In 2016, Elkhart began transitioning to digital age teaching and learning through a myriad of ways. First, Elkhart piloted 85 carts of chromebooks in secondary classrooms throughout the 2016-2017 school year. Second, Elkhart teachers began to use Canvas as our learning management system proving them and their students the platform to engage with a digital curriculum. Third, to prepare teachers for the district’s 1:1 initiative, the district provided professional development for our early adopters throughout the 2016-2017 school year. Over 400 ECS teachers have completed a four week instructional boot camp to open their eyes to 21st century pedagogy. Teachers who successfully completed the four week professional development series received an iPad and training to spark their thinking about creating lessons that increase student engagement, foster critical thinking, increase literacy, and cover academic standards in innovative way across the curriculum. Teachers who completed this initial four week training program were eligible to participate in Phase II. This three week long training series focuses on reinforcing the themes of Phase I of literacy, critical thinking, and engagement. During Phase II training, teachers were exposed to a variety of new tools and are expected to create new unit plans incorporating skills and tools they learned during Phase I and II.
Elkhart is currently in the implementation phase of our 1:1 program. Two Elkhart schools, Mary Beck Elementary and Pierre Moran Middle School, received School Improvement Grants, which provided funding for new and innovative programs. A portion of the School Improvement Grant was allocated towards device purchases providing the opportunity for these two schools to move forward with an iPad 1:1 in the fall of 2017. Teachers at both Pierre Moran and Mary Beck are currently engaged in professional development to prepare them to teach in a 1:1 environment. These workshops focus on student engagement, developing critical thinkers, literacy across the curriculum, classroom management, and interdisciplinary lesson planning.
2017-2018: High Schools
Students at Elkhart Memorial High School and Elkhart Central High School will be provided an iPad to use in their classes and at home to support their learning beginning in the fall of 2018. To prepare teachers for this change, the district provided professional development for our early adopters throughout the 2016-2017 school year. All high school teachers received an iPad in May 2017 with the expectation that they will use it over the summer to become more familiar with the device. In addition all teachers in the district are encouraged to participate in the Apple Teacher Program, “a free professional learning program designed to support and celebrate educators using Apple products for teaching and learning.”
Once a month during the 2017-2018 school year, high school teachers will be working with our innovative learning coaches to discover how students can use the iPad to increase their literacy and comprehension, create authentic digital artifacts that demonstrate their learning, and tackle real world problems. In addition to the seven early release Wednesday workshops, teachers from both high schools will participate in a institute day on February 7th dedicated to innovative teaching practices.
2017-2018: Middle Schools
Pierre Moran Middle School became 1:1 with iPads in August of 2017. Teachers at Pierre Moran were given iPads, along with over 12 hours of professional development across three months to prepare them for August. Teachers at West Side and North Side will have the option to attend Phase I and Phase II innovative teaching workshops throughout the year. As teachers complete these trainings, they will receive iPads for their classrooms as outlined in our phase training documentation. In addition, all teachers in the district are encouraged to participate in the Apple Teacher Program, “a free professional learning program designed to support and celebrate educators using Apple products for teaching and learning.” West Side and North Side will be going 1:1 with iPads in January of 2019. In preparation for going 1:1, teachers at West Side and North Side who have not attended Phase trainings will receive iPads in December of 2017 and over 9 hours of professional development prior to students receiving devices in January of 2019.
Teachers at the elementary level will attend Phase I and Phase II innovative teaching workshops throughout the 2017-2018 school year. As teachers complete these trainings, they will receive iPads for their classrooms as outlined in our phase training documentation. In addition, teachers will have access to several chromebook carts in their media libraries to check out and use with their students.