Webinar: Maximizing Ed Tech's Reach in Rural School Districts
Hello. Everyone, and welcome to today's webinar. Maximizing. Edx, reach in rural school districts, my, name is Michelle Davis and I'm a senior, writer for Education, Week digital, directions. Today's. Webinar, has been sponsored, by mastery. Connect. Rural. School districts often struggle, with a lack of resources. Challenging. Infrastructure. And isolation, but, technology, is a tool that can bring experts, resources. And the wider world right, into these classrooms even. Though those things might be geographically. Located far, away, building. The technology, skills of rural students allows them to compete with their peers for more urban areas and to feel confident, when, they venture outside of their cities and towns to college, and work where technology, plays an important, role, the. Challenge, is how to bring those digital tools to rural students, and to build reliable, technology delivery. Systems, that, make the process viable. And usable usable, for teachers and students while. Most schools and districts in the country are connected, to the Internet many particularly. Those, in rural areas, still. Don't have the capability, to use it in a way that personalizes. Learning, and impact, student, achievement, the. Good news is we have two people here with us today who have figured out their, path to, delivering, technology and, its benefits, to their students. Matt. Akin is the superintendent of the Piedmont City, School District in Alabama, and he's, a 2016, education. Week leaders to learn from honoré that's. An award that education. Week gives annually, to a group of education, leaders who are doing the most innovative and cutting-edge. Work we'll. Also hear from Adam Clemens who's the principal of Piedmont, high school he's the other half of this dynamic, duo in, Piedmont. Matt. Matt. And Adam have found a way to give, students, in their 1200, student. District, MacBook, laptops, modern, media centers, and access, to online classes, and, when. These students go home at night they all have internet access. Piedmont, City Schools has been committed, to making sure students have this, at, home, either, through, a citywide, network or MiFi devices, so. Before we get started, it, now is a good time to review some of the technical, aspects, of today's presentation. Please. Check the audio setting, on your computer, as well as your speaker volume settings. If you're having any audio trouble, and if, you're still having issues please see our detailed, audio, troubleshooting file, which is available in the handouts, folder at the bottom of the console, there. Are also some, other icons, there that open additional, feature panels, in our webinar, console, you. Can read about today's speakers, in the bio panel, click, the handouts, panel to download a copy of today's slides and follow, the conversation about, today's webinar on twitter using.
The Hashtag, GW. Webinar. Finally. An on-demand, archive of today's presentation. Will, be available online in, the next 24, hours. Both. The archive and are free to download version, of the PowerPoint slides will, be accessible. Through a tweet org, and I want to encourage everyone, to, ask questions, of our guests, and you can start. Submitting questions, now through. The ask a question box, on your screen I'll. Remind you of that throughout the webinar I want. To kick this event, off with a great video that was created for our leaders to learn from awards to give people a glimpse of what Piedmont. City Schools is like and what, Matt akin has brought to the district, so we're, going to go forward with the. Video and then we will get started with the, presentations. Piedmont. City schools in Piedmont Alabama, let's. Say we're nestled, at the foothills of Appalachians. Textile. Based community. And those, jobs are long gone. So. I think the most important, thing we've done as a school district, is we're changing the. Outlook for kids have, fun it's. No longer lets, graduate, from high school and hope we can get a job in the textile, mill, it's. Maybe, I can get a job in coding. Or I had, a chance to take online, foreign. Language classes that I never would have had an opportunity to, and I'm really good at it. We. Are giving, our, community, hope and, it may sound corny but, I believe, it. Over. The years we've looked for technological. Tools to, make, sure that we're giving our kids the most opportunities. They can have. I. Can, remember early on saying, if, the worst thing we do is give a kid. A laptop. And then, not just internet access at school but at home if that's all we do we've done a great thing. But. Fortunately, that's not all we do you, know if that's a level one we're at level 4 level thought now because our teachers, and our principals have, been able to really take it to a much higher level. They. Understand, how, to use. Technology. To, really expand, the curriculum and, personalize. The curriculum. All. Right, so. I think that's probably what I'm most excited about. To. Look in a seventh grade classroom, and, know that students, may be working on 30 different objectives. At the same time and being able to allow kids to move at their own pace. What. We're trying to do is not easy it's, really hard but. We've. Evolved, hopefully beyond just changing education, and Piedmont so being a model. For changing education, if, not in large districts, at least in rural districts, across the country. Great. I'm so glad we had that video. It really gives, people an, idea of some of the innovative, things that, are going on in, the Piedmont City School District now we are going to get started with our presentation. And first we are going to hear from Superintendent. Matt akin. Well. Thanks Michelle I'm obviously. Honored, to be joining, joining. Ed week and this. Webinar today from, from, rural Piedmont, Alabama it's, not often you get a you get a glimpse into where we are so I'm glad everyone got was, able, to see the video the. Elevation. To just start and tell you, basically. Our what we're going to follow is I'm going to give you an overview of our school, district, and and how we came to rely on technology, to all four, opportunities.
For Our students that they didn't have otherwise and then. That'll. Be the first half and then we'll turn over to Adam to. Really, give you an inside, the school look and talk about specifics, of some of the things we're doing as. You can see from my bio I have, a pretty unique background, there's probably not a lot of not, a lot of superintendents. Who have been computer science teachers, and Technology, directors, before they were superintendents. So I. Really. Was able to early, in my career get, some insight, as to how. Technology. Could, specifically. Be used to provide personalized, education. For. Students and so that's, that's kind of what we've what, we built the, foundation. Of our curricular. Program on and. So. Let me let me take you back a little bit to. Maybe. 2009. We're. We're. Obviously local northeast, Alabama or. Small school district 1200 students our town of Piedmont has about, 5,000, residents, with three schools and. We're relatively, low income we have 68%, of our of our students qualify for free and reduced lunch, and. Then, we have around. 100 teachers the, interesting thing about our number, of students, since we started our technology. Initiative, six. Years ago our, enrollment. Was at that point was almost was right. At a thousand, students so our we've sent a large increase in enrollment, for our district. Our size. So, so, the question we often get is is, why did we shift to a traditional, teaching model to. One where we rely on technology, to, help enhance. The curriculum and. And. One of the things that's important. I think to understand, is that by. Traditional, methods we were we were pretty successful our, students, graduated, we had a pretty, high graduation, rate our test scores were above state average but. What was what, was happening in Piedmont Alabama like, a lot of rural towns is our. Economy, was dying it was textile, based. People. Are leaving the community and. So. Our Board, of Education our, city council myself. School administrators, were really talking about we have to change the way we we teach kids to give, kids more opportunities. Even. Though they were graduating, from high school there, really wasn't anything for them to do to. Do afterwards. And, we face a lot of rural districts, faced the same problems, and ours were limited. Resources, around, curriculum we, weren't. Able to offer a lot of electives, not many AP classes, so. Our honors curriculum is was very small and then also.
Classes. That it, could eventually kids, in the workforce the. Other thing is it's hard to recruit teachers into, integral. Areas, so, we were really looking at a way to revitalize. What. Was going on in our school district, so. In. 2000. In 2009. We. Had we, have been working we had done a pilot, project the year before in our high school where we put some laptops on carts and shared them with teachers but we really. Had, a collaborative, effort to, look, at how to improve the curriculum and how to enhance opportunities. For our kids through technology. And, in. Late. 2008. We, visited, Mooresville. North Carolina, and dr. Mark Edwards and. They, consolidate. They were in their second year of a one to one initiative we saw what they were doing and really, we took the Mooresville model then and and made it our own so we would. Call our model empower. Piedmont, and, at. 2009. We implemented, a one-to-one laptop, initiative with all students, that were in grades 4 through 12, look. Out kids 24/7. Access so, kids in 4th grade all the way through high school took their computers home and. That environment, consisted, of a learning management system. Along. With, you. Know teacher created, content, within that learning management system, and then we also purchased, some content, but. We. Like looking back now and you can it's easy to say we were a technology and West environment, we did a lot of projects, and we get a lot of opportunities, for kids but it's certainly at, that point in o.9 was not a personalized, learning environment. I'm. One. Of the things that I think that, is, if you ask our stakeholders. What's the most important, thing we did and certainly providing. Access to technology. Was important. But. I'm. Probably the most important, issue. That we faced was lack of access at home and so, about, 50%, of our population had, had internet, access at home and. What we we, found out we said was difficult, but it's really impossible to, implement, what. Our goal was which, is Anytime Anywhere learning. At. Home about Internet access and, we said, like a lot of districts say will, allow you to download, your material. Before you go home but that's, really impossible. Because. Of the, different levels students, are on or the different, interests so. We initially, did like a lot a lot of people do and we look to community partners to provide hotspots we'll work with the. Couple of fast food restaurants, we have of what works is. But. One. Of the things I can remember specifically. Was going, home leaving my office one night notice, six o'clock and going by one of the schools and seeing kids sitting on the porch of the schools at. Night just had access, and and. You. Know just it was it was certainly not equitable, when my own kids could go home and had access but then half of our students didn't so, the game changer for us was we participated, in an e-rate pilot, pilot project.
In 2010. That. Provided, internet access, at home so. Just to give you a little bit about what that meant for us we. Picked. 20 20, districts, that were participated. In this project through here 8 and oh, good 20 we were the only district, but that approached. It the way we did and so we hired a we. Hired internet. Access provider that built a network around our city so, whenever, our kids went home they, were guaranteed, to have access, and so, we have a lot of kids who. Could. Go for who might go to grandmother's, house one night a parents house the next night so it, truly, it truly provided, or truly, offered, internet access no matter where they were and. Then we also had. We. Cellular. Hotspots, where, we, had a lot of kids that come in from out of districts, that live in even more out of district, but live in more rural areas, and we. Sent, those devices. Homeless, students, to provide. Access at home. Unfortunately. The. Grant only last of a year so particularly. When you think is especially federal. Grants, that they go on for at least three years and we kind of thought this one would but. There were no guarantees and. So. After a year we had to pick, up the cost ourselves and, so we partnered, with the, city. Of Piedmont, and then, also, the vendor we were working with to continue that that, going and so now we're in your. Year, six of that internet, access at home, and just as technology, has changed, we, have the. Way we provide Internet, access, home has changed so we've sifted to using. All hotspots, where more students are had access through. Outside. Vendors but we, provide hotspots through. The school district, and that and we, have had to shift the cost model, to so students who are on free. And reduced lunch paid $15. A moment, for, access at home and then students. Who are, not who wouldn't have access otherwise, pay, $40. A month for family access. So. Again. I just want to really emphasize that, access. Has been that's, been a game changer for us and if you ask our teachers what's the most important, thing we do we guarantee that when kids go home they have access to to. Our curriculum, so. Looking. Back over the last two. Seven. Years from 9 to 9, 2009, to now. The. Providing. Access and providing devices, has, really, allowed us to expand, the school day and it spanned the school year so now. We we. Teach, a variety of online classes I think we. Have every. Every, student at our high school takes, at least one, online class, and Duff Clemmons will get into that more. But. Provide by providing, online classes. It's also allowed us to free, up teacher units, to provide classes, we didn't have room for otherwise, so, kids. Our high school can take things, from. Anywhere. From film, studies, to robotics, to. Guitar. Classes, and then online, we've, gone from a, great. Example of expanding. Opportunities, as we've gone from teaching one foreign language, to now we offer five foreign, languages, that are competency-based. The. Other thing that's important, is we, had shifted. To a true personalized, learning model so we start our middle school last year where it's a mastery, based model, it's. Self-paced, and it provides for student choice so students can work on what. They need to need to work on at that particular time, what's, some guidance we learned, some we learned some hard lessons through. That and one of which is certainly, middle school students like adults need. They'd get deadlines, and guidance as to what, areas, are weakest, in and strongest in. This. Part, we, like Parsons, in Piedmont and you. Know innovation. Is really, a mindset, for, us and so over the last several years we have we've.
Really Worked hard to, create. An environment where our teachers and school leaders, seek. Out-of-the-box, solutions. For, for. Our, students, and but really came to mind with me yesterday we were in a staff meeting and and, things were so outside about you, know I did I'm usually the one that's what's giving those ideas but it really feels good for me to see how, encouraging. Teacher, leaders, and encouraging, school leaders to paint props I think of outside the box solutions. Especially, that technology, can provide, means. World you, know we're going down the right Road. Just, a bit, nobody wants to really talk about Common Core assessments but, you, know some of the things that Common Core as we've shifted to a personalized, model, a, more. Rigorous curriculum. Have. Helped, us see that you, know without. Personalizing. Education for all students, it's. Almost, impossible, to. You, know without technology it's impossible, to do that and so we. Truly. The model, that we have that Adam will talk more about allows. Us to, to. To. Really focus on proficiency. By. Focusing. On student growth and we do that by being able to meet. Students, where they are academically. Instead. Of starting, every student on the on the same page in the same textbook. As, far as, technological. Technological. Tools we have we have shifted to where, we hope that our model is every. Every student, has an individualized. Education plan, as, I, mentioned, we're, we're, mastery, or competency-based, so, students, our goal is for students, to make a year and a half of academic, growth in a single year, one. Of the things that we heard, very quickly last. Year was there's. Not enough time in the school year for students, to master all the standards, and, and, that's a little little. Surprising, because over the years we've been saying students. Are you know we hear some standards we teach an eighth grade math and all students, make, it through those standards, even though that wasn't really happening so by going to that mastery, based model, has really helped us. To. Personalize. We, use a blended, model within our classroom so. Within. The within a class is a rotational, model where there's, teacher-led, instruction. There's also digital curriculum and then we have a projects. And a typical in a typical day we'll call that class time but. We also do two very important things one is teen time where we focus, on teacher teacher. Mentors, for all students, so we, have team time three days a week at our middle school, where. We really, focus on academic, goals and and also, personal, goals but then we also focus, one of those three days on soft. Skills for students and. Then my time is a time every, student has time, during the day to to. Choose what what, academic, skills I need to be working on and then most. Of that is delivered through digital content, and. I. Think it's important, to realize that as, you as you look at personalizing. That especially, as you as you try to measure student, growth that, all students, don't, learn the same way and it's not fair to the. Assessed kids the same way so we're continually, looking for different. Ways to assess, assess, student learning and, one, of our main areas that, we focus on is developing rubrics, to, measure. How kids how kids are completing projects. So. Where are we going in the future, just. Like kids need personalized, learning to, get. The most out of out of the school environment. We, believe that teacher. PDS, should also be should, also be personalized, so. We, have a pilot project that we're implementing. This summer where, teacher. PD is competency. We're, working with the digital. Promise League of innovative schools on a micro micro. Credentialing, pilot, where we allow. Teachers to choose areas, that they want to focus on and rather, than you, know saying this is a three day training session, you're going to it's based on competency. So they can go through. As quickly or slowly as they need to master the curriculum, and. Then also when it comes to digital curriculum lis digital. Curriculum and having, outstanding. Visual curriculum was important, to us so we, had really changed our mindset and very rarely do we purchase, anything without piloting.
At First and so, for example we have a couple of products now that we have, year-long pilots, with before, we before, we purchase and I think that's that's, really given our our, teachers. A chance to see how well something. Works in their classroom, to meet the to, meet the standards, I. Mentioned. I, mentioned. Earlier about personalized, learning for kids and talked about a rotational, model and one. Of the ways we do that this is a screen, for mastery Connect which is a program. That we use in our in. Grades 4 through 9 right. Now and, you, can see that this. Is just a sample that would show that you say the standards, at the top where kids in an individual, class are really all over the page and so that's. One of the things that is really probably, the hardest for us is, for our teachers is to be. Able to grasp the data, to, know how, kids are moving and which kids are moving faster. Or slower and make sure we provide the resources that are needed, so. I think. Michelle, I'll turn it back over to you and then in a few minutes we'll hear from Adam. Great. Thank, you so much and I'm excited to get into the discussion portion. Of this to talk more about some of those things and I just want to remind, our audience that, if you have a question, for Matt or for Adam about something you heard or saw just. Type it into the ask a question box on your screen before. We go on we're just going to take a minute, to, hear. A quick message from our sponsor, mastery connect. Great. This is James with mastery, connect really exciting, to hear what's going on with Piedmont, Piedmont is one fast fantastic. Example, of the way that mastery. Connect is helping drive and personalized, student, learning across the country teachers. Across the country are using mastery. Connect to personalize, learning for, students, by identifying, the strengths, and the needs of, each student and using, that information to drive learning, this, all started seven years ago with, a single, school principal, in Utah who, is trying to get his teachers, to really hone in on the individual, needs of students, and use formative. Dad to drive learning, at this point seven years later we, have over two million teachers that are using our solutions, but, despite all that growth, everything, in mastery, Connect is personal, it comes back to the students, to the relationship. Between a teacher and that teacher students, in the classroom.
Identify. And again the strengths, and needs of those students, in using, that formative, data to. Really drive instruction, and create a personalized, roadmap, for learning a little, bit later on we're going to get into a little bit more of how mastery, Connect works I'm, excited, to do that but right now I'm really excited to, turn, the time back over, to Michelle and and, hear what kind of questions are out there and hear the discussion. Thank. You now. We are gonna hear from Adam Clemens, we've got sort of the big-picture view, from. Matt akin and now Adam, is going to tell us how this really works on the ground he's, the guy who's got to make it work for the students, Adam. Thank. You I. Am. The principal of high. School in Alabama. At. My high school we, have. 381. Students. And grades, 9 through 12, and we. Are known, throughout the state is, an. Academic. Extracurricular. And. Athletic. Powerhouse which. Actually, is quite. Important, in Alabama. When. I was in college at Auburn University 16. Years ago a friend and, I started, a website development, and consulting company, and. We develop websites for, clients from, the lieutenant-governor to, law, firms to, political. Parties and after, college I started teaching history. In Georgia but, continued. To operate this business on the side and. Due to my interest in pursuing, education, administration. I sold, my portion of the business and then, 2007. Became an administrator in. 2013. After, 12 years in Georgia I came, back to my home state of Alabama and was fortunate to be hired as, the, principal, of, Piedmont high school when. I saw an opportunity to combine, my interests, in technology. And. Education. It's. A great honor to work with dr., Matt akin and on behalf of the faculty, and staff of our district, we appreciate, Education. Week and the show David's for, recognizing. His hard work. Hank. Greenberg, the, former, AIG. CEO, says, we, don't wait until the bridge is built and a couple of things go across, we. Want to be the bridge builders, and this club could easily be attributed, to dr.. Aiken and his philosophy, which if. You have an entrepreneurial, spirit makes, it fun and rewarding to. Work with them the Pima City School District. Pima. High school is considered. A mid-sized, school. In Alabama, through. The hard work of our teachers, staff, and students. We. Have received, numerous recognitions. Including. We, were the first apple distinguished, school in Alabama. National. Blue Ribbon School and, the. US News & World Report most connected high school, we're. Always on the go at PHS, and. We offer a plethora of opportunities for our students, or. The mindsets, we try to have it, has capsulated, than the quote, from coach John Calipari. When he said it's my winning, and losing it's. Winning and learning, so, know, that we have a lot of success and, we. Have a lot of learning, the high school today. I'm going to highlight some of the programs we offer at, the high school and let. Me just preface by saying this. Do. You have a similar program, to what we offer or you have a program, which you feel would be beneficial, to the high school please share it at. The end and or, contact, us I'll, be posting how to contact, us at. The end so let's dive into some of the things that we do offer at. Piedmont high school one. Of the things that we're. Right in the thick of is our summer Virtual, Academy, getting. It going, it, is known as SBA, and, so, if I refer to it as SBA that's what I'm speaking of, we. Offer summer. Virtual, academies, to students, in grades 6 through 11 and, through. SBA we've. Seen many benefits, for our students, and a master schedule of.
Our School during the academic year, students. Can use SBA, to bank, credits, that. Allow them more flexibility. During, the academic year. To take more elective. Classes leave. School. Early for, work or volunteer or. They, can pursue to an aroma possibilities. And SBA. Contributes. To having more flexibility. In creating the, master, schedule, to, reduce class sizes an offer fun, and relative. Relevant. Electives. For our students. And. So we started, out offering, our, five foreign languages, help and a, class, called career prep B which. Is a state required, course for all high school seniors, and. Over the past two years we've, expanded, our offerings, to include. Academic. And elective, courses such as world geography a physical, science world history government, economics, art. History, etc. We. Offer. Our five foreign languages, through Middlebury, interactive. Languages, and our core, and elective classes, through, compass lining Odyssey. We. Have, sign ups that start in April and. We. Offer a semester, course which, runs from May 1st through. The end of July. And. We also do a mini master, which, runs from June, 1st through, July. 29, and, we average about a hundred and twenty kids, which is about 20% of, our, middle and high school students, taking advantage of, SVA. We. Charge students. Twenty-five, dollars for each, course and we, hire to, educators. To facilitate. The course and. The facilitators. Meet once a week during. The summer with, the students, to check on progress, and. We work with students, to have, you. Know that they have travel, ball or summer vacations, we. Try to work with folks to, make sure that they. There's. Some flexibility. Starting. In 2015. Piedmont. Middle school began a personalized, learning model, for grades six through eight, this. Personalized, personalized. Learning journey, followed, last. Year's eighth graders, up to the ninth grade this, year and. Over the summer our ninth grader ninth, grade teachers were given professional. Development. Through at, elements. In. Having. An online class, option, for students, in grades 10 through 12. We're, able to free up teachers. To assist us with our ninth graders who needed an, extra period to work on mastering, their standards. We. Created this time during, the first period, using. The acronym wind, which. May. Stands for what I need. So. During when students. Worked individually, on. Their core, class standards, and our center, of innovation. Students. Who are behind on. Their standards. Are pooled into small groups these. Small groups meet, in the classroom, or glass-walled conference, room in the center of innovation with. A Content, area teacher, who can give guidance and dive, deeper, for understanding. We. Use mastery, connect to determine, if standards have been mastered. And. Determined. To determine, the mastery, students, take quizzes creative, on mastery connect, quizzes. Created, by our teachers, but are vetted, by mastery, connects or, projects. Created, by the teacher, additionally.
We, Are the. Only system in Alabama that uses, nwaz, math assessment, three times a year to, determine progress. DMA for our ninth graders this. Math assessment, creates an. Individualized. Learning Path and compass, Odyssey, for. Each student to, help them work on standards, that, they have not mastered. Next. Year's plans includes. This. Personalized, learning journey to continue, into. The 10th grade and, you can see two pictures that we have there, the, one in the lower left is actually our former, immediate. Center and. Over the summer we, converted it into a, center of innovation that. You can see there on, the right. So. Talking about curriculum. During. The transition, from a traditional school. To. One that embraces technology. We made some major shifts in the alignment of which courses would be taught. Additionally. We had to provide professional development many, times from our own ideas, because, we were the first to try something, of, which we were aware, we. Center our, professional, development around, pedagogical. Shifts, from the. Sage on the stage and, the teacher being the only content, knowledge source, to, a truly blended, model where. The teacher became, the coach and advocate. Going along with our students, as they began to take control of their own learning, experience. One. Of the first shifts, for our high school was to go from a traditional. Seventh, year day, sit. And get instructional, model to. Allowing our first periods, to go online for, students. In grades 10 through 12. This. Would allow one teacher for example to be a facilitator. Of, all 100, seniors in the government, economics, class, the. Teacher would have a face-to-face meeting, with all 100, students, in the cafeteria the, media center or the Jim this. Median would be used, to do checks where, the students were based on their percentage, complete, and if, that percentage, was a B or better if. The students, were on target and passing, that a B or better they, would not. Have to come until, the next Friday they. Did not if. They did not make the target they would have to come every, day the next week so. Last year we modified, and expanded that, model, we. Are on a sub here day so, we created a seventh, period online. Option. In. The second, period for. Students, who had to online classes first, thing in the morning. Additionally. We changed, the meeting, dates to include all by date so if a teacher has 50, students assigned to them for, an online course, students. Would meet with that teacher on Monday. 10. Might meet with them on Tuesday, 10 OSE etc. We. Kept the requirement. Those. Who fail to keep up with their progress maintain, abhi would. Be required, to attend, each day this. Challenge, allows for, teachers. To do small group interventions, with students, and allow those students, who. Are getting into partner with those who may need some help, during. The day is not unusual, welcome. To a classroom where, students, may be learning, a foreign language.
Psychology. Sociology, sports. Marketing, all. Through our online curriculum, the. Direction, of one teacher, our. Online option, and, the flexibility, has allowed us to expand, our curriculum. Classes. That, are a great interest to the students, and some of its rest, of. The administration, by the students, themselves, and. These crises, include guitar, and drama debate, on, our safety archery. Videography. Studies. To name a few, in. Our 10th and 11th grade US, history courses. We. Want to grant to use ancestry. K-12, and using. A student genealogy. As one. Focal, point our history teachers teach, history in reverse order. Students. Have uncovered, some amazing, facts through this project. Including. Our relative, who was killed, in the Holocaust. An ancestor, it. Was a personal, guard to General. George Washington. During the American Revolution. Variations. Of spellings, of last names over generations, and a few cases of. Boyfriend's. Finding out they were distantly, related to, girlfriends. By, purse'. Our. Flexibility. And scheduling. Has expanded. Our advanced. Placement courses, from, three, to eight where. 42%. Of our students, are in advanced. Placement courses. It. Allows us to have Kenko tile classrooms and, when necessary we. Peer weak, technology, teachers with those that are strong through our co-teaching. Our. Co-teaching, classes. It. Allowed us to bring doing aroma classes, from, our off-campus to, being housed. On. Campus, with over thirty percent of our students, having, earned dual enrollment. Credit. While. Many of our classes, are taught using compass, Odyssey, or Middlebury, Middlebury. Our. Teachers use blackboard, as, our learning management system. And what we've heard from, our graduates, that having. This knowledge a. Blackboard. Prior to going into college is. A confidence. Booster, when they already have that knowledge and other. Freshman college students, are having to learn to, navigate navigate.
College. Blackboard. As they are in college, in. Addition, to these curriculum, platforms, mentioned, we. Also use, Alex. Excel. Achieve. 3000. And, curricula. In. Piedmont's. We're always looking for ways and ways to give our graduates and an advantage, over, their. Peers graduating. From other high schools in. Combination. With the. Technology. And education. Received. By our students, we. Also have what is called the Piedmont, promise projects, better, known as 3p. This, is a culminating. Digital, project, but our seniors, work on throughout the senior year the. Highlights, of it include all of our students, using LinkedIn. To connect within, and outside of our geographic area, of Piedmont, for. Employment connections. And, from. Career, interest inventories. To professional. Resumes, to learning best practices, to get ahead and job interviews, we. Prepare our students for college a career in life. Before. A student is allowed to graduate they must present their digital. Portfolio. Of, all their 3p work to. A panel, of business leaders and, educators. So. Evidence, of success. We. Pima. High school has graduates. From. Has. Some of the lowest percentages. Of needing remediation, in. College, English, and math that. Is something. Our state looks at a, graduation. Rate rose, from 90. Percent prior to technology. Integration to currently, at 99, percent. Over. 20 percent of our students, are actually out. Of district, we have an open enrollment policy, and, our. Students, we, not only live, within our district. But almost, 20 percent of them come from out of district. We. Have been an apple distinguished, school since 2009. As. I mentioned earlier or 2012. Blue Ribbon School and. Recognized, as one of the top tech. Schools in America, by US News & World Report and. 100%. Of our graduates, have been accepted, to college, attend. Colleges from the Air Force Academy. To. Auburn to the, University, of Alabama, and. We've seen a huge drop. Discipline issues since this model, has, been, implemented. So. What's in store for the future. Through. Makers but we were creating. A makerspace. After. Weighing a grant from new matter for, three, 3d. Printers. We. Also have like, a green screen and some other things that we're, gonna be using in that space. We. Became. The first school in Alabama to require principles.
Of Computer science. To graduate, that will begin, next. Next. Year for all incoming, freshmen. We. Are expanding. 3p. Will do all grade levels starting. Next year. We. Are expanding the personalized, blending learning to. All grade levels, as. I mentioned we're going from 9th grade to, 10th grade for, next year and. We. Are in works of. Collaboration. With the National, website creation. Company to have students, create, personal. Websites. For, their portion, personal, portfolios. And to. Work with local businesses to, give them an, online, presence. That. Wraps. Up my portion, of the webinar and, and to, quote, President Harry Truman, if. You can't convince them, confuse. Them so I probably. Accomplished. One of the one, of the two just, to kind of wrap up this. Is, this. Is our contact information at, the high school we. Do have visitors, who visit, throughout. The. Year and as. I said earlier, we. Would enjoy hearing from you on good practices, and programs, that aren't. Placing, your schools I'm. A firm believer that, we learn best when, we break free from the. Silos, and share ideas with, each other and, one. Of the common phrases, and in Alabama, is y'all come and, so go feel, free to come to Piedmont, as. Well as you can follow us on Twitter or Facebook or. Visit. Our website. We, are constantly. Putting. Things on Twitter and Facebook to, keep folks. Updated. On what we are doing in, Piedmont, so I shall turn it back over to you, Adam. Thank you so much that was a great presentation, that ninety-nine, percent graduation. Rate really, sticks, in my head and I'm sure is pretty impressive too a lot of people watching, I, want, to start by jumping right in for our question, and answer portion and I want to just remind our audience if, you have a question, for Matt or Adam, just, type it into the ask a question box on your screen but. I think one of the things that was really intriguing to a lot of people have several questions on this it's, about how. You provide, internet. Access at home. And. I, think a lot of people would say well how, in the heck you know that sounds great but how can I pay for that how can I do that talk. A little bit about what. Another community, might be able to do to. Approach. This or to. Achieve. The, same thing and I have a question. Here from. Let's. See from Cheryl Holmes who wants to know about, the. The, houses. Outside the city district, how, you get, internet. To them. So. Matt why don't you talk, a little bit about that, okay. Michelle um so, internet access at home as I said started as a grant which, which. Was great and but it like a lot of other grants, have you know eventually, grant funding runs out and so. As we've shifted, and I'll talk about how we do things today because, I think it's a model that can be used is we. Work with the Saylor provider, and provide you know these hotspots that go home and typically, you, know it's going on to a to, a family, that has more. Than one kid you know but but sometimes it's, a one child house but, we encourage the. Hotspot it's not just limited to the, child keys. But. I think, I saw part of the question was one. Of the things I didn't count on was was. The administration. Of that and, so how do you because of hotspots are owned by the school system we pay monthly fee for them and then as we've had to go and charge, us a. Percentage. Of the cost out. To students, we. Really got, in quickly, over our heads with all you know handing all the billing and making sure everything was kept up with so we've we, were better organized, with that now it goes through this school. Level and then to central, office and, when you think of Piedmont central office is about five people so we're doing a lot of different things. But. It's one of the things where we really just keep up with it with spreadsheets, and, we. Have rules that we follow about, you know paying your bill on time and those kind of things but. We really try to work with parents that to. Make sure that we're providing, fair. Access and, ones, that truly can affordably sit down with them and try, to figure out how to make it happen even my price model is not working so some, people are paying for the hot spots those that can't afford to pay for it and those that can with your, writing, them and, and.
I Think, probably like a lot of other rural areas, I mean once you get outside the, city limits which, is you know again five thousand runs since you. Know cable, you, know getting, your access to cable television is not an option. Because there's no cable television, and typically, an AT&T, doesn't. Provide access so. One. Of the fortunate things that's happened is the school is such a large. Customer. Of, the saver company, but the Sailor company has put up another antenna just to serve us which in turn provided. More access, to the rural areas, we. Do still have I, think, it's three households that, are so far out they don't have access at all and you know we just continue. To try to get, governmental. Agencies, to help with that but that there's still an issue that we haven't solved. But. I say that to say that you. Know a verizon card at home is, a lot, better than trying to buy access through, your satellite provider. And. So we have a lot of parents that take advantage of that that's, great. Adam. Let me ask you one of the things about you. You obviously use, a lot, of ed, tech products, and a lot EdTech, tools in your district. I mean. I'll ask two, questions of, you number one how are you paying for all those things I mean you mentioned, that I. Think. Students pay $25. For their virtual, summer classes, that's pretty pretty, unheard, of how, are you paying for a lot of that stuff a. Lot. Of it we. Work with, the district, on and I think. Dr. Aiken will kind of tell you that it's, just prioritizing. The budget. Central. Office goes to gathering. You, know we we, obviously. We. Have, a high poverty, rate and so, we, we do try to work with those students and occasionally, we'll have students who can't even afford the $25.00. So. We work with them I'm kind, of setting up a payment plan if. They fall, under McKinney, Vento obviously. That covers their. Their. Their. Plan for, getting. The summer Virtual Academy but, all of the you. Know and just working with dr., Aiken the. Central office staff we, sat, down and we make, sure that we, are getting the best deals as he alluded to earlier a, lot of times we.
Try To pilot, clangs first, to make sure it. Is what, we need because. We. We. Have so. Many. Have. So many businesses, who want our business and so we try to make, sure that we get the right product, to our students, and and. In the vision you know we we, ask our kids what do they think about the products, that we. Actually, are. Delivering, to them as far as the curriculums and my. Fact that it was being, sent out today through, blackboard, asking. Them, specific. Questions regarding. The. Different, curriculum tools, that we use and and so. We, we take that feedback and try to make good business. Decisions based. On the, feedback of our customers, and and try to make sure that we, communicate those, with the. Providers, that are helping. Us out, you. Got it my second, question which I mean I you and a lot of educators, out there are being bombarded with. Different. Companies who want, your business and, how. Do you make sure that, these companies you're dealing with really. Understand, the needs of a rural district. Rather, than some, of the bigger. Or more urban districts that may come, to mind for these through, these companies more easily. Well. I'll, speak to briefly, I'm sure dr. Aiken probably has a better. Answer. But. We. Oftentimes have to tell them you know where you're looking at a. 1200. You know School District and about, 300, 400 kids. In our high school and so. You. Know they have to understand, that up front but at, the same time when, a, lot of these companies, do deal with smaller. Schools. They. Can they can see really, impacts and you know they can they can come in and it's. Not a, sparse. And you know we were concentrated. Area so I think. I think there's. That, benefit. Of, just, selling yourself you know that's the thing we we. Do a good job of making sure folks know, and. We communicate well. As far as the success, and, as I said earlier, you, know it's, not about winning, and losing it's about winning and learning and anytime we have visitors, we try to make. Sure that they know all. Sides of. Anything. That we use and. The. Ups and downs we've had with it because it's and, dr. Aiken cannot allude, to that but it's not been you, know it's not an easy path to go down it. Is definitely a difficult, path but. At the same time if you have that entrepreneurial, spirit and then. You'll be successful but dr. Aiken may want to speak because they have a little bit more. And. I just real quick themself because I say the yellow timer that were getting closer, to the end but. You, know one of the problems, with pricing, models is it. Was this price for 5000, students or less let them work for small rural districts, and so we're. Continually. Saying, you know it's not really fair to charge us at school price, when, when I have a middle school that has 275. Kids and, we're. Pretty, adamant. About. Develop. A pricing model that works for us and and the, companies that are truly, one of the partners, make that happen and in others we just have to move on to different, solutions, great. I want, to get in a couple of more questions before we run out of time and here's a great question question. From Lori Hauer who. Wants to know how your. Teachers, and your staff are trained, to support, all. Of this technology in, this individualized. Learning. Personalized. Learning because, not everyone, is a former. Computer science teacher or someone. Who feels comfortable, with technology how does. Your PD work there and how do you support teachers. One. Of the things that we've, had to do and I will give a shout-out to one of our partners we use a, consulting. Firm in elements, that has really worked a lot with with, the world districts, around personalized. Learning I mentioned. Earlier you know five people in the central office we don't we, don't have that spur kids to know how to implement, real, personalized, learning and have that research so that's, part of what we did is we you. Know short. Term we were well on out some outside folks to really help. Us but then we're also involved with League of innovative schools which is a great group that they're, you know we can talk to districts around the company in a while over the country, and rely on each other to say okay well we did this and it worked and we did this and it was a disaster, so it's. Really important, to collaborate with other districts, as well. That's. Great do you want to chime in here Adam cuz I'm sure you have, teachers.
Of Different technology. Abilities. In your school. As. I mentioned, earlier. We we. Try to pair those, that, are. Lacking. Or, just, a hard transition for, them with, those that are really. Good with embracing, technology and. It's. Always it's. Always one, of those aha moments once, I have the comforts of dealing. With some. Of the technology it's much, easier for them to make the transition I, will mention that. We also, utilize. Features. With, them each school it's. Kinda like the technology, guru. And they. Go along and, they assist during, the day with. Our teachers who are struggling, to disaggregate, data or. Even. Just you. Know just go on through a program and how the best utilize it and so those. Teachers. Have, really. Done a good job of getting in there being good, tech facilitators. And you, know our media specialists, they've kind of had to change their role they. Too have. Taken on more. Of, a. Truly. Media, person, and that they have to deal with our computers, and try to make sure that if, the computer is broken to get, a replacement. Because. We don't we just don't take your computer once I would you don't have a computer we have to have a replacement, ready, for them and. So. It's. Just it's a change dynamic, for everybody, in the building and and. Asking teachers what are your needs to make sure that we provide the correct, professional, development, to them based. On their needs and may some of things that we see through observations. Great. I want to get in one more. Quick question we. Had a great, question from Kimberly, Roberts, morandi who wants to know about appropriate. Use by students, on these devices I mean they take their Mac books home I believe they. Have. School-sponsored. Internet access and, they have access at school how do you make sure that students, are using their devices appropriately. When. You have such a heavy emphasis on, on, EdTech. We. Try to focus on being proactive and, we have a you, know focus on digital citizenship. We're. A little odd and that we give our our kids, administrative. Access to their devices so we really want it could be a personal learning device. And. We also don't separate, discipline, we don't have a separate, discipline, policy, for technology, and a separate discipline, policy, for other. You, know other areas, so we, really think that technologies. Intertwine. With who, we are and. Most. Importantly, I think we we try to be proactive and. Then. You, know when when kids make mistakes we, you. Know we do our best to change their behavior that's. Great well, I want to end the qat there, I'm sure we could talk all afternoon about this but it's. Time now for a quick message from our sponsor, mastery, connect. Thank. You so, again, really inspiring. To hear what's going on in Piedmont, and mastery, connected certainly you know privileged and honored to be a partner, of Piedmont, and really. The questions, have been coming up about you know how these systems are implemented how teachers can be trained on technology. And personalized. Learning can actually be put into place really. For us always, comes back to that question that teachers are always asking how, do I help my students, we're. A company made up of former educators, and all of us at one point or another when we were in the classroom we're, faced with that challenge how do I help my students. We. Know that teachers are oftentimes trying. To personalize, learning and, identify, the needs of students on their, own using. Their own spreadsheets. Their, own wall charts they've created here's, an example of something we see when. We travel the country teachers trying, to do this on their own and, when teachers are collecting, evidence, of student learning. They're. Taking, stacks, of this evidence home, and trying. To call from that and synthesize, what exactly. Their students, need so. What mastery connect what, we've tried to do is, focus, on how we can make this better for students, clearer. To parents, and easier. For teachers and. It's. Matt and and Adam both alluded to one, of the ways we do this clearly, in mastery, Connect it's, helping, the teachers specifically. Identify. The needs. The strength of their students, aligned, to standards whatever. Your state standards, are or whatever national, set of standards you're using you, have over a million standards. In mastery, connect so it's very easy for teachers to, see a clear, identification, of, what their students know what, their students can do and what. Their students still need help on really, taking that process, the teachers have often been doing by hand and putting. This into into. Electronic. Practice, the teachers can easily see what their students, need. In. Addition to that making. The learning very personal. For students so the individual. Student, can always log in and see exactly where. They are you. Know when I taught middle school I can't, tell you the number of time that students, would say to me mr., Seamon why did you give me this grade or how am i doing in your class we.
Want Students. To own that we want students, to own that information, and be, able to clearly see the specific, standards, and skills they're succeeding, on as well, as the standards and skills for which they need remediation, not. Only, so those students can ask for help but, those students can feel empowered to, make educational. Choices to help themselves to access, resources, retake, assessments, do those kinds of things right, on line right through mastery. Connect providing, a. Tool. To, really help drive student, learning that students can participation. In. Addition, giving, teachers and administrators. The, ability to, create growth reports, its mastery connect as a tool that's being used at the classroom level to, drive learning. And being used by students. To really focus on their individual, strengths to need the. Ability for educators. To take a step back and create, growth reports, to, give pre, and post assessments, to demonstrate, and prove that this. Process, is working that day to day, individualized. Personalized, learning in the classroom, is, having, a larger, impact I can see the growth that's happening from point A to point B the fact we allow you to document, that in mastery, Connect and demonstrate. And show that growth is really important. In. Addition, to that and speaking specifically. To the challenges. That rural. School, districts, face but really the teachers all across the country face is the, idea of how they can connect. With others and prevent, themselves from having to reinvent the wheel, master, connect provides tools, to allow teachers to collaborate to. Share ideas to share assessments, both, within their own teams across. Their districts, and across the country as I mentioned earlier with over 2 million, teachers utilizing. Our solutions, master. Connect provides familiar. Social. Networking tools, that allow teachers to follow. One another and to collaborate around, resources. And around assessments. We're. Close to 1 million, teacher. Created, assessments, in mastering, connect you're, able to identify, specific, standards, and standard aligned assessments so. That instead, of a kid having to reinvent the wheel teachers. Can connect, and collaborate with, one another you. May be the only teacher in your County, it's teaching AP chemistry but, there are ap chemistry teachers, all around the country who are new to using, mastery, connect creating. Their own assessments, discovering. Resources. And sharing, those resources through mastery, connect so. This, is the way we seek to help teachers, ultimately. Inform. Parents and most importantly, help their students, with, personalized, learning and standards-based, mastery, based growth.
And. If you have any questions, about master, connect you want more information about mastery, next you go to mastery, connect comm, slash ed week to get a personalized, demo and learn a little bit more about what our solution, does to, help students. Thank. You I want. To thank Adam. And. Matt. For great, presentations. And I want to remind everyone, out there that, if you want to watch today's presentation. Again an on-demand. Archive, will be made available through. Ed week org, within the next 24, hours and, you, can also visit Edwin org, to find articles that explore. Today's topic, so once again thanks to our guests, and thanks for all of you for what. You.