RELEASE: Fontana Unified School District leverages new technology to improve the effectiveness of online classes

Southern California district joins a nationwide group of districts using an innovative progress monitoring system.

As online classes become the reality for some or all of the 2020-21 school year, K-12 school districts are facing the need to rapidly improve online teaching skills to avoid recreating the rushed implementation in the spring.

Online teaching, for all its downsides, lowers the barriers for regular feedback—giving teachers and districts the ability to better track and monitor instructional progress. It was this insight that led Fontana to Quality Matters, the Virtual Learning Alliance (VLLA), and KickUp.

Using the National Standards for Quality Online Learning (a set of frameworks updated with support from the online learning community and maintained by Quality Matters and the VLLA) KickUp created a set of practical look-fors to give instructional leaders tools to audit online courses and classrooms. This included topics like developing rigorous classroom materials, assessment, and feedback and facilitating collaboration.”

In KickUp, districts collect information against the look-fors using protocols like virtual classroom “walkthroughs” and monthly educator check-ins to monitor online teaching. Principals, coaches, and administrators can review and analyze the data as it comes in, using it to align professional support and track progress in instructional growth.

“Before COVID, a principal only could be in one place at one time, making it hard to provide quality feedback to teachers,” said Rogoff. “As instruction moves online, the process of doing an online ‘walkthrough’ via live or recorded sessions—and giving quick, actionable feedback—becomes that much more possible.”

“Moving teaching online is yet another initiative where we can take advantage of the continuous improvement cycle,” said Thomas. “These tools allow us to close feedback loops between the classroom and the district, and provide higher quality support to our educators.”

School district leaders interested in monitoring and improving their online instruction can attend the upcoming November 17th event K-12 Catalyst: The Future of Professional Growth.

About KickUp

KickUp provides a system for school districts to manage the nitty gritty of professional growth while leveraging data towards improving schools and educators. Specifically, we offer two complementary modules: Professional Learning, for capturing support activities like coaching and managing PD events; and Professional Growth, which leverages walkthroughs, surveys, and performance evaluation to monitor progress towards district and teacher growth goals. Ultimately, KickUp enables school districts to use data to improve with confidence.

About the National Standards for Quality Online Learning

The National Standards for Quality Online Learning is an ongoing project to continuously revise the National Standards for Quality Online Courses, Programs and Teaching led by a partnership between Quality Matters and the Virtual Learning Leadership Alliance with widespread community support. More information here.

About Progress Monitoring for Online Teaching

Synthesized from the latest research on online learning, Progress Monitoring for Online Teaching breaks down the Standards into an aligned set of data collection tools: recurring educator check-in’s to gauge staff needs, a virtual classroom walkthrough, a coaching log to capture support activities, and a means by which to capture professional development feedback. More information here.

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