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USA - ICT - 2014

I was privileged to  visit the United States with my great friend Maurice Rehu on Innes Kennard's and Stuart Hale's North American Apple Tour. This was provided by Frasertown School as part on my ongoing professional development. The tour was an opportunity to see what Apple Education looks like in the USA and how we can utilise this to better inform our choices for 21st Century Learning here in New Zealand. We envisage linking back to the schools though Twitter and Skype to give our students an insight into a different culture and giving them the example that real people in their lives can and do get to see different cultures.

Innes Kennard and Stewart Hale are leading their annual tour of schools in California (8th year). The primary focus is on the management, deployment and classroom use of tablet technologies. Secondary to this will be leadership, 1:1 learning environments, other technologies and of course classroom/school approaches to learning.

The format will include: Schools visits - 14 schools covering wide range of deciles and levels. Staff, principals and district specialists will work with us and be available to answer questions.

The schools we will be visiting Escondido, Felicia, Central, Innovation Middle, Encintias, Paul Ecke, Ocean Knoll, Tustin, Fullerton, Fisler, Olivewood, Castilleja, Menlo Park, Sacred Heart, Marin, and Monte Vista.
We acknowledge our friends and fellow collaborators who helped with notes, challenged our ideas, and shared their thinking. Rachel, Leigh, Jaco, Mike, Maree, Glen the Guru, James, Mark, Luke, and Lynda you guys are absolutely amazing people. To Innes and Stuart, thank you for opening the doors to all the wonderful schools we visited and for the many hours of driving.

Monday - Week 1
Reidy Creek School - Escondido - California

We arrived at Reidy Creek School and were met by the Escondido District Office Technology Team led by the wonderful Kathy. We had an opportunity to visit a few classes and had a chance to tlk to teachers and students. The school has a focus on academic excellence with our shift to the new Common Core State Standards. The Common Core State Standards focus on "the 4 Cs", Collaboration, Communication, Critical Thinking, and Creativity. The teachers we observed used instructional strategies to engage students and bring out the best in each of them as learners as we work toward the standards. They have a focus where they use their focus on their mascot (Coyote) to encourage students to be productive citizens that make a difference in their community. In order to achieve all of our goals, they remind students and families what it means to be a Reidy Creek Coyote:

What is a Reidy Creek Coyote?
Achieves at high levels of academic excellence, and is accountable for their own learningAcademic AchievementIs consistently eager to learn and strives to improve.PerseveranceActs with responsibility, courtesy, and pride, helping others at school and in our community, and leads others by example.Positive LeadershipUses their imagination to develop new and original ideas.Creativity and InnovationHas a positive attitude and is excited to be at school and learning.
Reidy creek starts at age 4. They call this grade kinder. Colaboration is a large focus of this school and they share with other teachers in order to get the best out of their team. Teachers take part in regular professional development that is provided for free. The school has been introducing iPad minis to replace iPods. The principal was extremely busy gettting the students ready to to complete state testing online for the first time. We were very lucky to be able to visit this school!
We were impressed with a few apps we saw and will research them further when we return to New Zealand. These were; Wicksey - shape hunt Kodeable - building basic coding skills Subtext - working with emodo - polls and questions. Text import, voice.

Central School - Escondido - California

Central School was built in 1935 and most of the students live within walking distance. All students are taught in a learning environment where a college-bound belief system is cultivated. We were impressed with the college flags that were hanging down outside all the classrooms. Positive character traits are taught, modeled, and reinforced through their PAWS education program, this is the same as the PB4L that we have in NZ. Every decision they make is driven by the belief that all students can and will achieve. High expectations and strong support for student learning are how they work to ensure every child is successful. They are committed to helping every student meet the high expectations represented by our California State Standards. Teachers, like Reidy Creek, are committed to ongoing professional development activities that focus on collaboratively analyzing data, setting learning targets, developing enduring understandings, asking essential questions, differentiating instructional practices, and choosing formative assessments. All of our teachers work together in grade level teams to continue to monitor growth and set academic goals for all students. At Central School they have positive partnerships that have been developed with families in their learning community. The school is considered low socioeconomic and many of their students receive free or reduced lunches.
Escondido District Education Board
We had an opportunity to have a Q and A session with the District Superintendent and the Technology Team. Below is a transcript of this time.

Q: How do you manage the purchase of apps?

A: for a long time, just free apps but for SPED they are doing VPP - each school doing their own account, still a clunky process

Q: Testing after break

A: new state testing for us, asking kids to think which is very different from the tests we are used to, it is taking longer than we anticipated and has some glitches

Q: can they test on their iPads?

A: yes, but only with a certain screen size plus keyboard and mouse

Q: How did you roll out the iPads?

A: K-8 school district, largest school district outside of san diego city schools, 23 schools, largest K-5 is 900+, largest 6-8 is 1600+, 53% are ELLS, provides a lot of challenges, schools were built in the 1950s, hoping to push a technology and infrastructure bond, we need 75 million to fix our schools’ buildings and networking. 73% free lunch in Escondido. E-rate funding program provides money and discounts for schools to upgrade their networks. Devices just exploded and then we needed a better infrastructure to support them. Started small in 2006 with the classic iPod, then the ipod touch was introduced, Heather Peterson was one of the first iPod touch classes, then 12 classes, then 35, entire school of 1:1 iPod (federal funding b/c of restructuring/turnaround status), 150 classes now have a 1:1 situation. PD - we have always started small with a core group of trailblazers, then spread out from there. Application process, technology is not forced. Equity can still be an issue. We don’t have the resources to make everybody a 1:1, and teachers can’t be forced to use it. Some principals choose to buy devices and then send the teachers to the PD meetings. We have really tried to build a professional development community of learners. Monthly meetings 2 hours, sometimes share time, training break-out sessions (MBC, Subtext). Teachers have to complete 1 year of training, then the get to keep the small set of devices, if they want to be a 1:1 classroom, they have to keep coming to the monthly meetings. Now using mentor teachers, 12 currently, to help support the entire group and provide the training and guidance during the sharing sessions. We have had more sped teachers participating and this is a challenge because of the diverse nature of the group.


Q: How much do the teachers generate the meetings vs. the DO?

A: Using padlet to take requests for training.

Q: Does everyone who applies get a chance to participate in iREAD?
A: No. We are really looking for learners who are committed (and who can attend meetings scheduled ahead of time). Most people who apply are accepted but we often run out of money. Principals can fund their own teachers. 

Q: The money conversation. How does it work?
A: Each state is responsible to fund public education, there are federal programs that a state can participate in. 15% of EUSD’s funding comes from federal level, rest comes from state level. 15% is pretty high b/c of high pop of ELLs. Between the state and county (11 counties in CA), the school district belongs to SD County Office of ED, state decides how much money to give schools, from the May numbers the district plans the budget accordingly. Some items are standing like servers, network, laptops. iRead doesn’t fit nicely into a category but every year there is money carved out for iREAD. Bad budget years recently but we have continued to fund iREAD. Demand far outpaces what we can fund. Very few teachers have their devices collected and redistributed.

Q: Board governance - how does it all work?

A: Superintendent is hired by the board. Board determines policy and makes fiscal decisions. Instructional leadership is done at the district level and at the site level. Some money is for the district and some is for the school. Schools can determine their own goals and sometimes they align and sometimes they don’t. Schools submit their plans (single plan for student achievement) to get approval. Technology goals and tech integration are a part of this plan. This plan includes budget.

Q: How do you decide to spend the money?

A: School site council, parent stakeholders, community input meetings - all these groups advocate for their ideas, school board meetings are business meetings and board meeting have a public comment section.

Q: What is the role of the principal?A: Role of the principal is the key instructional leader of the site, giving feedback to teachers. Principals also do budget, and manage the school. Last year we did a lot of PD around student engagement. Principals can give feedback to teachers around student engagement. Principals can learn from other teachers and their use of technology, esp to differentiate instruction.

Q: School goals?

A: Principal leads the school site council, group of parents and teachers.

Q: Does a principal hire people?

A: Yes, they help hire but the DO also hires people.
People outside know what we’re doing better than our own people. Worked with a local foundation to get a grant to get principals and leadership members iPads (50,000). Same type of PD as the teachers - monthly meetings that are required. What can having a mobile device do to help you as a leader? Helped the leaders understand what was going on in the classrooms. Using google forms for observations. Using the camera to document good inst strategies. Check email on the go. Take a picture of a maintenance issue and email to team so it can be addressed asap. We started opening up our classrooms to parents and community members so they could see what was going on. We needed to get over the barrier that technology is just for games. We had to change the community awareness.


Q: Digital festival? Who gets invited?

A: iVIE awards - count wide-program San Diego County, they run the awards and students and teachers submit videos. 400 videos submitted county wide. Out of the judging comes the nomination list. Anybody can come to the awards. Award ceremony is May 6, run like the oscars. EUSD got a lot of nominations, 20 of the 40 nominations.



A: To let the community know what we are doing, we started EYMF - video, audio, photography. Kids get prizes for their work. Sometimes our community doesn’t know what we are doing and they think of Public education as bad for kids.


Q: EdTech2Escondido

A: Student and teacher demonstrations, community members invited so they could see what’s going on first hand from the students. Community presentations, list of awards, showcased needs, business people targeted. International visitors. Our community doesn’t know that EUSD is being visited internationally. This isn’t normal - EUSD is extraordinary.


Q: iVIE awards helped them design their own award ceremony - thanks EUSD for the idea!

A: Suggests a category for teachers.

Q: What is the term of superintendent?

A: 3-5 years generally, board renews the contract yearly. Big change in the board recently. Superintendent is a difficult job to have. Jennifer has been here for almost 10 years but is retiring this year, and we are sad to see her go.


Q: How did the program first get support?

A: Jennifer (superintendent) approved the program and the initial goal and challenge was to overcome the stereotype that iPods are just music players and not for learning. At first it was an interesting use, to use the iPods in a classroom setting but now it’s commonplace for the edtech world.

Q: Online testing - does it reflect critical thinking that kids are doing with their technology?

A: Yes, we are hoping that kids can really demonstrate their learning on these new tests. Right now, its the first year of the tests and no data will be reported for several years. The test in California is called the Smarter Balanced test. Since the test is new, we won’t have any data to analyze for a few years.

Q: What kind of testing is there in NZ?

A: Trying to implement a standardized testing system. There are national standards but the teachers give individual tests. Based on overall teacher judgement. You have to make sure the teacher evaluations are accurate.


Q: NCLB - how did that affect teaching and learning?

A: Seems like a good idea in theory, but it has caused teaching to become too ‘cookie-cutter.’ Caused teachers to teach ‘by the script’ and this caused learning to lack creativity sometimes. We are trying to innovate more and getting teachers to be as innovative as they want.

Q: Content on the iPods/iPads - how do teachers sync content?

A: Easy to add content and take content off. Easy to access content via the web. Teachers sync their own content and manage it on their own. IT doesn’t manage the iPods - which is a better model for us. Nothing is locked down for the teachers or students. Part of the training is training teachers to sync their own iPods/iPads.


Q: Collaboration outside of San Diego?

A: We have started that recently with other district technology teachers, CUE (yearly tech conference), EdCampSanDiego


Q: What is Kathy’s role? Ed Tech Specialist role?

A: Primary goal is PD, but we have a lot of special projects, participation in the media festival, every year the job changes, lots of variety in the current job day to day and year to year. Creating videos, resources, answering questions, helping teachers, assisting Special Ed. Common Core Teachers - develop resources to target the CCSS standards digitally and online, develop and curate resources.

Q: How do you set up the iPods/iPads?

A: Devices require support and approval. Teachers set up their own devices and manage their own apps.


Q: IT?

A: We still have an IT department that helps fix things and set up printers. The teachers are helping the teaching and learning side of things.

Q: What your vision for the future?

A: Idea of a personal learning device is not going away. The power is a device (both good and bad) is now something we can’t live with. Information is at our fingertips 24/7. Having access 24/7 is important in our community where students don’t have access at home.


Q: How do you deal with all the changes in technology?
A: The teachers who are resistant to technology are starting to retire. Most of the PD is for the teachers not the students.

Q: Are students connected at home?

A: Some are, some are not, depending on the area. We are working with nonprofits to help get families low-cost internet and low-cost computer. Computers2SanDiegoKids (C2SDK) and Cox Communications. We have distributed over 1,700 computers to Escondido families. Most families have cell phones at home. Mobile technology is the way many companies are going - everything should be mobile friendly now. More and more things are now mobile friendly and requires fewer computers. Adults have our certain devices to do certain things but kids will just be ok doing everything on mobile. Flipping and having access at home is changing the way we do instruction. Teachers still think that we need computers to do things but kids are used to doing things on iPads/iPods.


Q: Free Wifi?

A: Starting to get more prevalent but is it still an issue here and in New Zealand. There are some initiatives in NZ to get internet access to poor communities for free. Its an equity issue- you need internet to get a job. The digital divide still exists and we are slowing trying to chip away at this problem.


End reflection:
Evidence- a reflection of what’s going on at schools, we saw evidence and students engaged, excited teachers, excited to show off, please take this back to the schoolsVision - unless somebody have the vision, nobody will see it, Kathy’s role is supporting this vision is criticalLeadership - Kathy is a great leader of moving people forward and thinking about the students and getting people onboard with the vision

Tuesday - Week 1

Longfellow School - San Diego - California


We were impressed as this school is the school where Jim Morrison, lead singer of “The Doors”, went to school. The School was established in 1977, Longfellow opened as a total-school Spanish language immersion magnet school. In a total immersion language program, all schooling in the initial years is conducted in the foreign language. This immersion method was pioneered in Canada, in the 1960’s, to teach the French language to native English speakers.
In a total immersion language program, the regular school curriculum is taught through the medium of a foreign language. Spanish is the only language of instruction from kindergarten through first Grade with our Grade 2 students receiving 90 minutes of English on Wednesday mornings. English is formally introduced in third grade. The following information shows the progression of English instruction:

Spanish Instruction English Instruction
Kinder - Grade 2 100% - 0 -
Grades 3-6 85% 15%
Grades 7-8 30% 70%

The Longfellow curriculum meets all district and state requirements. The majority of Longfellow teachers are bilingual in Spanish and English. Studies have consistently shown that immersion students do as well, and may even surpass, monolingual students on standardised measures of assessment. Spanish immersion was a highlight of this school. The aims of this immersion were:

• Develop a high level of proficiency in the foreign language.

• Develop positive attitudes toward those who speak the foreign language and toward the culture.

• Develop English language skills commensurate with expectations for students’ ages and abilities.

• Gain skills and knowledge in the content areas of the curriculum in keeping with stated objectives in these areas.

The Principles of Immersion Instruction were;

• Spanish teachers speak to students only in Spanish beginning in Kindergarten.

• Initially in kindergarten, students have the choice to speak in English or Spanish, but as they advance, they are encouraged to only speak Spanish in class.

• As students acquire language, teachers strategically correct student grammar errors in Spanish so that students do not feel inhibited. • Teachers use visuals, charts, real objects, posters, maps and engage students in hands-on activities to help convey understanding to them.

• Students develop skills that move them from listening and speaking to reading and writing.

• Students learn to read first in Spanish. The students then transfer their reading skills to English quite easily.

Wednesday - Week 1

Ocean Knoll - Encinitas - California


Ocean Knoll Elementary School is located in the western section of the City of Encinitas, serving kindergarten through sixth grade since 1959. The community is dedicated to ensuring the academic success of each individual student and providing a safe and productive learning experience. The school has developed educational programs designed to provide the skills and tools necessary for students to expand their potential while developing a strong educational base. The dedication of Ocean Knoll’s students, staff, parents, and community has resulted in the school’s California Distinguished School status
We were met by Ashley Tarquin, Director of Educational Technology and IB Coordinator, and the principal on arrival at Ocean Knoll Elementary School. From the instant we arrived in the office it had a very kiwi feel, when we visit top performing schools around the country. The friendly and approachable nature of the team at Ocean Knoll made us feel at home.

We visited several classrooms with a range of different things operating. Ashley kept us on track with a set amount of time in each class to interact with the teachers and children.

The first thing that was notable with the learning was that student’s had the choice on where they chose to work. The 2 students we meet outside were engaged in learning, collaborating and able to articulate what they were doing. Entering into the class, Students were independently working on personal tasks
The over all feel of teaching and learning looked similar to NZ schools who are on their ICT journey. We enjoyed how excited the children were towards their learning. We were interested to find that Ocean Knoll was an International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme School (ib). We think this really had an impact on why we saw the school operating like a New Zealand School, as it shared similar values to most schools in New Zealand. Some of the key features were outlined to us during the trip.

The IB programme is based on 12 key principals
· Appreciation: appreciating the wonder and beauty of the world and its people

· Commitment: being committed to their learning, preserving and showing self-discipline and responsibility

· Confidence: feeling confident in their ability as learners, having the courage to take risks, applying what they have learned and making appropriate decisions

· Cooperation: cooperating, collaborating and leading or following as the situation demands

· Creativity: being creative and imaginative in their thinking and in their approach to problems and dilemmas

· Curiosity: being curious about the nature of learning and the world, its people and cultures

· Empathy: imaginatively projecting themselves into another's situation, in order to understand his/her thoughts, reasoning and emotions

· Enthusiasm: enjoying learning · Independence: thinking and acting independently, making their own judgments based on reasoned principles and being able to defend their judgments

· Integrity: having integrity and a firm sense of fairness and honesty · Respect: respecting themselves, others and the world around them

· Tolerance: feeling sensitivity towards differences and diversity in the world and being responsive to the needs of others.

We likened the values that were happening in all classes to Whare Tapawha, with a very holistic attitude to the wellbeing of the learning community.

The Sage Garden Project is a project of a private foundation which has developed the school garden. The gardens were a standout and we were excited to learn that when the garden has abundance they prepare their harvest for school food services, who will serve them the following day in the lunch program. On Thursdays they take inventory for excess produce (or kitchen leftovers) and walk them to the food bank around the corner. This vibrant growing space rotates 500 students through lessons every 2 weeks. With a dedicated garden teacher, and science-based, hands-on lessons that coordinate with partner classes in a nutritional science lab. Lessons are presented, such as discovering the science behind varying seasonal day-lengths and their ramifications in the garden. We saw groups of students preparing a healthy sandwich in which they got to choose what they put into them. The school hosts summer day camps, gardening, eating, and playing games in the themes of different regions each day. They serve over a thousand meals per summer, most of them at no charge, for students on the free and reduced price lunch program who were provided scholarships. They also use their garden as a presentation area for music and drama festivals.

We were taken to a trial classroom that is based on 21st Century principals. As this is something we feel New Zealand is doing very well. It was interesting to make the comparisons to what we saw to what we have. We saw some Modern Learning Environment concepts in other classes and were excited to see teachers making a difference.

Paul Ecke Elementary School - Encinitas - California


Paul Ecke Central was established in 1927 and is one of nine elementary schools in the Encinitas Union School District that includes Ocean Knoll Elementary. Paul Ecke Central is proud of their rich academic and enrichment programs that they offer to their students.

Their school is beautifully maintained and provides and attractive and effective learning environment for students.
We were met by a very excited office team and school Principal Adriana Chavarin. It was clear that the previous NZ tour groups had left a positive impression on the Principal, Staff, School and children. This was a delightful experience.
The Principal was a part of the tour, which was a first, during our time here. It was obvious that there was a team approach to the development of this districts ICT education plan as she clearly had a shared understanding of the intention and impact of the ICT.

Through the support of the community in 2010, the Encinitas Union School District created a program that maximised the use of technology to increase students’ engagement in their learning, while providing real time formative and summative data on student performance to teachers. In 2013 the district adopted a digital curriculum in Math, Language Arts and Science that provided a deeper connection to their learning and a bridge to the National Common Core Standards being adopted currently.

Students have the option of using a district-owned iPad or their own personal one. Students using their own personal device have more flexibility. They’ll have their iPads on breaks and over the summer and won’t be restricted from downloading additional apps. Regardless of student's use of a district-owned or personally-owned device, all students will have access to a standard suite of apps that will be used in the classroom for their education.
Like Ocean Knoll, Paul Ecke were embedded in the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IB PYP). They too use the 12 principles to which gave the school that same holistic and Eviro focus to the school setting. This was coupled with strong community partnerships as mentioned above.

We visited an American History Class who were working on their iPads to research famous American People who were influential during specific time periods.

We had an opportunity to see the students using the subtext application like Jo Ann Fox did at Reidy Creek, in Escondido.
We were taken into a corridor by the principal to meet with students leading learning during this time. They shared Apps that we are already currently use within our school. It was interesting to see how they used the apps with their personal learning and the different ways they share their learning. We liked the confidence of the students and it reinforced to us from other schools that American children are very confident and love to be successful in their actions.
We had an opportunity to visit another immersion class. This school feature continues to impress us. The easy way in which both languages were used and the flexibility of the teacher to work bilingually with the technology was a special feature.

We think that partnership visits would be beneficial to both NZ and US teachers. We would love to share our 21st Century schools.

Thursday - Week 1

Valencia Park Elementary School - Fullerton - California

We were met by the deputy principal when we arrived at the school and were taken to the team room that was decked out with the most amazing learning walls. We got to meet a fantastic and vibrant teacher, Kyle, and the wonderful principal Helene. We were both blown away by the vision that Helene had for the school and were impressed to see data on the impact of technology. The aim of the school was to have independent learning experiences for every child, focus on the student - the centre of everything and to offer of hope for all students.
For the school, staff and students - their story is still being written. Some of the facts of the school were;
700 students88% percent free reduced lunch 51% English language learners 89% Hispanic/Latino
What stood out were that the school had very clear goals heading into the future; to increase learning engagement, to build 21st century learning and to shift successfully to new common core standards. Of interest was the roll out of devices in the school;

2010/11- 600 iPod devices - teachers to apply, would have to commit to PD. Lots of time for teachers to play2011-12 - 125 iPads2012-13 - 1 a-1 iPads in 15 classes

We were interested in the I-coach model where select teachers that are coaches. This had strong links to the formative coaching model that was established at Frasertown School in 2012. Collaboration is a key to the schools successes. Positive attitudes to learning ICT is essential a key quote was “the worse that can happen is fall on your face but then you just get up again! We loved the positive attitude from all staff and all have been able to work alongside each other, traveled along the ICT path at the same time.

A couple of neat apps we saw in use were;
Nearpod appChatterpix app
It was the first part of the tour where we saw more engagement with the SAMR Model.
SAMR Substitution - tech acts as tool sub with nonfunctional change Augmentation - tech acts as a direct tool with functional improvementModification - tech acts as a direct tool with functional improvement Redefinition - allows for the creation of new tasks, previously inconceivable
We definitely see this as more worthwhile than our own e-learning framework. We were really impressed with the reward system at Valencia Park, we were blown away. So blown away we had to get a school t-shirt before we left.


Friday - Week 1

Tustin Middle School - OC - California

This was the first middle school that we visited. This district have a device rollout plan that began in March 2014. iPad deployment (mini) 1:3 ratio for k - grade 2

iPads deployment 1:3 ratio 3 and 4th grades. (Some schools sharing across classes to get 1:1)
iPads deployed 1:1 grades 5-8. With Clam Case Bluetooth keyboard. Keyboard decision was driven by state testing regime.
High schools are in 2nd pilot with toshiba laptops and iPads. Rollout decision made next year after review. Lenovo twist was unsuccessfully trialed in first pilot. Had poor battery life. Biggest challenge for staff has been introducing the Common Core and Technology at the same time. Moving to environments is on the horizon but will be delayed. We were impressed with the iPad cases and keypads the children were using but are too expensive to look at in a $NZ context.
We were surprised to see that social media was blocked but this is understandable with the age of the students. We were interested in the apps and how the district implemented these. The implementation started with a suite of free apps. There was site based management of app purchasing as a trial and then a rubric was used to evaluate the validity of the app - If it was good it can be shared out among other and maybe even recommended district wide.

The PD Structure for Tustin Education Technology Services was very interesting. Garrett Kerr (Coordinator)
Brandee & Christie (coaches)
13 digital learning coaches who help 7-9 teachers (fellows) each on a weekly basis. 1.5 hours per teacher per week support. Coaching is around the art of teaching, SAMR and tech tips.
Used a success model (coatsin) as basis for the PD implementation.
Each elementary school gets 2-3 staff, middle up to 8 staff and high schools 10.
Using 25% ($1,000,000) of common core money to fund this over two years.
The principal who left Valencia Park is now the boss of Garret & Robert and overseas the PD and technology rollout in Tustin District.

Little on the walls was recorded as an idea to take away unlike yesterday at Valencia Park where every room had an idea for one of the group to take back. Coaches work with staff at each school which is driven by the staff needs. May be the whole group or levelled groups each time. Coaches meet on a wednesday afternoon to share what they have been working with fellows on or new ideas. Coaches have a coaching mentoring program to develop their skills in coaching rather than IT as they have significant skill in It already.

Children from grade 5 up can take devices home. By using iBoss filtering the device can continue to have the districts filtered internet access from home. Children had to complete a digital citizenship program before they could take devices home. The technology suite included a interactive boards, sound field, document scanner, apple tv. Running N wireless but moving to AC. Only saw one teacher using sound field. Great for whole class interaction but invasive when supporting individuals or small groups.

Some of the things we were impressed with were;
Poppet (identify features of a poem rhyme, couplet etc), Kahoot (test of poem), study blue (create your own flashcards to study with them. Can be shared to a class)
WordSalad (Skim first chapter and find 10 unknown words. find synonyms and antonyms). 

Myford Elementary School - OC - California

The area where the school site is set was developed from orange groves 20 years ago. It is a new suburb and is set in an affluent area. The school opened in 2003. It has 830 Students of 5-11 year olds with an average of 30 students per class. The implementation of the new Common Core standards has started to be implemented at the schoo, and as a result, the students have been exposed to many more opportunities that involve 21st century learning skills. Those skills are also known at Myford as the 4 Cs. These skills include collaboration, creativity, communication, and critical thinking. The school acknoledges that in order to provide students with an education that promotes the 4 Cs of learning, their instructional practices need to change. Instead of teachers taking center stage and lecturing or giving a lesson whole group, we saw many opportunities for students to participate in project based learning and/or small group opportunities where they were collaborating and sharing ideas in new and creative ways.
We saw iPads and computer lab and were blown away by the clever use of space. Computers were inside the classroom and outside rooms in hallways! The school started the implementation iPods before the tustin unified district decided to rollout but have only had iPads since January this year.
The school had a nice use of learning street for flexible spaces. The students and teachers were using google docs presentation to record student ideas.
We liked the use of the croak it app to record voice and how it linked to QR coding.

Monday - Week 2

Castillja - Palo Alto - California

The school is an independent school for girls in grades six through twelve, located in Palo Alto, in the U.S. state of California. Castilleja is the only non-sectarian all-girls middle and high school in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The catch cry for the school is Woman Learning/Woman Leading with a vision that Casti is a school. An extraordinary one at that. But words can't do justice to everything that it is. It is a journey. It is the passions that you uncover, the best friend you never saw coming, the exposure to new and challenging ideas. Casti is a place where you are comfortable enough to try something different and supported enough to get better at something you love. It is a place of rich history and tradition but also one at the forefront of 21st century education. Castilleja is extraordinary -- and it is preparing you for a lifetime of experiences just as amazing. All of this was true and we saw it with our own eyes. While we had many discussions the one thing that stood out for us was their Bourn Idea Lab.

The Bourn Idea Lab is the school's digital fabrication studio, where girls (and teachers!) go to tinker, build, and prototype. They had a laser cutter, a 3D printer, programmable microcontrollers, vacuum former, vinyl cutter, 3D mill, and assorted hand tools. Oh, and lots and lots of cardboard and other prototyping materials!

The Lab allowed the girls to have ideas, sketch them, then prototype them. The girls start in the 6th grade with a simple project. Then it becomes more complicated as they move on into the next years. As they move forward they become more independent. A key part of this project was to make sure that the students didn’t have early wins with simpler projects to start with to maintain enthusiasm. It is not a dedicated class period, It is integrated into other class things. Eg history, maths etc. 

This concept is something we need to seriously consider for the future of students at our schools in New Zealand! Have a look at our picture journey!


Menlo - Atherton - California

Menlo School, also referred to simply as either Menlo is an independent college preparatory school in Atherton, California, near the heart of Silicon Valley. Menlo comprises a middle school that includes grades 6–8 and a high school that includes grades 9–12. Both the middle school and high schools are located in close physical proximity, but they operate as semi-autonomous units with select overlapping administration. Menlo was established in 1915 and is located at 50 Valparaiso Avenue, just across the street from Menlo Park. During its early years, the school included a junior college that became a college bearing the name Menlo College. In 1994, Menlo School and the College formally separated, but they continue to share their dining hall. Menlo School is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and is a member of the National and California Associations of Independent Schools. The middle school consists of approximately 220 students; the high school is significantly larger, educating roughly 560 students.

Once again at Menlo we saw another makers lab where the old school workshop had been redesigned to cater to the ideas and creations. It was very similar to the Bourn Lab we had seen in the morning and some of the things we saw were absolutely amazing. 

This school did not want for anything. They had recently had a fundraiser and had raised $20US Million - That is a lot of sausage sizzles. The campus was amazing and the grass was artificial. We thought of caretakers around New Zealand and how loverly it would be not to have to mow lawns. Have a look at our picture journey!

Tuesday - Week 2
Marin Country Day School - Corte Madera - California

A civilisation flourishes when people plant trees under whose shade they will never sit.

Marin Country Day School is an independent K-8 coed day school enrolling 565 students at a 35-acre campus in Corte Madera, California. Our school's mission, underscored by their core values of respect, responsibility and compassion, asks children to become skilled learners and ethical human beings, motivated to make a difference in the world.

Founded in 1956 by an adventurous group of parents and educators who believed that learning is a joyous and lifelong process, MCDS provides a distinguished education based on distinctive values, aspirations and practices. Students at MCDS enjoy the benefits of innovative teaching, enhanced understanding of how children learn, tools for clear and creative expression and an increasingly diverse student body. 

Their rich and well-considered core curriculum includes a rigorous grounding in traditional academic disciplines: English, Mandarin, Spanish, mathematics, science and social studies. Art, athletics, drama, music and outdoor education are integral parts of the program. In addition, Aikido/Energy Time, developmental physical education and age-appropriate curricula covering nutrition, human sexuality and substance abuse promote health and wellness. 

MCDS strive to prepare their students to participate thoughtfully and meaningfully in the changing world of the 21st century, and to give them flexible skill sets that will serve them in a world that is more competitive and technologically integrated. Woven into the program are initiatives promoting ecoliteracy, global awareness and engagement and facility in the use of technology. Ongoing review of the core program assures that the curriculum is dynamic, incorporates current pedagogy and best practices, and is well-aligned through the nine grade levels.

We admired our leaders, Innes's, words around hongi, the idea of mixing and sharing the air we breathe, this contains a scent of learning, a wiff of fun, an inhaling of richness and a perfume of intrigue. Yet to come is that tantalising promise of digital opportunities carried on the breeze.

A learning environment we warm to, supported by important words like caring and sharing, community and aroha. We are all committed to and convinced of the transformative impacts of digital learning. How might we achieve a balance between some of the tensions that arise in these areas? He really nailed what MCDS is in a unique and kiwi way.

We had an opportunity to see Whispering bowls as part of the mindfulness of the school - getting students to centre themselves in order to slow down their learning. Another focus of the school was about letting 'kids be kids' and preserving their childhood for as long as possible. MCDS is all about inclusion and they keep everything simple and inclusive. For those students who need the competitive edge they are members of sports clubs. This causes an issue sometimes when their school and club games clash.

Mindfulness is taught in 4 strands:


  • Energy time, ikedo, control of your body and space in relation to others

  • Social emotional part of curriculum in4th grade. Centred in body and mind in partnership with energy time and social time. 

Garden k-8

  • What you take into your time 

  • 30 seconds of focusing on what you're eating. Being thankful. 

Service k-8

  • Service at home

  • International and county service 

Social dynamics

  • Connecting with others. 

  • Rock brain (fixed mind set)

  • 120 staff - food, buses, everything is inside the school. It costs 40k more to do it in house. But it's a value for the personalisation. 

  • 3 million dollars into financial aide. Diversity is economic is racial, gender, economic etc. we want our kids to understand that. 

The singing bowl is about stoping and paying attention. Mindfulness is about paying attention in a particular way without judgement. 

We were interested that parents pay fees to the school dependant on what they earn. A lot like a New Zealand school paying for membership based on their U grade. We really admired this kaupapa.

Each day the school prepares an extra 50 meals as parents and grandparents are encouraged to come for lunch.We couldn’t believe that their were no locked gates! This decision was made and the school shifted its focus on lock down drills. What the school has tryed to do is give students a sense of freedom.

The school has a focus on Technology and progress in the school.

  • 1:1 iPad program for 4/5/6/7/8. iPads go home in 6th grade. 

  • The gameification of energy conservation. 

  • Step up ceremony - when graduating the kids literally "step up". 

School provided ipad - everything is included in the tuition. iPads are for sale on graduation. New fleet on 6th grade. 2:1 iPad in kindy. 

Once again we saw building and creating happening at yet another school! Makers labs and fab labs: these were important. And one thing we noted was that you need to have the people with the expertise! 

We saw scratch being used for basic code and another piece of software being used to make 3d creations to be printed by the 3d printer. This is the way of the future and Jedi!

Wednesday - Week 2
Monte Vista Crisitan School - Watsonville - California
The first school in the world to implement iPads for students learning!

Monte Vista Christian School, is a private, co-educational, selective day and boarding school for young men and women in grades 6 through 12, offering a college-preparatory education in the Christian tradition and context. It is a school that has an inspirational headmaster with an extraordinary vision and the staff to match the vision.

The school is forward thinking and has many new initiatives happening. They are global trackers and have visited New Zealand and looked at some of our learning environments. The technology integration was second to none on this trip and it was the first school that had students truly leading their learning with the teacher as the guide by the side and catalyst. The school hosts professional development for schools all over the USA and they have a unique relationship with apple. Monte Vista Christian School continues to drive the tablet movement with an innovative approaches to pedagogy, technology integration, and classroom organization. Our 1:1 iPad program is one of the largest in the nation (and the world); with over 1000 iPads in use every day. The advanced IT infrastructure allows students and teachers to maximize the learning experience provided in the digital classroom. No words are enough to describe this school and we were appreciative that there doors are not normally open.

This school has an exceptional 21st century campus and I encourage readers to take a trip of their __virtual campus__

Maurice and I have more detailed information in the picutres. A picture can speak 1000 words but in MVCS they speak a million.

What was important was the fun aspect that we need to make sure we never lose sight of a leaders.

Thursday - Week 2

Hillbrook School - Los Gartos - California

"What differences are there in your classroom now you all have iPads?" "It lets the teachers teach better!" Out of the mouths of babes.

Founded in 1935, Hillbrook School is an independent accredited coeducational JK-8 day school in Los Gatos, Santa Clara County, California. Hillbrook, originally known as the Children's Country School, James "Happy" Parker estate at 300 Marchmont Drive, Los Gatos.The school's founders were Mary Orem, Elizabeth Glassford, Nathalie Wollin, and Ann Boge. Hillbrook once extended as far as Shannon and Kennedy Roads to the North and South, though the property has since been subdivided to create the current 15-acre (61,000 m2) campus. A boarding school during its earliest years, Hillbrook became a day school in 1960, at which point the TCCS name was dropped. Robin Clements was headmaster from 1976–97, followed by Sarah Bayne from 1999-2009, with an interim headmaster serving in 1998. As Hillbrook's motto of "Educate, Nurture, Inspire" suggests, the school strives to provide students with an all around education, with a rich arts, music, sports and science curriculum. There are approximately 315 students in JK through 8th.
We liked the concept that the iPad is a trojan mouse by igniting innovation. The school acknowledged that at times taking risks is quite a challenge. Innes made a comment that was very thought provoking - teachers should be able to take risks- surrounded by caring children

We got to see another lab! This one at Hillbrook was called the iLab - I love this name!!! The school has specific skills that they focus on.

What skills do I need to work on - foundation 
What expertise do I need to deepen - research 
What would I like to research - curiosity 
What school initiatives am I working on - community 
What risks am I willing take - risk.

SAMR model also featured and we will look at completing more work in this area heading into the future - a common language for integration. We were stoaked to hear another school say that the "trough of despair" is real and that sometimes you need to step back to leap forward. 

The school has iDoctors - kids who help teachers and children! We have this currently at our schools but the iDoctors we talked to wee incredible!

It was a really neat way to cap of our trip and identify where next steps are and different conversations that need to happen heading into the future of our collaboration.

We hope that the photos and videos we use to connect to this write up connect and does justice to all the incredible schools we saw.

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