District : Vista Unified School District
State : California
District Enrollment : 10,001-40,000 students
Community Type : Suburban
Shoulder to Shoulder Training Models
Vista Unified School District was formed in 1936 and now has 29 schools serving more than 22,000 students from preschool to adult. The district stretches 39 square miles across most of Vista, a large portion of eastern Oceanside, some unincorporated areas and small slivers of Carlsbad and San Marcos. Vista Unified has sixteen elementary schools, five middle schools, three comprehensive schools, two alternative schools, two schools for students with special needs, one K – 8 school, a blended and online independent study school, and an adult school.
The district serves a diverse population of students, including more than 3,000 in its special education programs and more than 6,000 who are learning English as a second language. Fifty-eight percent qualify for free lunch, twenty-four percent are English learners and ten percent are homeless.
The challenge of providing a 21st-century education to all students prompted initiatives that impacted all students and staff of VUSD. Over the course of the past 3 years Vista Unified School District has made a concerted effort to acquire personalized learning devices. Currently, they have almost enough devices to meet the goal of having a device for every student. This abundance of devices created the challenge of how students would use them in the classroom. With a substitute teacher shortage, and the urgency of preparing our children to be college and career ready, VUSD had to be creative and systematic in providing a layered approach to staff development in the area of technology integration. In addition, VUSD also faced budget cuts and contractual language that limited technology integration training outside of monthly staff meetings.
Knowing VUSD needed to provide an education that would produce students who are ready for a career or for college, VUSD applied a layered approach in the area of staff development to transform learning. VUSD developed a plan that addressed providing technology integration training to the leadership teams, teachers, and library media techs (school librarians).
During the 2014/2015 school year, all school site principals participated in an eight-month program created by the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) Educational Technology Department called “Leading in a Blended World.” The school site administrators met face-to-face with the trainers on a monthly basis then completed online modules throughout the month. The SDCOE Ed Tech team also trained all VUSD School Media Techs in 21st Century Skills, Web 2.0 Tools, Digital Citizenship, and Blended Learning, using the same method and modules. In the winter of 2015, the SDCOE team trained 38 VUSD Content and ELD Resource Teachers (TOSAs) over the course of 6 days. These teachers were exposed to Digital Citizenship, Blended Learning, 21st Century Skills and Web 2.0 tools. This started the program of training their own trainers.
In the Spring of 2015, the Resource Teachers, who had been trained by the SDCOE Ed Tech team, worked with ninety teachers over the course of five days. These participating teachers learned ways to integrating Digital Citizenship, Blended Learning, 21st Century Skills and Web 2.0 tools into their lessons.
Additionally, under a grant provided to the One-to-One Institute by Qualcomm, VUSD teachers worked with One-to-One trainers throughout the year in a shoulder-to-shoulder training model in classrooms and during Saturday training sessions.
Their monthly week long summer technology integration institutes ranged from teaching teachers about basic laptop usage to their “Ninja” class where teachers were moving through Web 2.0 tools and recreating how students will access content and create their own personalized learning pathway.
All VUSD teachers will go through a 90-minute digital citizenship training in August of 2015. This will be one step in the process to become a Common Sense Certified District.
In addition to the technology integration training that they are offering, they have hired four teachers to serve as Technology Integration experts. These experts are helping train teachers in the area of personalized learning, blended learning, digital portfolios and digital citizenship.
The technology that students have access to gives them the opportunity to access content in ways that was not available to them prior to having the devices. VUSD is transforming the learning environment starting with high quality technology integration training for all teachers.
From the U.S. Department of Education:
District Point of Contact
Devin Vodicka, Superintendent