Speak Up Hero: Arrowhead Union High School District
Participating in Speak Up
Arrowhead Union High School started to use Speak Up in 2012 to help them learn more about the student, teacher, parent, and administrator experiences with technology. The school develops a technology plan every three years but is continually updating. Having access to current information is essential to creating a plan that addresses its needs. “The Speak Up data keeps us on track and ensures that we are addressing the challenges and celebrating our successes,” according to Donna Smith, Director of Library Media & Technology.
Time is scheduled for students to take the survey during their home room. Teachers are provided with a script to lead them through the survey process. “There has been no pushback from the students or teachers and when questions arise, “Donna notes, “the Speak Up team is always ready to help.“
What has changed?
In 2014, Arrowhead used the Speak Up data to inform the establishment of its BYOD program ( See case study ) With BYOD, Arrowhead students were bringing more than 2,000 different devices to school each day creating security, testing, and maintenance issues.
The more recent Speak Up data indicated that students were struggling to access Wi-Fi in the school and use resources on their own devices. The school’s technology infrastructure was inadequate to support the multiple devices students carried to school daily.
As a result of this data , Arrowhead moved away from BYOD and established a program providing all students with Chromebooks. This year all freshman received Chromebooks with additional grades scheduled to be added each year.
“Our goal is to create a seamless educational technology experience for both students and staff and we believe that standardizing student devices will help accomplish that goal,” Donna explained in describing the transition away from BYOD.
Recognizing the Impact
Providing freshman students with Chromebooks this year was a big change for Arrowhead. Students are very positive about the shift away from BYOD and value the functionality of the Chromebooks. Teachers like the change because standardized devices offer them more control of the technology. Parents appreciate the security controls that the district managed Chromebooks offer. An added bonus is that the number of repairs demanding attention from the small technology department has decreased.
Advice from Arrowhead High School District.
Donna has five tips for other districts and schools considering Speak Up participation. “First, make sure that the administration is on board and committed to participating. Second, schedule time for the students to participate and let them know why this is important for them. Third, report the results so that everyone is aware of areas needing improvement. as well as indications of where performance is strong. Fourth, use the data in decision making. Otherwise taking the survey is a waste of time. Finally, push out the information about the benefits and value of participating in Speak Up to your professional network, local and state technology associations.” Donna concludes by urging schools to contact the Speak Up staff with their questions, “They are terrific, helpful and so very responsive.”