School Infrastructure upgrades
In 2014-15, IUSD upgraded bandwidth for all IUSD schools. Bandwidth describes the “connectivity to the doorstep” of our sites. This was a necessary first step to address much broader concerns about equity and technology access. More recently, IUSD set aside facilities and other funding to retrofit all schools' technology infrastructure. The scope of the upgrades includes replacing and augmenting network cabling, network equipment and wireless access points. This project combines long-term comprehensive upgrades with incremental efforts to provide immediate relief to our schools. When this project is complete, IUSD schools will have connectivity that supports 1:1 (one device per child) access anywhere on our campuses.
Incremental Upgrades: Over 1,400 wireless access points have been replaced or added since the project began in 2015. The incremental upgrades also included replacing network switch equipment at many IUSD sites, including all of our high schools. "Spot fixes" continue as we work to complete comprehensive upgrades at all IUSD sites.
Comprehensive Upgrades: Late in 2016, IUSD awarded bids to complete the comprehensive (cabling, wireless access and network equipment) upgrades for nearly all sites.* The work is moving forward rapidly. As of August 2017, half of IUSD schools have been cutover to newly upgraded technology infrastructure. The remaining schools are expected to be complete by June 2018.
*Sites scheduled for modernization through Measure E will receive upgrades as part of those projects.
1:1 INNOVATION pILOT PROGRAM
During the 2015-2016 school year we launched the “1:1 Innovation Pilot” program, approved as part of the district's LCAP. IUSD set aside funding for approximately sixty 1:1 (one device, per student) pilot programs awarded through a competitive application process. Each selected teacher (or team of teachers) received: a class set of devices (primarily Chromebooks), charging/storage cart, wireless upgrades for the selected classroom(s) if necessary, and professional learning for best practices and curriculum integration. The district approved funding for an additional fifty 1:1 classrooms in the 2017-18 LCAP. The new awardees will receive their devices early in the 2017-18 school year.
The program aimed to pilot the effectiveness of 1:1 in the classroom by assisting teachers in using technology to redefine the learning environment consistent with the District’s Continuous Improvement Efforts (CIE) and redesign their curricula in order to provide project-based, collaborative opportunities for students to apply and interact with instructional content (Hanover, Dec. 2015). It also allowed for students to extend classroom instruction through online learning, meaningful connections and differentiated, student-curated content.
As a result, teachers were able to empower students to be the architects of their own learning by regularly providing them with the tools that allowed them to set personal educational goals, create knowledge and assess progress. These incubators of innovation, have clearly made an impact on the learning in our district, as leadership has made a push to provide more devices for students at every school site; growing our Chromebook count from 2500, in 2016, to 15,000 in 2017.
IUSD recently launched a completely redesigned district website. The new site reflects more than a year of design, development and content curation efforts. Watch the video below for a walkthrough of the new site.
The IUSD website project was funded during the 2015-16 LCAP Process. The core team, including IUSD's Communications Office and EdTech started a formal selection process (Request for Proposals) a little over a year ago. During that process, school site, parent and district stakeholders reviewed fifteen proposals. The committee unanimously selected KWALL as a partner to redesign the IUSD site. The selection of a developer, KWALL, with an open-source (Drupal) platform provided IUSD with optimal support and long-term flexibility on the project. As shared previously, KWALL is a local company that specialized in post-secondary education websites. Some of their past clients included University of Arizona, Millikin University, Arizona State University and Long Beach State University.
Throughout the design and development process, the core project team met with stakeholders to create and refine our new design. Cabinet, PTA, school site and district staff saw mockups of the new website and participated in discussions about design, accessibility, navigation and content. The final design reflects feedback received during dozens of stakeholder and contributor meetings.
The EdTech team will begin moving our school websites onto the new website platform. School sites will have a choice of several flexible templates as a starting point. The new templates share a modern look and technology foundation. Each school will be able to brand its site to reflect the school’s values and identity. The Drupal platform will allow schools to easily incorporate images, social media, video and other content into their pages. At the same time, all websites will remain connected to the IUSD.org page through integrated news, events and accessibility features.