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2016 Summer Leadership Academy #innovation

More than 100 principals, teachers, and district administrators gathered at Soldotna Prep School May 24-25, 2016, for two days of learning and collaboration. Day one focused on blended, online and video conference learning, and day two centered on KPBSD Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), student data, and school improvement planning. Excellent staff presentations showcased how innovative practices are being used in KPBSD classrooms, and in online and blended learning environments.

“The purpose is to reflect on the year, develop priorities for next year and learn more about a particular district priority,” said Sean Dusek, superintendent. “The vision is to use the time to develop the culture of continuous improvement and empower teacher leadership that can help our schools take the next step in instructional improvement. I believe it went well and was very proud of the teacher showcases. We have many teachers and schools making strides toward preparing students for life. We are improving upon meeting the individual needs of students and moving toward 24/7 learning opportunities. Technology is one tool that helps us differentiate instruction, engage students in and out of the classroom and focus on developing positive relationships. These are exciting times in education and as we continue to utilize collaborative practices and empower more teachers in their leadership, we will continue seeing gains in student achievement across the board.”

Blended Learning and Learning Management Systems (LMS)

Education and instructional practices continue to evolve at a rapid rate. Today, and into the future, teacher instruction will be different from when many of us were in school. Only a few years ago, terms such as “blended learning” and “Learning Management Systems” weren’t invented yet, let alone common place in educational jargon, and put into practice.

KPBSD has undertaken a significant learning initiative in the area of digital technology and blended learning. Blended learning occurs anytime a student learns at least in part at a supervised brick-and-mortar school location away from home, and at least in part through online delivery with some element of student control over time, place, path, and, or pace. Blended learning is often used synonymously with “hybrid learning.” The intent behind blended learning is to personalize the learning experience for each student—focusing their individual learning at a time, place, path, and pace that meets their unique learning needs.

An important tool that teachers and students need in order to maximize blended learning is a Learning Management System (LMO). A LMS is an online tool that simplifies teaching and learning by connecting all the digital tools teachers and students use in one easy place. An LMS is available any time or any place students have access to a device and the internet. There are many LMS products available and KPBSD partnered Instructure to bring Canvas to teachers and students. Canvas integrates seamlessly with PowerSchool, our Student Information System.

KPBSD Canvas fast facts:

  • We introduced and rolled-out Canvas in August, 2015, with 29 teachers utilizing it to teach 68 courses to 182 teachers
  • In May 2016, 196 teachers were using Canvas to creatively teach 638 courses to 2,500 students
  • In 2016-2017, KPBSD will continue to provide professional development opportunities to encourage our staff in the use of Canvas as a learning management system

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