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P-12

District : Forest Hills School District

State : Ohio

Level : P-12

District Enrollment : 1,001-10,000 students

Community Type : Suburban

Related Tags : 1:1 Initiative, BYOD/BYOT

Power up and bring your own device

The Forest Hills School District is a comprehensive PK-12 school district located in the southeastern suburbs of Cincinnati. The district serves nearly 7,800 students living in the communities of Anderson Township and the Village of Newtown. The combined population of these two communities is about 45,000.

The Challenge

The Forest Hills School District believes that preparing students for the 21st century requires learning environments in which students are actively engaged in a cohesively integrated curriculum that fosters innovation and creativity. These environments provide students with adequate access to emerging technologies that will help them personalize and customize their learning, as well as prepare them for an increasingly networked, technology-rich world. Unfortunately, this vision was stifled by a lack of access to the necessary technology and tools.

The Solution

Leaders in this district believe that learning takes place anytime, anywhere. The journey toward realizing this vision started in 2005 with a teacher tablet pilot and then again in 2009 when personnel observed other schools implementing BYOD programs. The realization that existing district-owned tools could be leveraged with student owned devices launched their Power Up Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program. Students in 6-12 grades are required to bring their own device while grades 2-5 have a 1-1 program. Students without their own device receive one from the district for school use only. A parent night, run by students showcasing their devices and subsequent products, was arranged to appease any community concerns. Teachers provided more training to parents and students on the learning management system and other technological tools that would be used during the school year.
The landscape of learning is changing and not just for students. The district decided that personalized learning needs to apply to teachers too.Thus professional development is expanding to more than just face to face sessions. Webinars and a summer learning series are just a couple of ways teachers can learn when and how they need. Forest Hills was chosen as one of four schools in the United States to be leaders in the “connected educator” space. Their BYOD and 1-1 initiatives are evolving into more blended and personalized learning models.

Tips

  • Invest in developing “connected leaders” with a deep understanding of innovative connected approaches to professional learning.
  • Start connected learning programs with small groups of adventurous, innovative teachers as pilot groups that will share how the new practices and tools are positively impacting their professional performance and subsequently influencing others to participate.
  • Involve educators from all roles to reimagine what professional development looks like to change professional learning programs and goals to match what educators value. This may include multiple, personalized paths and giving credit for educator-selected tools and programs.


Additional Resources

From Forest Hills School District:

From the U.S. Department of Education:

District Point of Contact

Phone: (513) 231-3600

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