To prepare students for success in post-secondary education, work and life, Woodhaven-Brownstown School District (WBSD) includes technical components early on in its curriculum. Despite familiarizing students with computers at a young age, nothing could have prepared the WBSD community—and nearly all school districts in Michigan—for the resources and upgrades needed during the pandemic.
Even in today’s digital landscape, shifting a school district of more than 6,000 staff and students into a completely virtual model needed additional planning and external support. Communications By Design, an education technology consulting company was engaged to provide a two-day crash course called Remote Learning Essentials to all WBSD educators.
The course taught teachers how to effectively manage groups of students digitally and provided tips for remote learning. WBSD used Google Classroom to complete its transition to remote learning, with the goal of achieving the following foundational elements:
Learn to effectively use education management systems such as Google Classroom and Seesaw
Deliver curricula in effective ways, e.g., via video recordings
Utilize new systems to track and gather data
Provide social-emotional learning through a strange and stressful time
As the school year went on and schools returned to in-person learning, WBSD reengaged Communications by Design for additional technology support and professional development. The company provides counsel and support by identifying vendors and technological supplies needed across the district. Using funding made available through the bond passed in May 2021, WBSD is workingwith Communications by Design to update technology equipment across the district, from the security door locks to the telephones in each classroom. Also supported through the bond for the next 12 to 15 years is one-to-one technology. This initiative provides every student, from young fives to 12th grade, access to a Chromebook or iPad—another effort launched with support from Communications by Design.
Additionally, Communications By Design is supporting WBSD teachers through a professional development course called Teaching For Tomorrow. The first group of 20 teachers took part in this program during the summer as a research development group. Eventually, all WBSD teachers will take the course to ensure that every student has access to a teacher trained in the best instructional technology practices. The course is designed to help educators grow in their craft, while coaching them on how to prepare students to be active members of society.
At WBSD, we are relentlessly committed to providing our students and staff with the tools and resources they need to thrive—and that includes ensuring access to technology. Through the partnership with Communications by Design, the district is delivering on that commitment.