Nine school districts, including for the first time one operating overseas, have been accepted into the League of Innovative Schools, a national coalition of districts and educational agencies collaborating in using technology to transform teaching and learning for better student outcomes.
With the addition of these nine districts, the league is now comprised of 46 school districts and education agencies in 25 states, representing nearly 3 million students. It is a K-12 initiative of Digital Promise, a bipartisan nonprofit authorized by Congress to spur innovation in education.
The new districts will be brought on board this week during the organization’s spring conference in Tucson, hosted by the Sunnyside Unified School District, a 6,300-student district that has been a member of the league for a year.
The new districts are:
- Department of Defense Education Activity Kaiserslautern District in Kaiserslautern, Germany, which serves more than 11,500 students, mostly children of American military members stationed in that area;
- Highline Public Schools in Burien, Wash., where 105 languages are spoken among 17,330 students and families served by the district;
- Knox County Schools in Knoxville, Tenn., a 56,000-student district where laptops have been deployed in a 1-to-1 learning environment in six middle and high schools, and where a blended learning model is used in seven elementary schools
- Lexington County School District One in Lexington, SC, where 17,000 iPads have been made available for the use of staff and elementary, middle, and high school students;
- Mentor Public Schools, a 7,700-student district in Mentor, Ohio that won four #BestEdTech awards for its blended learning program at the Ohio Educational Technology Conference;
- Pascack Valley Regional High School District in Montvale, N.J., which is comprised of two high schools serving more than 2,000 students. The district’s 1-to-1-one initiative was launched in 2004;
- Richland School District Two in Columbia, S.C., which counts 21,000 of its 27,000 K-12 students as taking part in its one-to-one initiative;
- Rowan-Salisbury Schools in Salisbury, N.C. which employs 29 full-time technology facilitators throughout the district’s 35 schools to provide on-site, embedded professional development to teachers; and,
- South Fayette Township School District, a rural district in McDonald, Pa. with 2,800 students, which conducts an outreach program for curriculum development, teacher training, and classroom support to partner schools in the Pittsburgh region.
The nine new members are chosen from “a competitive national pool of applicants,” said Jason Tomassini, communications director for Digital Promise. His organization does not publicize how many applications are in the pool from which new league members are chosen, he said. However, more applications will be accepted for later this year, and another cohort of new members will be selected in advance of the organization’s second 2014 conference, which will be held in October.
“Our meetings are a way to build momentum,” Tomassini said, giving districts opportunities to share new initiatives, make progress on existing ones, and to find out what works.