All posts by Michelle Bourgeois (DTS)

Learning Technology Plan: October Update

Teachers exploring an iPad mini
Teachers at WVMS receive their iPad mini as part of the LTP

It’s exciting to see the months of planning and preparation coming to life as we move deeper into the readiness  phase of the Learning Technology Plan (LTP).  Here’s an overview of what’s happening and what’s coming soon.

Planning and Preparation

  • We’ve put the finishing touches on several documents that outline the LTP policies for schools and staff. These  documents outline both the expectations we hold for schools and teachers as well as the commitments DTS and the district will make to ensure success. You can see the Expectations and Commitments documents for Schools and Teachers here. (The Expectations and Commitments documents for students and parents are on the way!)
  • The Instructional Technology Team is meeting with middle school principals to begin the planning process for the upcoming iPad and Mac rollout at their schools. A big part of their planning will include a “readiness team” of staff at each site who will work through the conversations that will guide their implementation. We’re providing each school with a planning template to help facilitate those conversations. It’s important to us that schools be able to tailor their implementation to meet their schools’s focus and needs and this planning will help to make that happen.
  • The DTS tech team continues to work on the logistics of preparing and deploying computers and iPads to teachers and students. We’re refining our support and service processes to include iPads, completing an RFP for an iPad management solution, and developing new online resources to help support users. In the next several weeks, DTS will be planning site walk-throughs at  middle schools to ensure that classrooms are ready for the new computers and teacher iPads that will begin arriving in mid-February.

Distribution and Deployment

  • In early October, 90 PreK and K teachers received their iPad mini and Mac mini computers and spent time learning to use their new equipment to support the Teaching Strategies Gold documentation.
  • Over the past several weeks, DTS and the Instructional Technology Coordinators have deployed Mac mini desktops and iPad minis to teachers to Westview and Coal Ridge Middle Schools. These two sites are helping us develop strategies and refine our practices as we prepare for the remainder of the middle schools.
  • In January, students at Westview and Coal Ridge middle school will be the first to receive their iPad mini. We’re working to finalize the student and parent expectations and commitments documents as well as information on optional iPad insurance coverage.
  • In February, the remaining middle schools will begin to schedule their deployment of teacher iPad minis and Mac mini desktops.

As you can see, there’s lots to be excited about and more to come! I hope that you’ll continue to follow along with our progress and send your questions and feedback to us as we move forward.

Meet the new ITCs

Hello and welcome back from the Instructional Technology Coordinator team.

It’s the end of our second day on the job and our final task is to introduce ourselves to our new St. Vrain family. Under normal circumstances, this wouldn’t be a difficult task. After two days, it’s clear to see this is no normal place.

We, the new Instructional Technology Coordinators, have already had several conversations about how smoothly our transition into this side of serving St. Vrain’s students and teachers has been. From being able to sign on to all of our accounts to having the hardware necessary to jump right in – both from the first minutes of arriving in the office, it’s been clear that we’re now part of an organization that is dedicated to meeting the needs of its members and making everyone feel as welcome as possible.

Rather than another round of walking through the building, we thought we’d share a little bit about ourselves.

  • Zac Chase comes to the district from CU – Boulder. Prior to that, Zac completed his master’s in Education Policy and Management at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Prior to that, and most importantly, Zac was a classroom teacher for 8 years where he taught students in Sarasota, FL and Philadelphia, PA English at the middle and high school level. And, finally, prior to that, Zac grew up surrounded by family, corn and soybeans in Springfield, IL. He lives in Boulder where his non education interests are distance running and improvisational comedy. He’s on the fence about long walks on the beach.
  • Mary Ellen Graziani taught for 9 years in SVVSD as a secondary Social Studies Teacher at Frederick High School and then Silver Creek High School.  She has a Masters in Instruction and Curriculum.  Prior to teaching she worked with adjudicated youth in a Wilderness Therapy program.  Mary Ellen was born and raised in NY and came to CO in 2000  to enjoy the outside. She landed first in Durango, then bounced into Telluride and finally settled in the front range.  She has a 2.5 year old daughter Lillie and  loves most anything outdoors.
  • Jennifer Peyrot knew at a young age that she would one day become a teacher, so after time spent as a code breaker in the Army and studying history and political science at UCLA, she decided to fulfill her dream and teach social studies. She taught for five years in a charter school in downtown Los Angeles. Her greatest technological feat is teaching her grandmother to email. Jennifer’s curiosity and desire to grow led her to earn a Master’s in Education Leadership and to regularly attend conferences or gatherings of other learners. Not your typical native Valley Girl from Southern California, Jennifer prefers the outdoors and reading, to shopping malls and matching purses. She has loved Colorado for years, and she, along with her 14-year-old sister Allison and her golden retriever, are excited to make their home in Longmont.

We look forward to meeting all of you soon.

The Future of Instructional Technology in SVVSD

In January, our Chief Information Officer convened a representative group
of staff
to explore what the future of instructional technology in St. Vrain Valley Schools could and should look like.  We’re excited to share a summary of the results of their planning AND offer you an opportunity to participate in the early stages of readiness.

Our Instructional Technology Advisory Committee (ITAC) emphasized the importance of mobility and increased access to technology for students to support good teaching and learning and to meet the needs of our current curriculum requirements.  Based on the recommendations of the ITAC group, we’ll begin to see the following shifts in technology access for students, teachers and classrooms.

Currently, each school has a set of desktop computer-based labs that are available for student use.
As we move forward, each school will continue to have the same number of physical labs, with Mac mini computers replacing any existing iMac computers. In addition, carts of Chromebooks in the middle and elementary schools will reduce demand on labs for many tasks.

Currently, each classroom has a thin client available and some classrooms have mounted projectors.
As we move forward, each classroom will have a Mac mini computer and a mounted projector. (Note: The installation of the mounted projectors will follow the bond construction effort.)

Currently, students have access to a mix of laptop carts, computer labs, and other mobile devices such as iPads and iPods.
As we move forward, each classroom in grades PreK-5 will have a dedicated number of  iPad mini devices and each student in grades 6-12 will have an iPad mini assigned to them.

Currently, teachers have access to a thin client, with some schools providing laptops for teacher use.
As we move forward, every teacher will be assigned an iPad mini.

Remember that these changes will happen over the course of several years, and that many of the details are still forthcoming. You can give feedback and follow along with the progress by visiting the ITAC blog.

AND NOW, for an opportunity to get a head start on the fun!

On June 24-27, we’ll be holding an iPad summer camp for interested St. Vrain instructional staff. These 4 days will be geared toward getting a jump start on learning about the iPad as a tool for teaching and learning. Participants will spend 4 days exploring, playing, creating, and learning with their peers, as well as helping us explore the potential and possibilities of this new common platform in St. Vrain.  Each participant will receive an hourly stipend AND will be among the first to be assigned an iPad mini for their use. There are a limited number of spots available. If you’re interested in attending, use the form linked here to apply. The application closes on June 3. We’ll be looking for participants who are willing to commit to attending all 4 days and who are willing to share their ongoing learning with the rest of the district during the first semester of 2013.

We are excited to move forward into a new instructional technology reality in St. Vrain!

ITAC Technology Final 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 Committee Meeting 3: Thinking About Learning Spaces

ITAC NormsIf you’ve been following along with the work of the Instructional Technology Advisory Committee (ITAC), you’ll find our latest meeting summary and notes posted over on the ITAC blog.

This month focused on discussions about learning spaces within St. Vrain Valley  – specifically classrooms and computer labs.

Check out the meeting information and leave us your feedback.

Needed: Your input on Instructional Technology

As the Instructional Technology Advisory Committees continue their work, we’d like to collect information from time to time from our instructional staff to help guide our recommendations. Our upcoming conversations will be centered on learning environments in the district. Would you take a minute and complete this very brief survey to help us gather input?

(Note: You must be an SVVSD employee to view or submit responses.)

Click here to access the survey.

ITAC Committees Kickoff

On Wednesday, January 16, we held the first meeting of the District Instructional Technology Advisory Committee (ITAC). The work they’ll be doing over the next several months will help to inform the district as to how we should move forward with instructional technology – both in the devices available for teaching and learning as well as the support structures needed to ensure success.

During our first meeting, we spent a lot of time exploring the ways we’ll work together and unpacking the assumptions we have about technology and the role of the committee. We also developed our working norms and took time to practice the consensus process through two simulations. (You can find information and notes from the meeting in the agenda.)

While the 30 members in the room are representative of the population of our district, we want to invite everyone to follow our work and provide feedback to the group.  You can do so by visiting the ITAC blog and leaving comments and feedback on the work in progress.

Before the next meeting, we’ll be doing our homework by reading and commenting on several district documents as well as current articles that focus on the use of technology in education. You can find the reading list here along with a space to add your own reading recommendations.

Please join us as we move forward by adding your voice to the conversation!

Google Tutorials from Tempus Nova

If you’re looking to learn more about the Google Apps suite of tools, Tempus Nova has released a collection of short tutorial videos that are worth checking out. The tutorials cover everything from Google Mail to Google Spreadsheets and many things in between.

Here are a couple of Gmail examples worth exploring (note you may need to first authenticate to bypass the filter at YouTube in order to load these videos).

The New Mail Compose Features in Gmail

Organize and Send Mail


Here’s a link to the full collection.

Help! Configurator ate one of my licenses!

I just got off the phone with a fellow Apple Configurator user. She had purchased a single copy of a $299.00 app (yes, the decimal is in the right place….) and when she imported her spreadsheet into Configurator, it wouldn’t let her add the app to the device (she got the error, “no licenses available”. Whenever this happens, you can troubleshoot it in this way.

1. Go to iTunes, find the app, and from the File menu, select Get info. Confirm that the account name is the VPP account email. If it’s not, it means you redeemed the code with another account and Configurator won’t accept it. I’ve seen this once or twice where people forgot to log into the correct accout, and redeemed a code with their personal iTunes account.

2. Make sure you truly have an extra copy of the app available – you can do this by clicking on the number to the right of the app name in Configurator’s App list. If all licenses are taken by devices, you’ll have to purchase more, or remove the app from another device first.

3. If the account information for the app is correct, have the program facilitator head back to and re-download the spreadsheet for that app and send a copy to you. Return back to Configurator and reimport the spreadheet again. This fixes the issue almost every time. It won’t work if you simply reimport the old spreadsheet you have previously downloaded, you MUST get a fresh download from VPP. This was the issue this AM and the $299 app was saved!

PS – Also make sure you’re using the most current version of Apple Configurator, 1.2.1 at the time of this posting.

ITC Webinar Series Begins

As those of you in schools plan and organize your Professional Learning Community time, we’d like to offer you an opportunity to supplement your school conversations around technology and instruction by inviting you and your staff to participate in a series of online webinars to be held during PLC time on late start days.

Here’s information on the first webinar:
What: ITC Webinar “Internet Safety and Responsible Use: What Every Teacher Should Know”
When: November 7, 2012 8:15-9:00 and again at 9:15-10:00
Archived session will be available at

Each session will include a 30 minute presentation on a timely topic in instructional technology and be followed by a 15 minute Q&A session to answer questions and facilitate conversation among your staff. These sessions will be hosted by the Instructional Technology Coordinator team: Kyle Addington, Michelle Bourgeois, and Bud Hunt.

Our first webinar, “Internet Safety and Responsible Use: What Every Teacher Should Know.” will focus on understanding the district Responsible Use Policy for students and staff and will provide suggestions and resources for introducing the concepts of Internet safety, cyberbullying and responsible use to your students.

In order to plan future webinars, we’d like to hear from you. What topics would be of interest to you and your staff? When are the best times for these events?  Share your thoughts and suggestions with us by using the link here.