VILSBacktoSchool2

Going back to school is an exciting and busy time for teachers and school administrators. There’s a ton of work to be done, from creating lesson plans, to preparing classrooms, to welcoming new students. Kicking off a new school year is a challenge in itself, but what happens when a school is also starting a new technology initiative that provides always available access to all students and teachers?

The 25 newest Verizon Innovative Learning Schools (VILS) are tackling this challenge now. At the VILS Summer Convening in June, new educators who are just getting started on the journey had the opportunity to learn from the experiences of educators from VILS Cohorts 1 and 2. Here are the three key lessons learned from these schools that other teachers can incorporate before the new school year begins:

Get buy-in from leadership, teachers, and the community

It’s critical that schools have buy-in from key stakeholders as they commit to a learning transformation. Before the new school year begins, schools should focus on securing commitments across the board. Teachers receive their devices in the spring semester so they can become more comfortable using new technology in their lessons by the fall, and can focus on how they’ll leverage it to enhance learning.

Watch this video to learn how Vista Unified School District built excitement within school communities by focusing on the learning impact of technology:

Clarify roles and expectations

There will be many new changes in the upcoming school year, especially after students receive their tablets at the rollout event. School leadership teams should meet regularly throughout the summer to make sure everyone is clear on their goals and responsibilities. Has the principal found time in the schedule for a storytelling class? Does the coach have a plan for keeping the focus on learning goals and not on technology? In this video, coaches and storytellers from Cohort 1 share a few helpful tips:

Focus on the story — everyone’s a storyteller!

For every VILS site, we’ve stressed the importance of storytelling, both as evidence of learning and as an opportunity for a school to share its story. What is your school doing that is amazing and unique? What makes your students special? How does your school’s environment support student learning?

As the first day of school approaches, the entire school community should think about what stories they want to tell this year. Site storytellers are directly tasked with seeking out these stories and empowering a student team, but every teacher in the school should remember that they too are storytellers! Learn more about the impact of storytelling in this video:


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