Driving Teacher Buy-In: Q&A with Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD

Earlier this year, we shared a blog post on how Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD in Texas had created and effectively implemented an Instructional Technology Implementation Plan to maximize technology integration and teacher support—a piece which involved incentive programs to encourage teacher participation by offering the opportunity to attend a regional or state education conference.

Recently, we followed up with Daniel Saenz, Information Technology Director for the district, to see how the program worked out, as well as how it could be replicated at other schools.

Atomic: Why did you decide to implement an incentive for Atomic Learning?
Saenz: Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD decided to Purchase Atomic Learning as a means of providing Technology Professional Development to our employees.  Since we have a relatively small training staff in the Technology Department, we figured it would be ideal to supplement our efforts.  However, we were not satisfied with the level of usage by our employees.  Therefore, we decided to implement an incentive program to promote the Atomic Learning usage. 

Atomic: What was the focus of the program?
Saenz: The main goal of our incentive program with regards to Atomic Learning was to increase the usage of the Atomic Learning system.  We wanted to get our teachers and staff more tech literate.  We also wanted them to use technology to facilitate teaching and learning as well as streamline the daily routines at our district.

Atomic: What did you learn from the process/program along the way?
Saenz: It was amazing to see that a little incentive made a huge difference in the usage of the program.  We also noticed an increase in the use of technology in the classrooms as well as staff working more efficiently.

Atomic: What would you want others to know?
Saenz: Atomic Learning is truly a viable way to supplement our training efforts at the district.  It gives teachers and staff the flexibility of learning about technology in a self-paced environment and allows them to participate in more technology training than they normally would have been able to attend.

Atomic: What’s been the greatest reward or challenge pre, during, or post the incentive program?
Saenz: Getting the word out about the incentive program and getting teachers and staff to make that initial log in was the greatest challenge.  Once they did their first session they saw how easy it was and did more sessions.

Atomic: Do you have plans to keep the program going?
Saenz: Definitely!  The outcomes of our incentive program were quite impressive.  Therefore, we will continue with our program and maybe even scale it up.

Interested in trying a similar program at your school or looking for additional integration and implementation ideas? Connect with Jessi Schultz, Integration Specialist at Atomic Learning, by emailing jschultz@AtomicLearning.com or calling 866.259.6890 ext 220.


Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD is based in Pharr, Texas in the Rio Grande Valley, and has a student body of over 32,000. The district is leading the region, state and nation in the percent of students graduating from High School with a completion rate of nearly 97 percent, and maintains a strong focus on college-readiness. Learn more at www.psjaisd.us.

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