Like campers to a crackling hearth, district leaders will wish to draw shut to listen to how Liverpool Central School District in New York slipped seamlessly into distant studying whereas tons of of districts nationwide struggled to make the swap.
With almost 7,000 college students and 700 lecturers, Liverpool had by no means tackled distant studying earlier than March 23, 2020. But Director of Technology, Dan Farsaci, says they had been geared up with the correct instruments for a profitable begin.
Their secret elements for a fast, simple swap to distant studying? A districtwide one-to-one Chromebook program, pupil connectivity knowledge, Google Classroom and ClassLink‘s single sign-on (SSO) know-how to tie all of it along with quick access to apps, assets and web sites.
Putting Tech in Students’ Hands
After COVID-19, the district’s one-to-one program expanded to take-home for all grades. So, households that wanted units at residence visited faculties to select them up. The know-how workforce arrange a checkout process, the place dad and mom referred to as and made an appointment to select up their know-how over three days. Pickup instances had been 10 minutes aside to make sure everybody may apply secure social distancing. The district additionally delivered units or scheduled later pickups for many who could not make the preliminary instances. Students obtained a Chromebook, a charger and, if crucial, a Wi-Fi hotspot donated by a neighborhood supplier.
“We, in essence, provided devices and internet access to every student in our district. It was a huge team push,” explains Farsaci.
They additionally arrange a know-how helpline for households and college students to name in the event that they wanted assist. Three instructor assistants with technical specialization (TATS) and one member of the know-how workforce dealt with the telephones from residence and used their current helpdesk system remotely to generate assist tickets.
Why Single Sign-On Was Crucial for Continued Learning
Farsaci says that after the know-how was in college students’ arms and studying started, it was their SSO system’s probability to shine.
Liverpool college students and lecturers had already been utilizing ClassLink for eight years. Tech Support Specialist, Shawn Surma, says that meant college students discovered and accessed curriculum reminiscent of academic apps, web sites and paperwork the identical means that they had after they had been within the classroom.
“They go to one place, the ClassLink portal, boom, everything is there,” explains Surma. “Their Google Classroom is already there; it’s one of the icons, so are high-use programs like iReady and Achieve.”
ClassLink additionally made it extremely simple to share classes and content material. For instance, Surma says the district’s Executive Director of Curriculum, Math, Science, and Technology, Kasey Dolson, needed to have math packets obtainable instantly when faculties closed.
“With one click on our end, saying, ‘Make this folder a tile,’ and she had a whole Google folder available to every student in grades 3 through 6. It automatically showed up in ClassLink. We didn’t have to teach the students a new way to do something.”
1000% Growth in 8 Years
While Liverpool’s tech workforce is barely 5 members robust, know-how and training apps play an enormous function in studying districtwide, with applications like iReady launched over 492,000 instances through the college yr.
“That’s almost half a million times students are accessing just one of our apps, and we have over 20 high-use apps. Trying to support that level of use with such a small tech team would not have been achievable without ClassLink, even before we saw a surge in use because of the switch to remote learning,” explains Farsaci.
Surma and Farsaci each say ClassLink use has grown by over 1000 p.c for the reason that district adopted the platform eight years in the past. They credit score lots of that progress to ClassLink’s Ed Success workforce, who attain out frequently to replace the know-how workforce on new options and clarify how one can use current options they weren’t making the most of—all at no further value.
“ClassLink isn’t just one program. It’s this universal system that includes all kinds of things,” explains Surma. “Believe it or not, the original intent we had for ClassLink is almost non-existent now.”
When Liverpool initially adopted ClassLink, distant studying and even Chromebooks weren’t ubiquitous, as they’re now. The district selected ClassLink as a result of it was working system-agnostic: Students may use any system to entry all applications from ClassLink’s portal.
Over the years, ClassLink’s Education success group has continued to work with Liverpool introducing new options.
“When ClassLink added Roster Server, it was a game-changer,” says Surma.
As he explains, automated rostering saved the district money and time. If a pupil is in a particular class, ClassLink routinely rosters that pupil into the proper group to obtain all the required apps a instructor has assigned based mostly on specs reminiscent of grade-level or individualized training program (IEP). Surma says that may save him 40 hours every week through the busy back-to-school season.
Surma estimates that rostering with ClassLink additionally saved the district over $10,000 by making it simpler to roster apps that require licensing. With ClassLink, solely college students designated within the pupil data system as needing particular studying and math apps obtain entry. Rostering with ClassLink ensures that they by no means exceed—and need to pay for—the variety of licenses they’d deliberate on.
The district additionally saved cash by switching from a competitor that, whereas free to districts, expenses distributors that wish to be rostered by their product. As Surma explains, these distributors then handed these expenses on to Liverpool of their charges. “The cost difference was unbelievable,” says Surma.
Surma and Farsaci agree: Whether college students are studying remotely or within the classroom, with out ClassLink, the district know-how workforce would wish to triple in measurement to assist their 9,000 customers districtwide.
Surma emphasised, “We just don’t have the resources to have that number of employees, having something like ClassLink helps us do our jobs very efficiently.”