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Striving to fully engage students and stakeholders
Striving to fully engage students and stakeholders
Posted on 04/29/2016

In an effort to improve instruction, student growth and achievement, the Puyallup School District constantly evaluates existing practices and strives to implement practices which will best serve students and families.
During the next several months, two separate but related initiatives will be the focus of the Technology Services Department and the Communications and Information Department. These include the redesign of a Content Management System (CMS) and the implementation of a Learning Management System (LMS).
Content Management System
The district’s website is the centerpiece of an important communications network containing current and relevant information available to stakeholders 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
After completely restructuring the PSD website a few years ago, the district has worked hard to provide a site rich with relevant content.  To better serve our community, we intend to expand the scope and direction of the website, along with social media, to take advantage of new technology and make use of the most effective communication tools.
The changes made to the Puyallup School District website in 2013 were significant. Over the past three years efforts have been made to improve the district’s presence on the internet, providing stakeholders with timely and accurate information using a CMS called Edline. 
Changes were well received, and evidence shows the website is used extensively. However, some aspects of the Edline system do not fully meet communication goals and the vendor is no longer designing upgrades for their product. For example, the district is now pursuing the implementation of an LMS during the 2016-17 school year since the current communications platform, Edline, cannot meet district expectations. For these reasons, the district is moving away from Edline and seeking a new content management system.
Over the past several months, staff from the Technology Services Department have been working with staff from the Communications and Information Department to reconsider the elements needed for an effective CMS. The new website will serve all schools, programs, and departments of the district and will continue to serve as the primary source of current and relevant news and information about the Puyallup School District.
It is important that the parents, community members, students, and staff of Puyallup have access to important school district information online. In an ever expanding world of digital communications, it is critically important the district has a reliable and effective website for all stakeholders.
 Learning Management System
In the classroom, Puyallup students will soon find teachers are better equipped to engage today’s learners. The implementation of a Learning Management System (LMS) is the practical goal of an initiative titled Empowering Puyallup: It’s all about the learning.
Empowering Puyallup is an initiative designed to maximize PSD students’ opportunities for collaboration, communication, and extended learning through the use of technology.  Although the initiative features technology as a facilitator of this kind of student achievement, technology is not the focus.  Rather, the focus of Empowering Puyallup is the way students learn, the way teachers interact with students, and the way parents stay engaged in their student’s education.
With the LMS initiative, the district strives to provide teachers with a single platform for all district-approved resources  Effective collection and management of learning resources will create opportunities for educators to make use of Open Education Resources (OER), which are freely accessible, openly-licensed materials found online and useful for teaching and learning.
Recently, a group of 40 participants spent a Saturday listening to vendor presentations and rating the products for final recommendation. Educators, students, and parents processed the data and came to consensus that Schoology would best fit the vision of the Empowering Puyallup initiative. The school board has approved this recommendation.
The successful implementation of both a CMS and an LMS will require plenty of planning by district leadership. The inclusion of parents, teachers, and students in the process should help facilitate a smooth transition and well-vetted products. Success will also require frequent communications and careful understanding of the ways the CMS and LMS will differ and complement each other. 
To stay informed of the progress, visit the PSD homepage and find the Empowering Puyallup button. Regular updates and news stories will be added on a weekly basis.