Bellingham Public Schools Technology and 1:1 Update

A Message from Educational Technology

 

Happy Spring! With the support of our community in passing our 2017 Technology Levy, we’re preparing our staff and students to teach and learn with digital resources in exciting and innovative ways.

Focusing on enhancing all outcomes of The Bellingham Promise, our Educational Technology team is working to prepare our systems, staff, students and families for a new way of learning and teaching, enhanced and reimagined using these new resources. From great opportunities for our parents and students, to planning for our new 1:1 program, there is a lot of exciting news to share!

 

One to One Update: Preparing Our Instructional Staff

Our first 1:1 schools (Kulshan Middle School and Squalicum and Options high schools) are well into their preparations for student 1:1 programs. Students at these three schools will receive their 1:1 device in August of 2017. In keeping with the recommendations from our Student Technology Think Tank, we’re investing in preparation and professional development for our staff and schools as part of our 1:1 initiative. Leading this work is Dr. Bill Palmer from our Department of Teaching and Learning (DTL), who has partnered with our principals to establish Technology Learning Teams (TLT’s) at Kulshan, Squalicum and Options.

TLT’s are composed of students, teachers, counselors and administrators, as well as key staff from our DTL and Ed Tech teams. Their purpose is to develop structures needed at their schools to support this new program, as well as identify related professional learning, refine processes, routines and protocols to support implementation of 1:1 devices. Each school also has an Educational Technology Coach on their ‘TLT’ to assist with shifts in teaching and learning techniques. Thus far, our TLT groups have been identifying school needs, planning professional development, testing devices and planning for close family and community partnerships. Based on research and input from students and staff, the TLT’s have selected a 2-in-1 device (laptop convertible to tablet) as the 1:1 device, which have been distributed to the teachers at Squalicum, Options, and Kulshan, and will be received by students this Autumn!

 

One-to-One Timeline and First Elementary Schools to go 1:1

We get our levy dollars in phases, throughout the life of the four-year levy, which is why we are implementing the 1:1 model in stages (and not all at once). Staging will also help apply our experience and learning as we expand to more schools over the next three years. If you’re wondering when  your school is going 1:1, you can see our website here for details about our timeline, or look for our new Technology Levy posters in your schools’ offices and libraries.

Our 1:1 model includes grades 3-5, and Carl Cozier and Roosevelt will be our first elementary schools to receive this new instructional resource. Cozier and Roosevelt teachers will receive devices next school year (2017-18), at the same time staff at all remaining middle and high schools get theirs for a year of preparation. This ‘Staff Learning Year’ provides ample time for teacher professional development, training and communication with families. Students will receive devices to support their learning during the following school year.

By 2020-21, all students in grades 3-12 will be learning with a device in the 1:1 model.

 

Online Safety

Thanks to those of you who joined us for the “White Hatter” internet safety presentations in February. Darren Laur, a retired staff sergeant from the Victoria City Police Department, presented at all Bellingham middle schools, and other schools around Whatcom County. Mr. Laur also shared information with parents about social media and internet safety at an evening event, hosted at Bellingham High School.

In an increasingly digital world, it’s important for our students to be healthy, active individuals.  Maintaining a healthy balance and open communication with students about online resources and media use is more important than ever. We are building a list of technology resources for families, including links to Common Sense Media and Healthychildren.org, which includes a media time family pledge. From Family Media Agreements to the #DeviceFreeDinner, these sites have great suggestions and resources to kick off family conversations about balance and healthy choices in use of digital technologies.