District : Puyallup School District
State : Washington
Level : P-12
District Enrollment : 10,001-40,000 students
Community Type : Suburban
Puyallup School District: Investment in Teachers
Like many school districts around the country, Puyallup School District in Washington, has a strong desire to provide the highest quality education for students with an emphasis on equity and social justice. With the recognition of dwindling resources, the school board tasked the district to evaluate and reconceive how they use instructional materials in all courses.
Through the journey of evaluating the instructional materials, Tracy Pitzer, Director of Instructional Leadership, says “I have become increasingly convinced that the answer to many of our challenges is to follow an Open Education Pedagogy and ask teachers to vet and curate materials as they create new courses and as the district adoption cycle matriculates for current courses.” Last year, Puyallup took a team of teachers through the process of curating their own OER “textbook” and other instructional materials to create a full Civics course. Ms. Pitzer says “that process was the best professional development I have ever been through with teachers in over 25 years in education. While this process did save the district money, the money saved was reallocated to compensate the teachers who created the OER textbook. We focused our investment on the right thing: genuine teacher collaboration around instruction and improvement of student outcomes.”
Although Puyallup School District is new to the #GoOpen initiative, the district is not a novice when it comes to OER, which is why they will be serving as a #GoOpen Ambassador District in the current cohort of districts. Their district has committed to work with the #GoOpen community at large, share content, and mentor #GoOpen Launch Districts. Similarly, the Washington Department of Public Instruction (DPI) started their OER work four years ago and recently joined more than a dozen other states as an official #GoOpen State. Both Puyallup School District and Washington DPI have a wealth of experience to share with this community.
The #GoOpen initiative provides Puyallup with an opportunity to connect with other members of the #GoOpen community. Puyallup provides the following advice to other districts thinking about using OER and joining the #GoOpen movement:
- Free is good, but open is better. The ability to remix and adapt is more important than just free access – it allows you to keep the focus on teachers, honors their professionalism and improves their practice.
- Think carefully about your platform. If you truly want to share and be open, you need a method of delivery that is accessible to all.
- OER allow us the opportunity to be 100% aligned to standards. You have to do the work up front to align the materials, or you will lose out on the power of OER to address core instructional needs.
- Recruit teachers to be ambassadors of OER – their enthusiasm will help to sustain the work.
From the U.S. Department of Education:
Points of Contact
Tracy Pitzer, Director of Instructional Leadership