From the Superintendent: Progress on iPads, Personalized Learning and More

A photo by Lee Vang from the Galtier ribbon cutting on Friday, Sept. 12.

Dear Colleagues:

It amazes me how quickly we all fall into the rhythm of a new school year. As I continued my almost non-stop visits to schools last week, I saw students’ excitement and anxiety settling into an eagerness to learn, and our staff all supporting them in their own special ways.

This week, I want to particularly acknowledge those who have been working hard to help the district personalize the learning experiences of students with the help of iPads in about half our schools this year.

Teams from the Office of Personalized Learning, Technology Services, Teaching and Learning, and the Facilities Department have been focused on supporting Year 1 teachers and principals in learning to use the iPad as a common teaching tool.

By all accounts, the teacher iPad handout events and other professional development (PD) have gone smoothly and been enthusiastically received.  I went through the stations at the handout event at Central and was so impressed at how well-thought-out each part of the process was. My guide was a high school student, the TS support staff were there to help me remember my passwords, and then OPL staff and building technology teachers took over teaching me how to use the device. I felt well taken care of!

We’ve also heard from many teachers how much they appreciate having a person in their building to support the use of iPads in their instruction. Overall, there is mounting excitement around the 1:1 learning environment becoming a reality. Thank you to our instructors for keeping their minds open to working in new and creative ways.

I’m especially delighted that students have also been an important part of these PD opportunities, helping organize events and even train teachers on how to use the iPad and MacBooks. One young man in particular, Tate Bosler, wrote on his blog about how ‘student voice and choice’ is critical to student learning. He writes: “Personalized learning does not mean ‘use iPads for everything.’ It means allow the student to learn the material in whatever way works best for them.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Meanwhile, Technology Services has spent the summer ensuring schools that are getting iPads this year are up to speed with their Wi-Fi capacity, along with working with schools to plan student iPad handout events.

This highly complex, hugely promising project has shown me once again how truly talented and dedicated our staff is. Our focus is very clearly about ensuring all our students have access to dynamic, technology learning tools that can make their learning more engaging and meaningful.

Thank you all for your enthusiasm and continued patience as we forge ahead with leveling the technology playing field for our students.

Your very proud superintendent,

Silva Signature



Valeria S. Silva

P.S.  Galtier looks fabulous! I highly recommend taking the time to visit their new learning studios and common learning spaces. I was there this week, along with Rep. Betty McCollum, for the ribbon-cutting on their transformed building. Personalized learning is coming alive at Galtier!