Farwest 1506964106

San Carlos School District

The district aims to provide engaging instruction by using project based learning as a foundation, enriched with blended learning, STEM opportunities and experiences that build critical thinking skills.

State: California Number of Students: 3,524
School Type: Public School District Free and Reduced Lunch: 5.0%
Grade Level: PK-8 English Language Learners: 8.5%

School Context

The Whole Child: SCSD believes in focusing on the “whole child,” providing non-traditional learning opportunities ontopics such as music, art, theatre, sustainability, wellness, community involvement, collaboration skills and more.

Engaging Instruction: The district aims to provide engaging instruction by using project based learning as a foundation,enriched with blended learning, STEM opportunities and experiences that build critical thinking skills. SCSD offerselectives that allow students to take ownership over their learning.

Support for Staff: The district believes in supporting professional learning for all educators. To do this, the districtprovides professional development opportunities for teachers, provides time for collaboration and has social forumsand PLCs to facilitate sharing and collaboration. Teachers also have the opportunity to participate in part of a DistrictDesign Team to help redesign what learning looks like. The district also aims to develop a new evaluation system forstaff that focuses on progress through mentoring.

Inspired Learning Spaces: SCSD aims to be at the cutting edge of inspiring learning environments. The district hasplans to build two new schools, with a focus on flexible learning environments. It also ensures that all spaces areoutfitted with enough technology to support 1:1 technology for students.


State of Technology

Infrastructure and Resources: Elementary and middle school classrooms inSCSD have a mix of desktop computers, laptops and tablets for students.Over the past three school years the district has been transitioning to mobiledevices in classrooms. As of spring 2016, the district is approaching a ratioof 1:1 Chromebooks to students in grades 3-8. SCSD also has iPads in gradesK-2, however excitement around the use of Chromebooks in K-2 has sparked.

The 5 C’s: The district is focused on providing a 21st century educationfor students, including the 5Cs: Critical Thinking & Problem Solving,Communication, Collaboration, Citizenship and Creativity & Innovation. The5Cs often are expressed through project-based learning in the classroomsand supported by integrating technology as a central component of studentlearning. San Carlos partners with EdLeader21, a network or professionallearning community for 21st century education leaders. As a partner, thedistrict participates in annual conferences and working groups around issuesthat are important to them, specifically in regards to personalized learningand project based learning.

What is Personalized Learning: The district has been involved in anumber of initiatives around personalized learning over the past few years.Though some of the grants they have received (such as the grant fromSan Mateo County iZone) have come to an end, district leaders are stillvery interested in researching how best to identify, adopt and implementonline personalized learning platforms to support student growth. SCSD’sstrategic plan was based around project-based learning, and now thedistrict is interested in finding out what kind of online personalized learningenvironments exist that can compliment PBL. SCSD still works very closelywith San Mateo County Office of Education to investigate these bigquestions.

Google Adoption: In 2012, Central and Tierra Linda middle schoolsparticipated in a pilot program, sharing a set of 34 Chromebooks amongstEnglish and Science classes. During the 2012-2013 school year, the districtestablished a Google Education Domain and Google donated the initialset of Chromebooks to the district. Today Chromebooks are the primarycomputing device for grades three through eight and the district isapproaching 1:1 Chromebook access for these grades. SCSD has alsoadopted Google Classroom as its LMS and it has changed teaching andlearning tremendously. According to Tom Keating, the district’s Director of21st Century Learning and Educational Technology, students and teachersrequire these devices because so much of their work is rooted in GoogleClassroom. For example, one eighth grade ELA teacher conducts allstudent work through Google Classroom, having students peer edit shareddocuments with an emphasis on shared writing, editing and submissionto different collaborative publishing outlets. This teacher is now givingworkshops to peers in the district.

Planning Ahead: The district has been engaged in various technologypilots in an effort to explore and settle on models that work including 1:1computing and blended learning, educational gaming, engineering designand personalized learning. As of spring 2016, San Carlos is shifting towardsmakerspaces, investigating how computer labs and maker spaces worktogether. The district recently partnered with TechShop, a maker communitythat is helping San Carlos plan and build makerspaces in its schools.TechShop has experience with designing spaces, figuring out cost and whatmaterials to purchase. The partnership is a two-way street because SanCarlos is providing TechShop with intel around school curriculum so that theorganization can learn about how to work with schools.


Tech Needs & Requirements

Technology tools must be able to work with PowerSchool to communicatestudent lists and cloud-based, Chrome, Mac OS, Windows and/oriPad compatible. The district needs digital assessment tools, data dashboard tools, student creation tools, platform to create and store longitudinal student portfolios, repository for displaying and searching teacher projects and project based learning units.

*Content From 2016

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