Valley Stream Union Free School District 13, Valley Stream, New York
District State: New York
District Website: valleystream13.com
After a yearlong pilot program, Valley Stream Union Free School District 13 purchased Chromebooks as part of a 1-to-1 initiative for students in grades 3 through 6. A local BOCES provided some Model Schools training, which was primarily focused on network management. At the same time, district leaders overhauled PD to improve instruction and better utilize resources such as personnel and the expanding number of devices.
The district’s new hybrid approach to PD combines half-day, small-group coursework with individual appointments in the classroom. Model Schools PD days are divided into three-hour sessions to keep the amount of information shared manageable, and are more focused on edtech implementation. Teachers attend courses with their colleagues, then make one-on-one appointments with the district’s technology coach or Model Schools’ trainer for additional specialized instruction.
Beginner PD courses are available throughout the year, allowing teachers to begin whenever they want. Courses are capped at 12 participants, which maximizes time with out-of-district trainers. Courses are also offered mornings or afternoons as a convenience for teachers. Last school year, there were nearly 40 small-group courses with more than 50 one-on-one appointments, serving 200 teachers.
Since implementing the new approach, teachers are using technology more effectively. For example, students now create videos as part of the assessment process—they record and submit answers, and evaluate the responses of classmates.
“Some of our teachers have made the most of the opportunity, attending all levels of courses offered and scheduling follow-up appointments, while others chose a class or two,” says Andrea DiMango, director of technology. “All reported a plan to continue their efforts next school year.”