Milpitas Unified School District

Milpitas Unified School District

For this district, what matters most to educators when it comes to learning is ownership and time.

State: California Number of Students: 10,291
School Type: Public School District Free and Reduced Lunch: 32.0%
Grade Level: K-Adult English Language Learners: 27.7%

School Context

Alignment with the Core: Milpitas aims to provide strong support for teachers in understanding and teaching theCommon Core.

Growth for All: MUSD is focused on supporting English Language Learners, students with special needs and improvingliteracy for all students.

Personalized Learning Approaches: Milpitas is committed to providing varied learning approaches that allow allstudents to master specific concepts or skills at their own pace.

A Culture of Data Analysis: The district places heavy emphasis on data analysis and meaningful feedback in order tosupport teachers in meeting the needs of all students.

State of Technology

Personal Learning Philosophy: What matters most to Milpitas educatorswhen it comes to learning is ownership and time. Teachers and administratorsbelieve that learning happens best when students have ownership of theirown learning and can take as much time as they need to master specificconcepts. Students are encouraged to direct their own learning in class,making decisions about which activities they engage in and who to approachfor support. Teachers serve as learning guides. With the right technology tools,teachers guide student learning in a variety of ways, including one-on-onesupport, small group work and whole class instruction. The district is currentlyimplementing a personalized learning model that allows students to take asmuch or little time as they need to master a specific concept.

Hard-Hat, Hard-Ware: Since 2012, MUSD has distributed over 6,000Chromebooks across the district, thanks to its Measure E bond. This givesmost teachers a ratio of one Chromebook for every two students, with apartial one-to-one ratio at the high school level. In addition, the districtremodeled spaces in all schools across the district, creating flexible learningcenters to support a more personalized learning approach. These spaces havemodular furniture and flexible work spaces for students to collaborate in.

Rapid Redesign: In less than three years, the Milpitas Unified School Districthas become a standout example of transformation in public schools. After athree-month design process in the spring of 2012, Milpitas teachers pitchednew school models to the Superintendent and the teachers’ union. The resultas of spring 2015: all schools have some level of personalized learning, 5,000Chromebooks have been dispersed across the district, and data points arebeing collected on 7,000 students with iReady software.

Personalized Models: While schools continue to iterate their models,personalized learning has caught on in all schools. The elementary schoolsare using some combination of large learning labs for digital curriculumand project-based learning activities, as well as rotating students throughcomputer and non-computer-based activities in class. Middle and high schoolsare starting to adopt personalized learning practices as well. In the comingyears, the district is hoping to find evidence that demonstrates efficacy ofthe personalized learning approach with hopes to use this evidence to makebetter decisions as it adapts and changes its models in the future.

Adjusting the Model: Weller Elementary is a good example of how nimbleMilpitas aims to be as they design new models for learning. The school isequipped with a brand new 130-student learning lab filled with computers.Classrooms are also equipped with a set of Chromebooks. At the beginning of the 2012 school year, students rotated into the lab twice a day in mixed-grade groups for 35-minute sessions on iReady digital curriculum. However, after evaluating the progress, a disconnect was found between classroominstruction and what the kids were learning on the software. As of spring2014, Weller is focused solely on in-class rotations with younger students,and a lab rotation format from 4th-6th grades. Within classrooms, teachersuse a rotational model, splitting the 34 students in sixth grade math intofour groups. I-Ready is incorporated into the rotations at different timesthroughout the day.

i-Ready: Students in blended learning spaces spend about 60 minutes a dayon the tool with 30 minutes for English and 30 minutes for math. In someschools this takes place in large computer labs, and in others it is done througha station-rotation model. Teachers are starting to use data from iReady andother learning software programs to create stronger groupings of students fortheir classrooms, however this has yet to happen consistently across schools.Teachers are working with administrators to create a common planning time tomeet as a team, examine data and identify which students are falling behind.IReady provides teachers with classroom-level data on how students areperforming but teachers find it difficult to look at an individual student profile.Teachers want the ability to disaggregate by filters such as English LanguageLearners and attendance, which the district has focused on in 2015-2016.

Tech Needs & Requirements

Technology tools must be cloud-based, Chromebook compatible, financially sustainable, scalable, have the ability to share and have some dataoutput, simple to use, easy to integrate into the Google ecosystem. The district needs tablets and hiring and talent management tools.


During the 2013-2014 school year, the district started to move away from projectors and instead, began using 65-80” TV’s with a Chromebox and a wireless keyboard/mouse. They used the screens as both a flexible computer andpresentation tool. During the 2014-2015 school year, Milpitas upped the size of the TVs.

*Content From 2016

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