From the Wires
Sunnyside Teachers to Use Latest High-Tech Tool to Spot, Intervene in Learning Problems
New Instructional Improvement System Is Next Big Step in Sunnyside's One-to-One Learning Initiative
By: Marketwired .
Feb. 7, 2013 04:45 PM
TUCSON, AZ -- (Marketwire) -- 02/07/13 -- The Sunnyside Unified School District, already one of the leading school districts in America in converting to one-to-one digital learning for students, now will give teachers real-time data to provide immediate interventions to students with academic issues under a new partnership with the world's leading education company.
Sunnyside Superintendent Manuel L. Isquierdo announced that the Sunnyside District Governing Board approved a ground-breaking proposal to partner with the Pearson education company to give Sunnyside teachers up-to-the-minute information on student performance as part of the district's One-to-One Computing initiative, which is putting digital learning devices into the hands of all students in grades four through 12. The new partnership with Pearson will continue Sunnyside's work to overhaul the traditional classroom to use interactive, digital technology to help students learn more effectively.
The school board unanimously approved Dr. Isquierdo's proposal to use Pearson's Schoolnet management system and PowerSchool student information system to give teachers the fastest information available about how students are performing in class and to help them provide individualized learning for every student.
"This is a game changer," Dr. Isquierdo said of the school board's decision. "We already are putting digital devices into the hands of our students and using those devices in the classroom to help our students learn. Now, the next big step in this process is to know how every single student is learning, and where their strengths and weaknesses are. Thanks to this partnership with Pearson, for the first time we will be able to very carefully track the academic achievement of every student, and we will intervene aggressively with extra academic help for every student who needs it. Sunnyside already is one of the national leaders in digital learning. This move will help our outstanding teachers take learning in our classrooms to the next level."
Sunnyside teachers will be trained on the new systems and using the real-time data to help students beginning in 2013, and the new high-powered student information and data systems will be operational in Sunnyside beginning July of 2013.
"This will help guide our teaching in every classroom," Dr. Isquierdo said. "This new partnership with Pearson will help us to know every area in which a student is succeeding, every area where a student needs extra help, and will help the teachers to provide that support. This also will help us to communicate very effectively with parents about how their children are doing and how exactly they can help. We have great parents who want to be involved and help their children make progress. This partnership will help us provide that path for parents."
Pearson's 1:1 Learning programs apply a research-based 1:1 Learning Framework to help districts successfully implement and run mobile learning programs. Pearson 1:1 Learning will provide the Sunnyside District with training to help teachers and staff with the shift to the new learning management system. Pearson will help with the implementation of the program, including planning and management of the student achievement and assessment systems.
Pearson 1:1 Learning works closely with school districts making the transition to digital learning with instructional programs on digital devices. The Pearson assessment tools help teachers determine in real-time each student's level of performance, identify academic strengths and weaknesses, and intervene to help the student immediately.
Sunnyside launched its groundbreaking digital learning initiative three years ago; voters supported technology improvements with the passage of a bond in 2011 to provide $30 million for technology. About 86 percent of Sunnyside students live at or near the poverty line, and 94 percent are minorities.
Dr. Isquierdo said Sunnyside has made the bold move to digital learning, in part, because so many of the district's students did not have access to the latest technology and interactive learning resources.
"Our vision has been to bridge the digital divide, to provide access to the computer hardware and software, the digital curriculum and the learning opportunities of the 21st century to our students who didn't have these things," Dr. Isquierdo said. "Our great school board believes in that vision, and our community has stood strong with us and voted to support this all-out effort to give our students the kind of education they deserve."
Superintendent Isquierdo said the school district is excited about where the partnership with Pearson will take Sunnyside's digital learning initiative.
"We have admired Pearson's leadership in this area and thought it was important to leverage Pearson's expertise to move our One-to-One initiative to the next level. With Pearson's integrated data systems, we're confident we'll be able to customize learning and instruction like never before possible," Superintendent Isquierdo said. "Having PowerSchool and Schoolnet combined is tremendously powerful.
"We will have a better student information system to serve as our foundation, and will have a much more customizable system to give teachers real-time data about student performance. We are committed to high-quality instruction, and this is a huge step for us in that direction. Our community has never seen this kind of amazing personalized learning for their children, and they will see the tremendous improvement in communication with parents about the needs of our students."
Scott Drossos, head of Pearson's 1:1 Learning, praised the Sunnyside leadership's focus on improving student achievement.
"Dr. Isquierdo and the Sunnyside District are among the leaders of the nation in using digital resources to help greatly improve learning and opportunities for students," Drossos said. "We look forward to helping accelerate learning and assisting with SUSD's One-to-One Computing initiative in the months and years ahead."
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