Learning Technology Grant (2018-2021)
Dunkirk City School District is a small city district in the rural county of Chautauqua. NYSED identifies Dunkirk as a high-needs-low resources district; three of every four children are economically disadvantaged, and 17% are ENL students. Language is a significant barrier to parental engagement in their children’s education.
Dunkirk is a partner in a regional PTECH initiative that will bring dual high school diploma and a technology AAS by the end of the program. However, for high school students to be successful in these highly technical, math and science focused classes, this District needs to engage students much younger in STEM related programs; provide more opportunities for technology oriented career paths, and help parents understand the importance of completing school and pursuing a trade or college after high school. The District has begun an aggressive program to move to 1:1 computing to enable all students to have access to technology driven instruction and while PD was provided in a pilot program last year, it was not as successful as administrators had hoped. Teachers indicated they do not feel prepared to effectively utilize this technology. Coupled with the need for PD is the challenge of administrative staffing; key leadership, including the Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent and Technology Coordinator, are new to the district and did not design the PD plan delivered in 2017-18. The plan needs revision and retesting before it rolls out to all teachers.
To address these needs, the District proposed to implement Dunkirk Tech, a professional development program that will be guided by input from recently trained teachers as well as tech experts. The District needs two technology integrators who will provide professional development in the use of personalized learning devices and technology driven instruction, and who will train a cadre of teachers to serve as in-house supports to their colleagues. It is anticipated that one tech integrator will focus on the elementary building, and the other on the middle and high school buildings. Over the project period, the majority of the District’s students will take at least one course from a trained teacher; an increase in student achievement and engagement is expected.