DC Area Schools Making a Difference

By Marisa Kaplan     Jul 2, 2015

DC Area Schools Making a Difference

Ah, that "City of Magnificent Intentions," as Charles Dickens so aptly called it. Teachers have so much more than shining intentions--they have the gift of helping students grow. We are excited to be heading to Washignton, DC on July 12 and 13 for our next EdSurge Tech for Schools Summits. 

The public school districts surrounding Washington, DC are engaged in some fascinating programs for students and teachers. We pulled together profiles of leading area districts in preparation for our confab. Below are snippets of some of the efforts goings on in nine of districts around Washington, DC. Join us at the EdSurge Tech for Schools Summit coming up, July 12 and 13, in Washington, DC to meet the educators and entrepreneurs making a difference for students. 

Alexandria City Public Schools

Alexandria, VA; 14,228 students 

Student Internship with Technology Services: High school students canapply to be summer interns with the technology services team at ACPS. In athree-week paid internship, students receive $750 for their work and havethe opportunity to experience the daily tasks of the technology departmentsuch as entering data, installing software and maintaining tablets. There are“lunch and learns” with staff as well as with outside individuals, like an Amplifyspecialist and an employee at an IT consulting firm.

Arlington Public Schools

Arlington, VA; 24,529 students

Evaluating Technology: APS uses a set of Evaluation Standards forInstructional Media that helps the team ensure that the right tools are beingselected. These standards are largely based on student need and take intoaccount multiple teaching and learning styles. For example, the instructionalmedia must “chunk content into manageable segments while providingstudents with opportunities to rehearse the information held in workingmemory in such a way that it becomes encoded in long-term memory,” or“there are little or no distractions present.”

Baltimore City Public Schools

Baltimore, MD; 84,730 students)

Rocking RTT: With a $52.7 million Race To The Top grant, won in 2010, thedistrict has supported professional development and transforming low-performingschools. It also focused on developing CCSS aligned curriculumand assessments, boosting the rigor of instruction. Funding was alsoused to build out the technology infrastructure including linking data withinstructional tools to help teachers to use data in meaningful ways.

Baltimore County Public Schools

Towson, MD; 109,984 students 

Shining Lighthouse: Thanks to the Maryland Digital Innovation Fund, BCPShas been able to start a pilot group of elementary schools working on refiningpersonalized and blended learning strategies. These schools are dubbed“Lighthouse Schools.” The focus of the pilots are to create various typesof learner-centered environments where students have choices aroundwhat and how they learn. These ten elementary schools will work todevelop strategies on their own and in collaboration with each other thatwill eventually be shared out with the greater BCPS community. To sharethe work they are doing, the teachers and students involved in the pilotsshare reflections and resources on the Lighthouse School blog. The districtis also working to organize visits between Lighthouse Schools and with over100 other elementary schools in the district to begin spreading innovation.Currently, these schools have a 1:1 computer to student ratio in grades 1-3,and will be expanding that next year to grades 4-5. Popular tools used in theLighthouse Network include Wixie, Discovery Education Streaming, ReadingWonders, BrainPop and PebbleGo. The district will expand the LighthouseNetwork to an additional six middle schools in the 2015-16 school year.

District of Columbia Public Schools

Washington, DC; 47,548 students

A Shift Towards Personalized Learning: In 2013, the Education InnovationFellowship Program was launched by CityBridge Foundation and NewSchoolsVenture Fund. The program gives innovative teachers an opportunity to pilottools that support personalized learning in their D.C. classrooms. Teachersparticipating in the fellowship get to visit other schools to see how toolsare being implemented to support personalized learning models in variouslearning environments. Around the same time, Next Generation LearningChallenges (NGLC) asked CityBridge to launch a regional competition called“Breakthrough Schools: D.C.” They used this competition to distribute upto $6 million to support the redesign or launch of schools with personalizedlearning models in the district. In 2014, CityBridge announced its first cohortof grantees, each of which received an initial planning grant of $100,000.

Fairfax County Public Schools

Fairfax, VA; 186,785 students

BYOD Initiative: In 2011, the Superintendent of Fairfax County PublicSchools launched a BYOD initiative, inviting all principals to encouragestudents to bring personally-owned devices to school to support learning. TheSuperintendent recommended that principals begin with laptops and tablets,and to decide about smartphones at a later phase. The BYOD initiative is stillgoing strong throughout the division and now students are encouraged tobring their mobile devices, eReaders and laptops alike. For students who can’tafford devices, the district has a check-out program so they can have accessto a device.

Falls Church City Public Schools

Falls Church, VA; 2,459 students

PD Gets Prioritized: FCCPS believes that “professional development is thesingle most important aspect of creating a transformational student learningenvironment.” The division takes a differentiated approach to PD, providinga range of opportunities for learning including online learning communitiesfacilitated on Schoology. Staff must meet a minimum requirement of 20hours of technology training and must maintain a portfolio showcasing theirtechnology proficiency. There are digital learning teams and pilot teams ateach school that are focused on leading the staff at their sites in technologyintegration. PD opportunities include 24/7 On-Demand digital seminars,workshop sessions, individualized technology coaching sessions and more.

Loudoun County Public Schools

Ashburn, VA; 73,974 students

BYOT Initiative: In 2015, LCPS launched a Bring-Your-Own-Technology(BYOT) initiative, allowing students to bring their own devices to school tosupport their learning. The technology is used to collaborate with peers andteachers, to engage in research and problem-based learning and to publishtheir work. This initiative acts as a support to the division’s One to the Worldinitiative. Though the initiative will ultimately be division-wide, the initiallaunch began in 19 schools. LCPS will expand the program to all schoolsduring the 2015-2016 school year.

Prince George's County Public Schools

Upper Marlboro, MD; 125,136 students

Career Academies: Thanks to a generous grant from Youth CareerConnect,the district has support to develop its career academies at three high schools:Bladensburg High, Fairmont Heights High and Potomac High School. Theseschools will develop career-oriented curricula and integrate hands on learningexperiences into the classroom. These programs fall in line with an existingprogram, started by Chief Information Officer, Welsley Watts Jr. The program,called IT High School, allows high school students to earn IT skills certificatesso they can leave school prepared for both college and career.

DC Area Schools Making a Difference

By Marisa Kaplan     Jul 2, 2015

DC Area Schools Making a Difference

Ah, that "City of Magnificent Intentions," as Charles Dickens so aptly called it. Teachers have so much more than shining intentions--they have the gift of helping students grow. We are excited to be heading to Washignton, DC on July 12 and 13 for our next EdSurge Tech for Schools Summits. 

The public school districts surrounding Washington, DC are engaged in some fascinating programs for students and teachers. We pulled together profiles of leading area districts in preparation for our confab. Below are snippets of some of the efforts goings on in nine of districts around Washington, DC. Join us at the EdSurge Tech for Schools Summit coming up, July 12 and 13, in Washington, DC to meet the educators and entrepreneurs making a difference for students. 

Alexandria City Public Schools

Alexandria, VA; 14,228 students 

Student Internship with Technology Services: High school students canapply to be summer interns with the technology services team at ACPS. In athree-week paid internship, students receive $750 for their work and havethe opportunity to experience the daily tasks of the technology departmentsuch as entering data, installing software and maintaining tablets. There are“lunch and learns” with staff as well as with outside individuals, like an Amplifyspecialist and an employee at an IT consulting firm.

Arlington Public Schools

Arlington, VA; 24,529 students

Evaluating Technology: APS uses a set of Evaluation Standards forInstructional Media that helps the team ensure that the right tools are beingselected. These standards are largely based on student need and take intoaccount multiple teaching and learning styles. For example, the instructionalmedia must “chunk content into manageable segments while providingstudents with opportunities to rehearse the information held in workingmemory in such a way that it becomes encoded in long-term memory,” or“there are little or no distractions present.”

Baltimore City Public Schools

Baltimore, MD; 84,730 students)

Rocking RTT: With a $52.7 million Race To The Top grant, won in 2010, thedistrict has supported professional development and transforming low-performingschools. It also focused on developing CCSS aligned curriculumand assessments, boosting the rigor of instruction. Funding was alsoused to build out the technology infrastructure including linking data withinstructional tools to help teachers to use data in meaningful ways.

Baltimore County Public Schools

Towson, MD; 109,984 students 

Shining Lighthouse: Thanks to the Maryland Digital Innovation Fund, BCPShas been able to start a pilot group of elementary schools working on refiningpersonalized and blended learning strategies. These schools are dubbed“Lighthouse Schools.” The focus of the pilots are to create various typesof learner-centered environments where students have choices aroundwhat and how they learn. These ten elementary schools will work todevelop strategies on their own and in collaboration with each other thatwill eventually be shared out with the greater BCPS community. To sharethe work they are doing, the teachers and students involved in the pilotsshare reflections and resources on the Lighthouse School blog. The districtis also working to organize visits between Lighthouse Schools and with over100 other elementary schools in the district to begin spreading innovation.Currently, these schools have a 1:1 computer to student ratio in grades 1-3,and will be expanding that next year to grades 4-5. Popular tools used in theLighthouse Network include Wixie, Discovery Education Streaming, ReadingWonders, BrainPop and PebbleGo. The district will expand the LighthouseNetwork to an additional six middle schools in the 2015-16 school year.

District of Columbia Public Schools

Washington, DC; 47,548 students

A Shift Towards Personalized Learning: In 2013, the Education InnovationFellowship Program was launched by CityBridge Foundation and NewSchoolsVenture Fund. The program gives innovative teachers an opportunity to pilottools that support personalized learning in their D.C. classrooms. Teachersparticipating in the fellowship get to visit other schools to see how toolsare being implemented to support personalized learning models in variouslearning environments. Around the same time, Next Generation LearningChallenges (NGLC) asked CityBridge to launch a regional competition called“Breakthrough Schools: D.C.” They used this competition to distribute upto $6 million to support the redesign or launch of schools with personalizedlearning models in the district. In 2014, CityBridge announced its first cohortof grantees, each of which received an initial planning grant of $100,000.

Fairfax County Public Schools

Fairfax, VA; 186,785 students

BYOD Initiative: In 2011, the Superintendent of Fairfax County PublicSchools launched a BYOD initiative, inviting all principals to encouragestudents to bring personally-owned devices to school to support learning. TheSuperintendent recommended that principals begin with laptops and tablets,and to decide about smartphones at a later phase. The BYOD initiative is stillgoing strong throughout the division and now students are encouraged tobring their mobile devices, eReaders and laptops alike. For students who can’tafford devices, the district has a check-out program so they can have accessto a device.

Falls Church City Public Schools

Falls Church, VA; 2,459 students

PD Gets Prioritized: FCCPS believes that “professional development is thesingle most important aspect of creating a transformational student learningenvironment.” The division takes a differentiated approach to PD, providinga range of opportunities for learning including online learning communitiesfacilitated on Schoology. Staff must meet a minimum requirement of 20hours of technology training and must maintain a portfolio showcasing theirtechnology proficiency. There are digital learning teams and pilot teams ateach school that are focused on leading the staff at their sites in technologyintegration. PD opportunities include 24/7 On-Demand digital seminars,workshop sessions, individualized technology coaching sessions and more.

Loudoun County Public Schools

Ashburn, VA; 73,974 students

BYOT Initiative: In 2015, LCPS launched a Bring-Your-Own-Technology(BYOT) initiative, allowing students to bring their own devices to school tosupport their learning. The technology is used to collaborate with peers andteachers, to engage in research and problem-based learning and to publishtheir work. This initiative acts as a support to the division’s One to the Worldinitiative. Though the initiative will ultimately be division-wide, the initiallaunch began in 19 schools. LCPS will expand the program to all schoolsduring the 2015-2016 school year.

Prince George's County Public Schools

Upper Marlboro, MD; 125,136 students

Career Academies: Thanks to a generous grant from Youth CareerConnect,the district has support to develop its career academies at three high schools:Bladensburg High, Fairmont Heights High and Potomac High School. Theseschools will develop career-oriented curricula and integrate hands on learningexperiences into the classroom. These programs fall in line with an existingprogram, started by Chief Information Officer, Welsley Watts Jr. The program,called IT High School, allows high school students to earn IT skills certificatesso they can leave school prepared for both college and career.

Next In

Next in

STAY UP TO DATE ON EDTECH
News, research, and opportunities - sent weekly.
STAY UP TO DATE ON EDTECH
News, research, and opportunities - sent weekly.