Board Approves New Learning Management System Vendor
Board Approves New Learning Management System Vendor
Posted on 04/01/2016

This article is second in a series on the Empowering Puyallup initiative which is a technology-focused project featuring the implementation of a Learning Management System (LMS) and the roll out of one-to-one devices for Puyallup students.
 
An important component of the Empowering Puyallup initiative is the implementation of a Learning Management System (LMS).  An LMS is a digital communication tool for students, teachers, and parents to use for collaboration and communication.  "A new LMS must be carefully selected with changing times in mind," says Mark Vetter, director of instructional leadership, head of the Empowering Puyallup initiative.

For teachers, an LMS will enhance collaboration with staff, allow for sharing curriculum and learning resources, enhance professional engagement and communication with parents, and also allow for professional development that would be digitally available.

Vetter went on to explain, "The new digital platform will give students, teachers, and parents the ability to interact at a depth that was previously unimaginable". 
 
Choosing a new learning management system with this much potential to enhance teaching, collaborating, and learning must be carefully evaluated. Vendor presentations were made on February 6  at the Puyallup School District Education Service Center to an audience of staff, students and parents.

The vendors presented the technological background of the software to a group of the Technology Services team, teachers, principals, and directors who will be working with the digital platform, and also to students and parents who will be using the platform.

 "We aren't making this decision lightly" said Dr. Glenn Malone, executive director of assessment, accountability & student success. "And the evidence is in the work that went into all 40 of these people at this meeting".

One of the software vendors commented, "Most districts never get input from parents and students. This is what makes Puyallup School District different." Over the course of three years and hundreds of software presentations to different districts from the vendors, Puyallup School District was one of three districts to take student and parent input into consideration.

A student from Rogers High School commented "You really never stop learning, and how learning can be enhanced with technology is really amazing". The student then went on to say "[A new LMS] will really enhance the way future students can learn. By being able to access information faster and collaborating more, it will keep learning from feeling boring."

Puyallup School District turned to the two leading vendors to present their software. They were commissioned to show how their product could enhance the education of students in our district and the way teachers collaborate with those students.

Having heard from the highly-regarded vendors Canvas and Schoology, the lead team unanimously decided that Schoology best fit the vision of Puyallup School District. It was agreed that Schoology will support the strategic direction of improving instruction, student growth, and achievement.

The recommendation of Schoology as the LMS vendor was presented to the Puyallup School District Board of Directors for their consideration at the School Board meeting on February 22.

"On February 6 we had 40 people give their time on a Saturday to come listen to presentations from two different vendors," said Vetter. "After a full day of presentations and then gathering the feedback from everybody, the evidence was overwhelming, that the lead team would like to recommend Schoology as our LMS vendor. The lead team of teachers and principals were unanimous in their recommendation"

Later in the meeting the Board of Directors approved Schoology to be the provider of the new LMS digital platform.