AASA, The School Superintendents Association, and Diamond Assets LLC are working together to provide superintendents and other school administrators with educational programs and technology solutions to help districts achieve sustainable ed tech funding to support greater academic outcomes.As school systems are grappling with the enormous task of reopening their buildings as effectively and safely as possible, few would argue that the work to achieve digital equity for every community in the U.S. has never been more important.“The onset of the Coronavirus pandemic has been an eye-opening experience for school districts, and one of the biggest concerns is responding to the necessity of distance learning options,” said Charles Duarte, director of procurement in the western region of the U.S. for Diamond Assets.Duarte has spent his career advocating for the transformative role technology can play in dynamic learning environments.“My job with chief technology officers, superintendents and other district leaders is to help them understand the actual cost over a period of time so they’re able to make qualified decisions. Now that we’re working in a COVID-19 environment, this is not the time to work in ways we always have. Progressive districts will begin to look at different ways to fund things and create options for what they value.”With school district leaders trying to navigate the unprecedented conditions as a result of the crisis, they know that increased connectivity is a major priority.“When you give devices to students, you’re opening up the world to them,” said Duarte.Costs are always a factor when building a school district’s technological infrastructure. Duarte recommends districts consider offsetting expenses by trading in older devices so they can fully focus on the quality of the devices they’re providing.According to Duarte, the typical lifespan of a school iPad is about three years. He suggests capitalizing on used hardware by selling old devices and using those funds to offset costs of new hardware to maintain a sustainable cycle year after year.Duarte says holding on to devices for a long period of time will translate into diminishing their value.“You then run the risk of not being able to load certain apps or security protocols,” said Duarte. “This means your tech teams will receive an increasing number of calls and e-mails asking them to respond to maintenance issues.”Conversely, he recommends, “freeing up your tech teams to focus on projects for the future would be a better value.”For more information about Diamond Assets, visit the AASA website, or contact Tara Gao.
AASA, The School Superintendents Association, and Standard For Success are working together to help school district leaders align their organizational structures to sustain high-quality early learning program implementation.“I was a business teacher in rural Indiana; I taught economics and accounting. I married an elementary school teacher and she’d talk about the passion of early learning and the commitment to reach our earliest learners.”Those are the words of Todd Whitlock, co-founder and CEO of Standard For Success, a company based outside of Indianapolis that works to bring the evaluation process to scale by enhancing collaboration between principals and teachers with an additional focus on boosting early learning environments in schools and communities.A challenging task, during these unprecedented times when an increasing number of teachers are feeling reluctant to return to in-person classes. “Blended learning is probably the best option out there,” said Whitlock. “It allows for the changing of the delivery method as well as the assessment method. People are scared about putting early learners in a blended learning environment, thinking it’s more of an adult program. But young children don’t ask why, they just do it. They’re not worried about breaking anything.”Whitlock emphasizes that parent involvement is critically important. “It comes back to communication,” he said. “Teachers need to have a plan if they’re going to see their students two days a week. They need to have a plan if they’re going to face a distance-learning model.”Whitlock says any plan must cover the following:
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