Integrating technology into everyday use in schools can be challenging, but having a technology advocate can help. Jennifer Prusak, the Technology Integration Specialist for Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District in southern Arizona, acted as the technology advocate in her school. She started out teaching kindergarten and third grade, and worked hard to bring technology into her classroom. Over time, the presence of technology in classrooms throughout her district increased, and Jennifer was hired as a district-wide Technology Integration Specialist with the intent of helping her colleagues incorporate programs like Pathblazer® and MyPath™ into their teaching to address learning gaps and see increases in NWEA® MAP® Growth™ scores.
How do they do it successfully in a district with 3,500 students, the majority of whom are English language learners? There are many factors that affect student achievement and growth, one of which could be the students’ use of online intervention programs.
“We didn’t have to add anything extra to our schedule. We just had to rethink how we utilized our time,” said Jennifer. Thanks to a schedule that included two hours a week of intervention time, elementary school teachers were able to repurpose that time to include time spent both on Pathblazer and in small groups for personalized instruction. At the middle school level, where students can choose between using Pathblazer or MyPath, teachers integrate the programs into their classrooms during daily tutorial and enrichment time. Using results from the previous weeks’ tests and quizzes, teachers assign students work in the intervention program, which allows them to brush up on skills they had trouble with, and get extra instruction and practice to reinforce other skills and concepts.
We didn’t have to add anything extra to our schedule. We just had to rethink how we utilized our time.
Additionally, they’ve also been able to garner both student and community support for technology use. In Summer 2017, they ran a summer challenge that rewarded students for using Pathblazer for 30 minutes each week. Students who did this received donated prizes like scooters and tablets, and educators used test scores to see that those same students experienced less summer learning loss in math. The district also hosts monthly tech nights, where Jennifer has been able to connect with parents and other community members to tell them more about the programs and how to use them. Reactions have been great, and she’s had many discussions with parents about the growth they’ve seen in their students.
Now that teachers and community members are getting more comfortable with these programs, administrators are excited to continue to see growth and increases in NWEA scores. And knowing that students are excited to keep learning with these programs (even during summer break!) helps, too.
If you’re interested in learning more about how you can use online learning solutions to help your students grow, visit Edgenuity.com