When Daniel Saenz, the Information Technology Director at Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD stepped back to reflect on where the district was at for technology Integration and teacher support, he came to the realization that they weren’t doing as much as they could.
One of the major steps they took to execute change was the creation of the 2015-2016 Instructional Technology Implementation Plan. The plan took their intentions and put it into action, outlining three levels of proficiency needed to accomplish the instructional technology goals for the district:
- Basic tech literacy
- Tech integration/using technology to facilitate teaching and learning
- Student centered learning, flipped instructio,n and demonstration of mastery of learning via tech
To support this plan, the district increased the number of full-time Tech Integrationists, and named a Campus Instructional Technologist to be the lead at each campus. Students are leading part of this too, with a technology club established at elementary with the goal of students teaching teachers and peers.
Additionally, Daniel and his team work closely with the integration team at Atomic Learning to align resources to curriculum and instruction, as the Instructional Technology Implementation Plan requires teachers to complete eight hours of technology-focused professional development per year in order to be renewed for the following year. The district encourages at least half of that to be spent learning from Atomic Learning resources.
“We knew we couldn’t continue to be the knowledge holders,” said Debra Pingel, Technology Integration Specialist, “We needed to get teachers a resource so they could gain knowledge for themselves.”
Knowing that learning from others can be a great opportunity, the district launched two incentive programs. For the first half of the school year, the three top teachers at the elementary, middle and high school levels who use Atomic Learning the most for their professional development have the opportunity to attend the TCEA conference in Austin, Texas. Top teachers during the second half of the year, have the opportunity to attend their regional ESC conference—And with all that they’ll learn, perhaps one of them will soon be presenting at a conference to share their knowledge with others!
About the District
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.