ConnectEd Spring 2016 - Page 2

2 New curriculum, personal iPads prepare students for the future Are you ready for the next generation of graduates? Garland ISD is. Our new GISD Ready initiative brings departments and schools together across the district to ensure we meet the needs of 21st-century learners. Areas of consideration include curriculum, instruction, assessment, communications, organizational learning, infrastructure, budget and policy. “GISD Ready means globally competitive students,” explained Associate Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment Jovan Wells. “We want to equip them to thrive in the future with skills and competencies found in the workforce—communication, problem solving, self-discipline, etc.” GISD began its journey to transform teaching and learning by rewriting curriculum throughout 2014-15. New lessons created by teachers for teachers commenced this year, featuring more hands-on, real-world applications and technology integration. connected “Our vision is student-centered instruction—students taking ownership and driving the process of discovery. Education should be an engaging, relevant experience,” said Director of Curriculum and Instruction Mida Milligan. The district also introduced Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) tests last fall to evaluate comprehension and growth. Taken three times a year, the personalized computerized assessments adapt to each student’s learning level and allow teachers to provide differentiated instruction, intervention or gifted and talented opportunities. To help communicate the purpose of GISD Ready, the district recently held a Digital Resources Carnival. It showcased innovation in bilingual education, guidance and counseling, libraries, fine arts, etc., and attracted 3,000 families, employees and community members. Highlighting more than 80 programs, adults discovered how they could continue students’ work at home and take advantage of resources just for them. Find a complete list of programs at http://bit.ly/GISDdigitalcarnival. GISD is now preparing for a 1:1 technology rollout. Every high school student will receive an iPad this fall, and middle schoolers will receive their own device in 2017-18. “iPads not only support collaboration, creativity and critical thinking, they are also compatible with the resources in use throughout our classrooms,” commented Milligan. Teachers each received a personal device two years ago and have been training ever since in anticipation of 1:1. The district is also currently enhancing wireless connectivity and infrastructure. Funding for the rollout was provided by GISD’s Bond 2014 election. For more information, visit www.garlandisd.net/ready1to1.