District helps prepare students to be future ready

  • Technology plan

    Snohomish School District students will soon be provided with a 1:1 device to aid in their learning.

    This technology shift for the school district of providing every district student with a device (laptop, touchscreen, tablet/iPad) will happen beginning with the 2023-2024 school year. Students in grades 5-12 will have dedicated devices for home/school. Students in grades K-4 will have dedicated devices that will remain in the classroom. Students in grades K-4 who additionally need a device for home use will have the ability to check one out through school.

    Previously, all students (grades K-12) have had device access in their classrooms. Since the pandemic, district middle and high school students have had additional access to a 1:1 device through the district if needed.

    “As a district, we are fortunate to have a community that values education and is willing to support 1:1 devices for student learning,” Superintendent Dr. Kent Kultgen. He added that the approval of the district’s 2022 Replacement Levy for Technology, Safety and Facility Improvements made student access to these devices possible. “The revenue source from our voter-approved levies truly impacts the quality of education our students receive. These 1:1 devices are made entirely possible though the passage of our voter-approved levies. I’m appreciative of our shared commitment to maintain the funding that helps our students excel in their learning and contribute to our community in adulthood.”

    The move to the 1:1 devices for our K-12 students next school year is coupled with additionally switching to cloud-based devices. There are many advantages of a cloud-based devices including they turn on quickly, the duration of the battery charge, and the cost of the devices. Throughout the next three years, the district will also be transitioning from staff desktops to laptops and continuing to update classroom presentation stations including interactive flat screens.

    “In today's digital world, it's important to offer both direct instruction and digital learning opportunities to meet the K-12 digital standards along with meeting the needs of a global market,” said Monica Bauer, Executive Director of Teaching and Learning Services. “Having 1:1 devices allows for more time on learning tasks and gives equitable opportunity for all learners. In addition, having these devices gives a sense of pride and develops our students' confidence in their educational experience knowing they are utilizing the tools of a 21st century education.”

    Bauer added that teacher and staff access to these devices is essential to support students in learning healthy and appropriate use of technology while in a safe space within the classroom.

    “For students to be productive and positive contributors of the technology community, they need guidance, instruction, and modeling from adults,” said Bauer. “Having 1:1 devices allows teachers to give more attention to learning tasks and gives equitable opportunity for all learners.”

    Centennial Middle School teacher Jon Cowan noted that student access to productivity devices such as laptops and tablets are essential for learning and instruction, as they not only prepare students for the job market of the future, but also provide them with personalized learning experiences. These devices play a critical role in developing students' digital literacy skills, fostering collaboration and communication, and nurturing creativity and innovation.

    “By integrating laptops and tablets into instructional practices in the classroom, students gain the technical proficiency, adaptability, and problem-solving mindset required for success in a digital technology-driven workforce,” said Cowan. “Moreover, these devices enable personalized learning by granting students access to a wealth of educational resources and interactive tools that can be tailored to their individual interests, pace, and learning styles, enhancing their understanding and retention of skills and concepts taught in the classroom. Embracing these technologies empowers students to become well-rounded individuals who are ready to thrive in the digital age, equipped with the skills to contribute innovative solutions to real-world challenges while achieving their full potential.”

    Valley View Middle School teacher Erica Robbins shared examples of real-world connections students are able to make beyond classroom walls. Her 8th grade science classes have been able to collaborate with college mentor students from around the nation (Virginia Tech, The College of William and Mary, University of Vermont, and University of Houston) while working through an engineering project. Additionally, students have connected through computer simulations, coding programs, live messaging applications, and Zoom sessions and have collaborated with NASA scientists, engineers, and other professionals to seek support and learning.

    “These experiences are at the heart of real-world learning that help build successful skills students can carry with them throughout their lives and would not be possible without the aid of student devices,” said Robbins. “Teachers can also support students in learning healthy and appropriate use of technology while in a safe space within the classroom. For students to be productive and positive contributors of the technology community, they need guidance, instruction, and modeling from adults. Technology can be such a powerful tool when implemented appropriately in the classroom, I am excited to see what future opportunities we can provide for our students as we move forward in our district’s technology plan.”

    As the school district rolls out its technology plan, it’s structure for success includes:

    • Technology access for all students
    • Professional development
    • Develop robust information and feedback loop
    • Transition to cloud-based devices
    • Evaluate and respond to unique program needs such as CTE and Special Education Services
    • Encourage and support responsible exploration of new and innovative software
    • Utilize software to track, research, and evaluate programs
    • Building-based support systems

    “We are excited to continue using technology in purposeful, innovative ways that engage our learners in exploring their world, imagining their futures and turning dreams into action,” said Kultgen. “In partnership with families and community, we encourage a lifetime of healthy and productive technology use by teaching developmentally appropriate technology skills, using technology as a tool to amplify powerful learning experiences and supporting family and community priorities for digital citizenship.”

    Learn more about the district’s technology plan at www.sno.wednet.edu/technologyplan.