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Kent Public Schools

The district uses devices for cooperative and project-based learning and curriculum that requires students to be self-directed.

State: Washington Number of Students: 27,746
School Type: Public School District   Free and Reduced Lunch: 48.8%
Grade Level: PK-12 English Language Learners: 19.3% 

School Context

Funding: Kent Public Schools received $40 million from the federal Race to the Top grant in 2012 to be divided among a consortium of districts in the south Seattle area to improve education in high-need schools and communities. Kent plans to focus on project-based learning opportunities for science curriculum and personalized learning through adaptive math tools like ST Math. In addition, the district received $20 million from a local tax (“Tech Levy”) in 2010 to improve district-wide technology. The money was used to update infrastructure and purchase all of the laptops used in the 1:1 computing initiative. The funding was approved for four years through 2014. Kent also received $8 million from local tax (“Replacement Technology Levy”) passed in February 2014. The levy will pay for replacing devices, district-wide platforms and increasing safety on devices. They also plan to expand its 1:1 initiative into all elementary schools.

Student Achievement: Kent aims to prepare students for success in college and in their careers.

Communication: Kent will increase communication by providing relevant information and including multilingual support.

Maximize Resources: Kent’s goal is to use its resources efficiently and effectively while being transparent and acting responsibly.

Culture: Kent is focused on creating a safe and welcoming environment where people and nature are treated with respect.

Shared Responsibility: Kent’s goal is for all faculty, staff, parents and students to share responsibility and accountability for achieving the district’s goals.

Talent: Kent’s goal is to recruit an effective and diverse staff.

Partnerships: Kent is focused on developing strategic relationships with families, community members and business partners.


State of Technology

Tech History: Kent is no stranger to technology. The district began its one-to-one program in 2006 with its eighth graders. By 2013 over 12,000 laptop computers were distributed to students. Currently there is a 3:1 student to device ratio in grades K-6 and a 1:1 ratio in grades 7-12; most devices are HP Windows laptops. The district uses devices for cooperative and project-based learning and curriculum that requires students to be self-directed. It empowers teachers to be creative and flexible.

Curriculum Blend: Using Moodle, the district created a content management system where teachers can access purchased curriculum, open education resources (OER) and teacher-created content. Teachers can use the platform to share content and create lessons.

iGrad: In 2010 Kent developed iGrad, a blended learning, alternative education program for secondary students at risk of dropping out. Students ages 16-21 enroll in individual online courses and complete them at their own pace. Students are required to attend weekly sessions at school, which is located in a shopping mall. Through a partnership with a local community college, students can also receive college credits.

Digital Divide: In 2003, Kent initiated a Student Technology, Access, and Resources program, focused on getting technology and 21st century resources into the homes of families that need them. Every year the district distributes its older computers to families that qualify for the program. Over 5,000 refurbished computers have been distributed and each one includes a free Microsoft Digital Literacy suite. In addition, the STAR program has helped set up free public Internet hotspots around the community that provide access for devices within 150 feet.

Tech Expo: For eight years, Kent has hosted an annual student-centered technology show-and-tell called Tech Expo. Students and teachers demonstrate a variety of technology-enhanced projects at booths while participants including state representatives, community members, vendors and members of the media browse the aisles and stop and ask questions. In 2014 Kent’s Tech Expo had 5,000 attendees and showcased over 630 examples of student and teacher work; 28 businesses participated and Boeing and Comcast were major corporate sponsors.

Tech Talks: Kent provides a variety of PD for all district initiatives including technology. Teachers can go to Kent’s online PD portal and sign up for sessions on topics such as integrating technology (e.g. i-Ready assessments), and using software (e.g. the new features of Windows 8.1). Sessions are often conducted online using Microsoft Lync and teachers can receive Continued Education Credits for participating.


Tech Needs & Requirements

Data must be uploadable to SFTP. Software must be web-based or Windows compatible. Kent needs elementary level tools; elementary level devices that are easy to manage, i5 processors, touchscreen and durable; and an online registration and management system for professional development.


Initiatives

1:1: Kent currently has about a 3:1 student to computer ratio in its elementary schools. Over the next two years the district is striving to achieve a 1:1 ratio.

Kiosks: Kent is planning to create and distribute KSD kiosks throughout their community. These wifi hotspots will be placed in public locations like storefronts and grocery stores, providing free Internet access. In addition, parents will be able to log in to the district’s website from the kiosk and see a variety of district news and events. They will also be able to see data like their child’s attendance and grades. This initiative is part of the district’s STAR Program.

*Content from 2014

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