"When you start by creating clear targets and ways to figure out if you’re on the right track, you start making swift and strategic movements."
At the onset of an ambitious $2m 1:1 technology initiative, St. Vrain Valley Schools needed to both provide evidence of impact and maximize teachers’ proficiency with the new tools. Using KickUp, St. Vrain was able to track progress during the year, make real-time changes, and accelerate professional learning by identifying and replicating success across the system.
Serving 33,000 students in the northern Denver metro area, St. Vrain Valley Schools is one of the fastest growing and most innovative school districts in the nation. Supported by cutting-edge technology, a portfolio of 21st-century instructional focus schools and robust cocurricular opportunities, St. Vrain students — and teachers — inquire, explore, and demonstrate their skills in projects from robots to ecology and beyond.
In 2014, St. Vrain launched a new Learning Technology Plan (LTP), investing 2.2M annually to implement 1:1 technology with all middle and high school students, and classroom sets in all elementary grades. Determined to build for success and avoid “bright shiny object” syndrome, the district created a readiness plan that included rich professional development support for teachers to acclimate and excel in the new model. With a large investment in teacher time, money, and resources, St. Vrain needed a way to clearly and accurately monitor the implementation, make swift critical adjustments as needed, and accelerate professional learning by identifying and replicating success across the system.
After extensive educator and community input, St. Vrain built a framework of “Essential Six” priorities. The next task was translating the overarching outcomes into a logic model with annual and quarterly milestones aligned to quantifiable indicators of success. KickUp analysts built out custom survey instruments for progressive, population-level insights into educators’ comfort and proficiency with the new tools. Every question and rubric item was carefully calibrated to align with the LTP’s goal of making sure that “students and teachers have the tools they need to investigate, communicate, collaborate, create, model, and explore concepts and content in authentic contexts.”
During the program pilot, St. Vrain teachers completed a needs assessment against the Essential Six rubric. The planning team then used this data to plan and deliver district-wide PD and individual coaching that directed support where it was needed most, with regular checkups to evaluate learning growth.
Four years later, this consistency has yielded an incredibly rich set of longitudinal data. Instructional coaches use the results to communicate with principals about aligning school-based supports with teachers’ needs, while district staff uses feedback data to track, triangulate and target PD initiatives on a rolling basis. The data itself has also become an asset: the district has been awarded over $20 million in grants for a variety of technology programs, and its list of private partnerships includes STEM industry giants like Lockheed Martin, Apple, and IBM.
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