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Falls Church City Public Schools

At Falls Church Public Schools technology is leveraged for three specific purposes. To enhance teaching and learning by supporting collaboration and teamwork-oriented activities. To prepare students for the modern world. Technology is a tool for equity.

State: Virginia Number of Students: 2,518
School Type: Public School District Free and Reduced Lunch: 8.1%
Grade Level: PK-12 English Language Learners: 7.5%

School Context

Staff Matters: Teacher evaluation and principal engagement in the classroom are prioritized in order to support and improvestaff. The division has a goal of increasing teacher salary to be competitive with Arlington, Alexandria City and Fairfax County by2018.

Modern School Environments: FCCPS is prioritizing renovation and expansion of elementary schools by October 2016 and isplanning to begin construction on the high school by June 2016.

Equitable Access: There is a heavy focus on increasing access to food, books, technology and instruction for students in need.

Small Classes: The division aims to maintain class sizes of less than 23 students in K-2 classrooms and less than 25 students ingrades 3-12 to increase individualized instruction for all students.

Financial Responsibility: FCCPS collaborates with the City Council and Planning Commission to improve the budget planningprocess for the division.


State of Technology

Division Updates: The Falls Church digital journey began in 2011-2012 whenthe division began its focus on technology to support learning. It went fromhaving no wireless in classrooms, to infrastructure upgrades that now equipeach classroom with wireless Internet and ubiquitous devices. All high schooland middle school students have their own MacBook Air, however, studentsin the middle school are not permitted to take their devices home whilestudents at the high school level can. Elementary classrooms have a blendof 1:1 iPads and MacBook Airs so that teachers can use various tools fordifferent types of activities.

Using Tech Intentionally: At Falls Church technology is leveraged forthree specific purposes. First, it is used to enhance teaching and learning bysupporting collaboration and teamwork-oriented activities. It’s not unusualto have four or five students collaborating on a Google Doc in any classroom.Second, technology is leveraged to prepare students for the modern world.Most importantly, technology is a tool for equity. It is very important to thedivision that every student has access to the same type of device and to thesame standard of 21st century instruction.

24/7 Access: The division uses Schoology as its learning managementplatform in order to provide 24/7 access to learning for students in highschool and middle school. Every teacher uses the platform to shareassignments, spur communication with and between students and as acentral hub where materials are collected.

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.

Learning Near and Far: The division attracts families who serve in thestate department and frequently spend parts of their year overseas. To stayconnected, the division offers a hybrid learning center where students cantake fully online courses which are built by classroom teachers in the divisionand facilitated through Schoology. The center is particularly helpful for thosestudents who are abroad with their families because it helps them stayconnected to the classroom in Falls Church, though it is open to all students.In the summer it’s not unusual for up to 40% of the division’s students to betaking classes online in order to free up their schedule during the year.


Tech Needs & Requirements

Technology tools must be compatible with iOS.The division is interested in robust data management solutions. Finding a solution to provide instant feedback is critical.Currently, it uses SchoolNet and Schoology for this purpose. However, finding a way to house all data together in order to look atpatterns over time has been a challenge.


Initiatives

Full STEAM Ahead: The division is creating new makerspaces in the middle school to support students to experiment withentrepreneurship and design thinking. They will expand the program into the high school this fall and expand into computerscience quickly after.

*Content From 2015

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