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Empowering Puyallup initiative supports remote learning
Posted on 04/24/2020
Empowering Puyallup initiative supports remote learning

Empowering Puyallup initiative provides students with tools for remote learning

When schools were closed on March 18 under the direction of the Governor’s stay home order, an initiative the Puyallup School District has in place became even more valuable than anyone could have imagined.

Every student in grades 4–12 in the district already has a computer assigned to them.

Secondary students are allowed to bring the computer home with them, and now 4-6 grade students also have their computer at home to continue learning and stay connected to teachers and classmates.

Platforms are currently in place for students to access assignments, educational resources, grades, and teachers. One of those platforms is Schoology, which provides a networking service and virtual learning environment for K-12 and allows users to create, manage, and share academic content. Parents also have electronic access to students’ grades, homework assignments, and online communication with teachers.

Digital instruction is more than computers.  It is creating systems where students are automatically logged into learning, seamlessly and securely.  It is the filters, the parent controls, the support for our learners.  All the work done with Schoology, Clever, and Microsoft to ensure seamless classroom instruction is paying off in our distance learning endeavors.” 
Mark Vetter, Executive Director of Instructional Technology.

Empowering Puyallup

The Empowering Puyallup initiative began three years ago with the goal to provide a computer for every student in grades 4-12.

By the Fall 2019 the goal was met.

Students in grades 7-12 were allowed take their computer home daily to continue their studies. Students in grades 4-6 had a computer assigned to them for use during the school day, which they are now allowed to have at home during the school closures.

Grades K-3 share carts of computers between four classrooms during the school day, so instead they received packets of work to take home with them during the closure.

“This is a game changer for some students who previously may not have had access to a computer at the end of the day. We are doing everything we can to reduce barriers to help students get access to our Schoology Learning Management System,” says Vetter.

EdTec continues to support students

The Educational Technology staff continue to support students and teachers during the school closures. They remain open with controlled access for social distancing to allow students and parents/guardians to bring their school-issued computers in for repair or questions if they have problems.

“EdTec provides the ability for our students and staff to work remotely.  All the work we’ve done over the past three years to prepare and roll-out Empowering Puyallup allowed us to transition seamlessly to distance learning,” says Vetter.

    During the second week of April, students logged into the district’s Clever portal 107,580     times. Clever is the ‘one-stop-shopping’ portal to access the district’s resources and platforms.

    During that same week more than 3,431 parents/guardians accessed Schoology.

Students without access to the internet can continue to use the computer for assignments while at home, and they have access to teachers via telephone. Copies and packets are distributed to students as needed.

Empowering Puyallup was created to increase engagement and achievement for all students.  Giving every student access to current technology empowers them to reimagine their learning and their future.  Teachers are provided with the tools they need to personalize instruction and prepare students for a technology-driven world.

“The Puyallup School District was among the leaders in continuing learning and engagement with technology due to Empowering Puyallup.  We were able to successfully provide teacher training, learning management software, and computers for home use in grades 4-12 without any additional funding or cost to the taxpayers,” says Vetter.