October Meeting overview

Our elementary and secondary ITAC committees met for the at the end of October to begin their work in refining our initial implementation plan for the LTP. Our goal is to use these committees to give us feedback and recommendations as we continue to make our program even better.

The committee began by reviewing our norms and looking through the scope of their work so that we all have a clear understanding of how their contributions fit into the larger work of the district. We also spent time looking back through the original ITAC committee’s Actions and Attributes document to identify a priority that we could work on this year.

Elementary Committee Overview:

The elementary committee determined that their priority would be: Teachers model digital age learning for their students and are engaged in continuous professional growth.

In the elementary committee, we discussed the upcoming application for phase 1 elementary schools that will go out in December. The committee made some great recommendations that we incorporated into our plan.

Secondary Committee Overview:

The middle school members determined that their priority would be: Students and teachers model and engage in innovative learning practices such as dynamic sharing, deep thinking, and project based learning. These practices incorporate an awareness of the need to build digital habits and to assist teachers in learning to manage digitally-enhanced learning environments.

High school determined their focus would be:  Students use technology to support critical thinking, problem solving and the ability to gather, evaluate, and analyze information sources.

The secondary committee reviewed data from our existing implementation at the middle school level and reviewed data to help us make decisions on two important areas:

  • Looking at the data from our existing student app installations, are our student app levels appropriate for middle school? Currently students can install any app that is rated for age 12 or below. With the release of iOS 8, many app manufacturers have updated their age ratings and we want to confirm that 12+ is still the right level for our students.
  • Student care of cables is a concern for our schools, especially as we recycle iPads between students. The committee looked at several proposals for working with students who lose or damage their cables.

Both groups were left with the task of gathering wider feedback from their respective peer groups so we can finalize our recommendations in January. If you’d like to follow along with the work, you can find the agendas linked here along with the resources shared during the meeting. Feel free to leave us comments and feedback here so your voice is part of our conversation.

ITAC 2014 begins

Welcome to our newest ITAC members! As we move ahead in our implementation of the Learning Technology Plan, the ITAC committee will continue to serve an advisory role in our technology planning. They are a critical voice in making sure we have representation from all segments of our SVVSD community: teachers, administrators, district staff, and families.

Because our initial ITAC committee recommendations lead to different implementation pathways for elementary and secondary levels, we’ve split the committee into two. We’ll rotate half of the committee members each year to ensure continuity while also allowing others to add their voice to the group.

This blog will continue to serve as a place for others to join in the conversation and follow their work. Please check in and share your input with our committee.

The 2014 ITAC Committee members:


Stephanie Anderson School admin Columbine ES
David Baker District leadership Professional Dev
Ben Bernstein Parent/Guardian Longmont Estates ES
Sarah Bloms STEM Indian Peaks ES
Dede Frothingham School admin Alpine ES
Lynn Hannapel Classroom teacher Indian Peaks ES
LeAnne Kelly Librarian Thunder Valley K8
Amber Mault Classroom teacher Blue Mountain ES
Jennifer Ryan School admin Mountain View


Courtney Adams Classroom teacher Longs Peak MS
Kahle Charles District leadership Curriculum
Greg George District leadership Math
Phil Goerner Librarian Silver Creek HS
Linda Goertz Classroom teacher Altona MS
Kara Jostes STEM Trail Ridge MS
Jeremy LaCrosse School admin Westview MS
Andrea McBreen School admin Longmont HS
Laura McDonald Parent/Guardian Sunset MS
Sherri Platt Librarian Mead MS
Jennifer Saless Classroom teacher Erie MS
Paul Stecina School admin Erie HS
Adam Wellington Classroom teacher Coal Ridge MS

The Learning Technology Plan

In previous months, the ITAC committee has shared the documents that frame the “Why” behind our upcoming Learning Technology Plan rollout. With input from others in the district, they framed an Actions and Attributes list to describe how technology should enhance teaching and learning in SVVSD. They also took into consideration the ways in which technology and curriculum are interconnected by looking at the district unit plans and the related technology vertical alignment.

With much input and guidance from the ITAC committee, we’re exited to share the SVVSD Learning Technology Plan and the timeline for rollout. You can see a copy of the plan by following this link.

You’ll notice that this year will include a focus on two middle school “readiness sites” who will assist us in determining the processes, procedures, and needs as we move forward with the remaining schools. All middle schools were invited to apply to become a readiness site, and the two selected sites will be announced soon.

In the meantime, if you’d like a synopsis of  the “when” and “what” of the Learning Technology Plan by level, use the links below

Elementary Learning Technology Plan

Middle School Learning Technology Plan

High School Learning Technology Plan

There’s much more to share about the plan including the options for professional learning as well as guidelines for parents, students, and teachers. We’ll be discussing these with the ITAC committee and will publish our progress and meeting information here.

We hope you’ll continue to share your input and feedback as we move forward.


Continuing the work

During the 2013-2014 school year, a subset of the ITAC committee will continue the work begun by the larger group. Now that recommendations have been approved and rollout plans are coming together, this smaller committee will help guide the implementation of technology across the district.

In order to ensure that we hear from a representative population within St. Vrain Valley schools, we selected representation from a wide variety of roles within the district. Our committee consists of the following members:

  • 1 elementary administrator – Amanda Sauer, Erie ES

  • 1 secondary administrator – Jeremy Lacrosse, Westview MS

  • 1 elementary teacher – Sarah Bloms, Centennial ES

  • 1 middle teacher – Adam Wellington, Coal Ridge MS

  • 1 high teacher Paul Stecina, Erie HS

  • 1 Library representative Sherri Platt, Mead MS

  • 1 curriculum representative Greg George, Math Coordinator

  • 1 OPD representative David Baker, Office of Professional Development

  • 1 student services representative Sally Burch, Student Services

  • 3 DTS representatives Erik Black, Dan Magyar, Mark Stilwell

In May, we held a meeting with this smaller group to begin conversations about possible rollout scenarios and considerations for professional learning and implementation. You can see the agendas for this and past meetings in the ITAC Meeting documents folder to the left.

We hope you will continue to follow this work and participate in our conversations. Send us your wonderings. Ask for clarification when something isn’t clear. Share your ideas for how we can make this program a success.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Final ITAC Recommendations & Next Steps

After four months of thoughtful discussion and dialogue, ITAC is pleased to release their final recommendations to the CIO regarding the future of instructional technology in the St. Vrain Valley Schools.

Our schedule for Joe McBreen, our CIO, to take ITAC recommendations to district leadership was accelerated a bit, as there was much excitement to see the results.

Last week, the CIO presented a slate of recommendations based on your options to leadership.  You can see the final slate in Appendix D of the final recommendations document.  Because of their enthusiastic support and desire to move forward, we have been asked to present that slate of options as well as your work on this process to the Board of Education on June 12th.  I’ll be requesting some additional information from you for the board report in a future email.

In addition, the CIO has supported the continuation of the smaller ITAC subset to begin the implementation process for our technology rollout.  This will be a big project and we are excited to move forward.    Look for more information in the near future on the next steps in this process.

ITAC Meeting 8: Finalizing recommendations

On April 24, the ITAC committee wrapped up four months of exploration and conversation to provide a vision for instructional technology in St. Vrain Valley Schools. We are excited to share the results of their work with you and to invite your comments.

To gain a perspective on the frame for learning they used as a basis for their recommendations, browse the Guidelines for Instructional Technology Considerations which list the actions and attributes we want our learning spaces to support as well as the Technology-Curriculum Alignment document which highlights the explicit evidence outcomes in our district curriculum where technology is a necessary part of instruction.

The Instructional Technology Advisory Committee Final Report to the Chief Information Officer is an overview of the recommendations for technology implementation across the district. While still a draft and undergoing revision by the committee, this will give you a sense of their final thoughts and recommendations. If you have feedback or comments, we’d love to have you share them with us.

Our sincere thanks go to the 33 members of the ITAC committee for all their work. Their collective voice, spanning multiple grade levels, subject areas, departments, and schools, gave a truly representative voice for this process. It is through their incredible efforts that we have such a powerful vision of the future of learning in the St. Vrain Valley Schools. Additional thanks go to CIO Joe McBreen and our district leadership for entrusting our group with this task.

ITAC Meeting 7

During the seventh meeting of the Instructional Technology Advisory Committee, teams worked to refine their recommendations in four areas:

  • Classrooms
  • Computer labs
  • Student devices
  • Teacher devices

We referred back to our our actions and attributes as defined in the Guidelines for Instructional Technology Considerations document as we did so, and also considered the realities of the budget and equipment costs. For many of the recommendations, teams defined three states to bring forward

  • An Ideal State, which would exceed the needs of our actions and attributes and would allow us to greatly expand the use of technology for teaching and learning.
  • An Acceptable State, which would still meet the expectations set out in our actions and attributes, but might not fully realize the ideal state we hope to build for our students.
  • A Minimal State, which would satisfy many of our actions and attributes, but might require some compromises on how those expectations are met.

Teams also began to build a rationale for their recommendations by listing the pros, cons, and implications of these three states. These will be used to build a final set of recommendations that will be presented to Joe McBreen and ultimately to district leadership.

You can see the recommendations as they exist in draft form by using these links. We hope you’ll leave comments, questions and feedback below to help us refine the work we’ve done.

ITAC Meeting 6 – Making Student Device Recommendations

At today’s sixth ITAC meeting, the teams will be working to hammer out their first draft recommendations for student devices in St. Vrain.  All members have been engaging their students, colleagues, and interested others in exploring possibilities of several devices, keeping in mind our desired actions and attributes.

The agenda for today’s meeting is here.  If you’d like to take a swing at your own recommendation, here’s a blank copy of the recommendation worksheet that the teams will be working with.  Please share your thinking in the comments.

ITAC Student Device Dialogue Guide

In The Adaptive School, Garmston and Wellman write about two types of conversation that groups use in their collaborative work.  The two types are dialogue and discussion.  Discussion is where we are headed – as we work to reach some decisions and recommendations.  But before we decide, we need to understand. To begin to dig deeply into our conversation around student devices, we want to be sure that before we begin to make decisions, we engage in thoughtful dialogue.  Here’s how they describe dialogue:

Dialogue is a reflective learning process in which group members seek to understand one another’s viewpoints and deeply held assumptions.  The word dialogue comes from the Greek dialogos.  Dia means “through” and logos means “word.” In this meaning-making through words, group members inquire into their own and others’ beliefs, values, and mental models to better understand how things work in their world.  In dialogue, listening is as important as speaking.  

Dialogue creates an emotional and cognitive safety zone in which ideas flow for examinations without judgment.  Although many of the capabilities and tools of dialogue and skilled discussion are the same, their core intentions are quite different and require different personal and collective monitoring processes. (p.49)

We have sensed that we have much to unpack before ITAC begins to make recommendations around student devices, and that a focused dialogue would be a good way to accomplish that.  As we prepare to begin our dialogue around student devices, a dialogue that has begun on our listserv, we wanted to provide ITAC Committee members with a framework for helping all of them to come to the meeting on March 20th with some of their best thinking ready to be shared via dialogue with the various sub-committees.

Here’s a link to a Google Docs template with the questions.

(You’ll be prompted to login to St. Vrain Google-land if you’re not when you click this link.  Then click on “Use this Template” to create an editable copy of the document that’s just for you to record your thinking. If you don’t have a St. Vrain Google account, here’s a copy of the document that doesn’t require a password to access.)

Prior to the meeting, we are asking ITAC Committee members to take an opportunity to explore these questions for themselves, and to seek input from others.

If you’re reading this blog post, then we are interested in your thinking around these questions, too.  Leave your thoughts in the comments.

PS – Michelle shared this additional article about dialogue if you’d like to know more.  We found it useful in our thinking.  

ITAC Meeting 4 – Field Trip!

At the last ITAC meeting, as we’re beginning to consider proposals for student and teacher devices, we sent the ITAC team on a couple of field trips to sites using two different platforms in an attempt to provide devices to students.  Conrad Ball Middle School in Loveland is exploring an iPad 1:1, while Flagstaff Academy here in Longmont is using lots of Chromebooks to support instruction.  Here is the agenda from that meeting.  You can see, in Activity 3 of that document, some of the notes from the team when they returned to discuss their observations.

You might also want to take a peek at some of the resources about Chromebooks and iPads we shared with the team prior to their experience.  Our next task is to begin to explore possibilities and recommendations for student devices in the classroom.  What advice or suggestions would you offer to the ITAC group as they move towards their recommendations?