to challenges in education and embrace new ideas and act on them.”
“This is a very big award for our district,” said Kahle Charles, St. Vrain Valley’s executive director of curriculum.
District officials said St. Vrain Valley appears to be only the second school district in the country to receive both the International Society for Technology in Education distinction award and a Consortium for School Networking team award.
The district won the the national team award in March for the leadership team’s impact on student learning with technology.
Joe McBreen, St. Vrain’s chief technology officer, said a central goal of the district’s technology plan is to create equity by providing the same base technology to every classroom.
St. Vrain Valley just wrapped up its fifth year of implementing a learning technology plan. The technology plan, funded through a 2012 mill levy override, allocated $2.2 million a year to give sixth- through 12th-grade students their own iPads.
Each elementary classroom also receives a set of six iPads for students to share. Other elements of the plan include updates to computer labs, distributing Chromebook “carts” to schools that will serve as mobile computer labs and updates to classroom desktops.
McBreen, who is retiring and recently received the 2019 Dan Maas Technology Leadership Award from the Colorado Association of Leaders in Educational Technology, said the technology plan is earning recognition for its sustainability, with regular technology refreshes.
Along with refreshing the devices, the district is continuing to offer technology professional development classes for teachers and has hired technology coaches to work directly with teachers.
“It’s this systemic, sustainable approach to technology,” McBreen said. “It shifts the focus from heads down, need to fix this and get things going to more of an aspirational approach.”
Another component is the partnership between the district’s instruction and technology departments.
Charles said the district developed its learning technology plan around using technology “to provide a world-class experience for our students. We want our students to create and collaborate and be problem solvers.”
St. Vrain also uses digital curriculum and materials and has a digital library to give students easy access to books outside of school.
“We wanted to extend the school day,” Charles said.