SETDA and CoSN commend the Wireline Bureau for opening an emergency E-rate filing window to help schools address their higher than expected on campus bandwidth demands. The Bureau’s decision will help schools support their students during a very challenging period and we appreciate the agency’s swift recognition of this on campus digital learning need.
Separately, CoSN and SETDA hope the FCC and Congress will also act this month to ensure that every student has a broadband connection at home. We strongly encourage Congress to approve the Emergency Educational Connections Act.
The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit membership association launched by state education agency leaders in 2001 to serve, support and represent their emerging interests and needs with respect to the use of technology for teaching, learning, and school operations. setda.org
CoSN (the Consortium for School Networking) is the premier professional association for school system technology leaders. CoSN provides thought leadership resources, community best practices and advocacy tools to help leaders succeed in the digital transformation. CoSN represents over 13 million students in school districts nationwide and continues to grow as a powerful and influential voice in K-12 education. cosn.org
It is difficult to believe that it has been 13 years since SETDA’s 2008 journey in developing and publishing the Class of 2020: Action Plan for Education. This project included a Student Bill of Rights and a series of white papers (below). At that time, the critical topics that bubbled to the top were broadband access, online assessments, professional learning, online courses/content and STEM. The COVID-19 pandemic shined a light onto the various topics related to digital learning which include similar subjects from the Class of 2020 work. Technology tools, resources and efficiencies may have evolved since 2008 but unfortunately, most classrooms remained the same. Yes, there have been pockets of innovation such as SETDA’s Student Voices Finalists and Winners and many other schools across the country that have been driving forward, leveraging technology to support all learners. However, the digital divide continues.
The concept of the Class of 2020 was a simple idea from one of SETDA’s most influential leaders, Lan Neugent (retired – Virginia Department of Education) that led to the collaborative initiative which created the foundation for much of SETDA’s work over the last 12 years. Developed with support from members, private sector partners and education leaders from a variety of organizations, these resources provided advocacy and implementation support for digital learning at the state and federal level. The original concept was to inform the new administration about the potential of digital learning and provide the membership with resources to support state work. SETDA leveraged the work to advocate for 2009 stimulus funding direct for education technology which included over $600 million dollars to states via the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). ARRA funds did drive some districts to be innovative and support technology integration, however the investments were relatively small and districts often did not plan well to support digital learning once the grants finished. At that time, some districts still considered technology as a “nice perk” versus a new way of learning so technology tools and resources were supplemental versus the norm.
“Looking back now at this work and the focus on the need for resources such as broadband and professional learning, we were spot-on,” shared Rick Gaisford, Education Technology Specialist, Utah State Board of Education.
The COVID-19 pandemic recently forced all schools and districts to identify inequities in access to technology and for most, to attempt to implement remote learning. This summer is an opportunity to evaluate the ability to implement digital learning and prepare administrators, teachers, students and families for not only potential blended or remote learning for the fall, but to shift teaching and learning moving forward. The silver lining of crisis can be having equitable, educational opportunities that support the Student Bill of Rights published in 2008. The terminology may have changed but the concepts remain the same.
So cheers to the Class of 2020! May your adventures be golden and may you drive innovation in this global society. Cheers also to the Class of 2032! Entering Kindergarten will not look the same as it did in 2008, the students won’t know the difference as much as the parents and educators. As Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper noted back in 1987, the most damaging phrase in the language is “We’ve always done it this way.” May this silver lining of this pandemic be revolutionized educational models that SETDA and its members have been campaigning for since 2001.
Class of 2020 White Paper Series (Published in 2008)
The children of former SETDA staff, Mary Ann Wolf and Sara Hall (Matthew and Hannah) started kindergarten in 2008 and were part of the inspiration for the Class of 2020 Action Plan.
Matthew, Chapel Hill High School (Duke)
Hannah, Severna Park High School (Michigan State)
In support of state leadership, SETDA recently published the State Education Agency Considerations for CARES Act Funding as Related to Digital Learning. As state education agencies (SEAs) plan for the 2020-21 school year and work to ensure that high quality learning opportunities are available to all students, each has the opportunity to demonstrate leadership. To support equitable opportunities for all students across a state, SEAs can provide direction and resources to help ensure that all students, regardless of location, race, language, special needs or socio-economic barriers have access to quality digital learning experiences. School districts, especially small districts, do not always have the capacity to develop plans, make purchases or provide professional learning in the same way that large or even medium-size districts can. With guidance, policies and modeling, SEAs can demonstrate a commitment to digital learning both on and off-campus. States can support such processes with some or all of the following:
- enacting state digital learning plans that include SEA leadership for implementation
- encouraging district digital learning plans
- defining personalized learning
- giving guidance around the implementation of digital instructional materials
- developing digital learning standards for students
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds and state emergency response funds provide a unique opportunity for SEAs, eligible local educational agencies (LEAs), and schools to develop plans and processes to support remote learning for emergency situations as well as long term digital learning initiatives. With planning, policies and practices, state leaders can demonstrate to districts and schools a commitment to quality digital learning which also support the personalized needs of all learners. In collaboration with the membership, SETDA developed the State Education Agency Considerations for CARES Act Funding as Related to Digital Learning document to provide a resource for state leaders regarding considerations for expenditures related to digital learning implementation. States may consider statewide contracts or state master contracts to support districts and to provide more cost effective implementation of digital tools resources and/or professional development. In addition, districts should consider multi-district or regional consortia to potentially drive down costs. Some items that may be considered for statewide, state master contracts and/or consortia purchasing may include:
- digital devices, hotspots and/or monthly access fees
- learning management systems, content management systems, resource repositories
- support to implement data standards
- digital content
- professional learning opportunities
Smart spending can support seamless access and reduce overall costs at a time when, more than ever, every dollar counts. In some regions of the country, states are considering multi-state consortia to drive down costs as well. SETDA recommendations are not limited to CARES Act funds, SEAs or the current crisis, and may be considered long term as states and districts move to comprehensive digital learning over time.
For almost twenty years, SETDA has been advocating for quality digital learning experiences for all learners including supporting the concept of statewide and consortia initiatives to provide leadership and help drive down costs. SETDA has developed a variety of resources in support of digital learning and all resources are opening available to the public. To learn more, access SETDA’s priorities page which includes access to resources related to equity of access, digital content, digital learning, interoperability and professional learning.
2019 was an action packed year for SETDA. Always working to engage state leaders, affiliates members, private sector partners, and partner organizations-SETDA developed tools and resources to support national, state, district and school leaders in the implementation of the digital teaching and learning. Collaborating with experts across the nation, SETDA’s new and updated resources are openly licensed and available at no cost to the public. Please take a moment to review highlights from SETDA’s work that supports broadband implementation, E-rate advocacy, digital instructional materials, professional learning and interoperability. Our students deserve the best resources to live and thrive in our digital world.
To stay up to date on SETDA’s latest work subscribe to our mailing list and follow us on Twitter @setda, Facebook, Instagram @setdaorg and Linkedin. If you missed any of SETDA’s media coverage for 2016 you can always access SETDA initiatives and staff In the News and the 2019 Press Releases.
You can access details about each of these resources via this SETDA Resources 2019 Final.
Professional Learning is a topic that SETDA brought to the forefront in 2019 with several new resources. A new Professional Learning Priority section on SETDA.org. An added Professional Learning section in the Digital Instructional Materials Acquisition Policies for States portal where visitors can learn about state professional learning opportunities to support teachers in the selection and implementation of digital instructional materials. publication of the Professional Learning Dashboard.This dashboard includes state and district examples of professional learning practices to support digital learning, personalized learning, quality materials and leadership
The Shift to Digital Instructional Materials
SETDA was both a year for updating current SETDA digital content resources and a time to launch new resources to support state and district leaders, policy makers and the private sector. The Guide to Quality Instructional Materials was reorganized, streamlined and new content was added to provide guidance to administrators and educators in the selection and implementation of instructional materials. The toolkit includes useful resources, guidance and examples that will help identify best practices when considering instructional materials including both core-instructional materials and supplemental resources.
The Digital Instructional Materials Acquisition Policies for States (DMAPS) online portal was updated and expanded in 2019, to provide a clearer picture of each state’s instructional materials policies and practices to help encourage increased implementation of digital learning. Educators, policy makers and private sector executives have the opportunity to learn about state policies and practices regarding the selection, procurement, implementation and accessibility of instructional materials, including the ability to access individual state profiles.
A new report, State K12 Instructional Materials Leadership Trends Snapshot summarized current state policies and practices in the selection and implementation of digital instructional materials. This report is based on the 2019 updates to the Digital Instructional Materials Acquisition Policies for States (DMAPS) online portal. The 2019 Navigating the Digital Shift publication highlights how state policies and guidance are supporting the transformation to personalized learning through digital instructional materials. Specifically, the report includes personalized learning approaches and the policies and processes around the selection, curation, procurement, professional learning and funding of digital instructional materials.
Based on the request of multiple state leaders, SETDA developed the K12 Instructional Materials Dashboard of state reviewed, full course instructional materials for English/Language Arts and math at the secondary level. Resources can be sorted by state, content area, subject area, grade level, format, publisher and copyright date. Educators and publishers can discover reviewed, core instructional materials from a variety of states and identify trends in instructional materials across multiple states.
The Broadband Imperative III: Driving Connectivity, Access and Student Success report advocates for equitable, reliable, robust broadband access both on and off campus to prepare all students for life and work. This report builds upon SETDA’s earlier work, including it’s groundbreaking Broadband Imperative series of reports and State Broadband K12 Leadership reports. Exemplars highlight states and districts where robust bandwidth has already positively impacted teaching and learning. In addition, SETDA’s report, State K-12 Broadband Leadership: Driving Connectivity, Access and Student Success highlights the importance of state leadership and the various ways states strive to support districts and schools to achieve equitable digital learning opportunities for all students both on campus and outside of school. Complementing this paper is an online story map to provide real time details regarding State K-12 Broadband Leadership. The story map includes the following details: state leadership, state network details, regional network details, alternative model details, state strategies & state broadband funding. http://arcg.is/setdabroadbandmap
SETDA is partnering with CCSSO to strategically align efforts on improving State Education Agency (SEA) data and system interoperability by expanding the adoption of standards, solutions, and practices necessary to impact the education community broadly. CCSSO and SETDA both share a belief that improving data interoperability is an important element to improving student outcomes. With funds made available by the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, CCSSO and SETDA are collaborating on an interoperability themed project titled Project Nessie (Nurturing Engagement & Support for State Education Interoperability Efforts).
Overall, the level of commitment from the SETDA’s membership to support these resources and the collaboration with a variety of partners has made these resources truly valued by many. SETDA looks forward to collaborating on new opportunities in 2020 to provide sustained support for digital learning leaders.
Christine Fox is the Deputy Executive Director for SETDA. As Deputy Executive Director, she collaborates with the Executive Director in charting strategic direction, administration, planning and financial decisions involving SETDA. She also facilitates the members’ professional learning opportunities including planning and implementing the content for SETDA’s virtual and in-person events and newsletters. In addition, she manages many of SETDA’s research and product development projects from conception to publication. The management of such projects includes coordinating data collection from all states, supervising consultants and staff, ensuring member input and supervising the publishing process. Recent publications and projects include Navigating the Digital Shift reports 2015- 2019, the Professional Learning and K12 Instructional Materials Dashboards, the Broadband Imperative Report Series, Guide to Quality Instructional Materials, Digital Instructional Materials Acquisition Policies for States, The Broadband Imperative II: Equitable Access for Learning. Christine Fox’s background includes experience in education and consulting. She has worked as an educational consultant and curriculum developer for a national whole school reform model, ESOL Coordinator and 3rd grade teacher. Christine has a Masters of Science in Teaching English as a Second Language from Florida International University and received her Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Florida State University. She lives in south Florida with her husband and two daughters.
In July, SETDA released the K12 Instructional Materials Dashboard. The dashboard currently represents the review process of thirteen states and includes the participating state reviewed, full course, secondary level instructional materials for English/Language Arts and math. Resources can be sorted by state, content area, subject area, grade level, format, publisher, adoption date and copyright date.
To be included in the database, materials were reviewed via each participating state’s instructional materials independent review processes based on local criteria. These state review processes vary, with assurances that may include instructional materials are factual, engaging, fully accessible for all learners, free from bias and aligned to standards that support sound pedagogy and balanced assessments. For more details, visit the state review process page.
Why the K12 Instructional Materials Dashboard?
States with a review process requested the development of this tool to understand, share, and possibly collaborate with other states in the review and selection process.
The dashboard serves as a resource for state, district and school leaders from all states as they consider new instructional materials. In addition, educators and publishers can discover reviewed, core instructional materials and identify trends across multiple states. Both states that have material review processes and states without a mandated state level review process are continually looking for resources to share with their districts. Educators seeking additional resources may also considering leveraging a variety of online resource repositories or state resource repositories (these may include both full course and/or supplemental materials).
The K12 Instructional Materials Dashboard is housed in the SETDA Guide to Quality Instructional Materials. Launched in 2016 and updated annually (2019 updates to be released in September), the guide provides support to state, district, and school level leaders in the selection of high quality instructional materials that are aligned to standards, address education goals and are accessible for all students. Key considerations, questions and helpful hints are included throughout the guide. Additionally, the guide includes best practice examples from states and districts and national, state and local resources to consider when selecting quality instructional materials.
**Please note: SETDA as an organization did not conduct any instructional material reviews. Inclusion in the dashboard comes from state reviews and is not a material endorsement from SETDA.
Often when coordinating a focus group or presenting a new SETDA resources via a webinar, I mention the Why. Why do we spend the time to research and report on policies and practices? Why do leaders gather to collaborate on topics of interest? The Why always relays back to the students. State department of education leaders, affiliate members and leaders from the private sector all have one cause in mind, improving teaching and learning for all students. The annual SETDA Student Voices Award takes all of the challenging work and provides the opportunity to celebrate the Why, the students.
Each year, SETDA honors an outstanding K-12 school or district that has leveraged technology to dramatically improve the educational experiences and achievement of their students. Winners receive the Elsie Brumback Scholarship, which allows the winner to bring a team of students and educators to attend the annual SETDA Leadership Summit and tour Washington DC.
The 2019 nominees were outstanding, highlighting a variety of programs from across the country including programs that support under-served populations and unique programs that have changed teaching and learning opportunities for all students. Each nominee should be incredibly proud of their dedication to digital learning. This year’s competition was extremely competitive and five finalists have been identified, many of which shared videos in support of their nominations. The winner will be announced at SETDA’s Emerging Technologies Leadership Forum on June 22 in Philadelphia.
This year, the winner will have a group of students present during SETDA’s Leadership Summit on November 4 in Washington DC. All finalists will have the opportunity to attend and/or a speak at the Leadership Summit as well and one of the finalists will also be chosen to participate in a national webinar highlighting their school’s program.
Congratulations to the 2019 Finalists:
- McHenry Elementary School: District 15, McHenry, Illinois
- The Learning Center: Fayette County Schools, Kentucky
- East Grand School: RSU 84, Danforth, Maine
- Community School of Excellence: Saint Paul, Minnesota
- Mineola Middle School: Mineola, New York
Learn more about the finalists on the 2019 Finalists Webpage and details of Previous Winners.
For 2019, special consideration was given to Student Voices nominations that demonstrate examples of project-based digital learning experiences that support work force development. The diversity of the nominations and the dedication of districts, schools and educators to personalizing instruction via digital tools is inspiring.
Thank you to AT&T Aspire for underwriting the Student Voices 2018.
AT&T invests in education and job training to create a skilled and diverse workforce that powers our country for the future. Technology is making it easier for everyone – regardless of age, gender, income or geography – to learn anytime, anywhere. Through the AT&T Aspire initiative, AT&T brings together the power of its network – its employees, its technology and organizations – to connect people to opportunities through education and job training. Since 2008, AT&T has committed $450 million to programs to help millions of students in all 50 states and around the world. Learn more at att.com/aspire.
SETDA encourages state agencies, school districts, and other education stakeholders to provide public comments for the FCC, Notice of Proposed Rule Making: Transforming the 2.5 GHz Band by the deadline Wednesday (August 8) or to reply to comments posted by September 7. Specifically, education leaders can express support for maintaining EBS’s educational nature, especially as a wireless broadband service for “homework gap” students.
Students need access to high capacity broadband to complete homework, use digital instructional materials, participate in virtual courses, and to connect with other students, their teachers, and even with experts throughout the world. The Educational Broadband Service (EBS) can serve as an important tool for state and local education leaders working to ensure all students have access to high capacity broadband. We urge the FCC to (1) recognize EBS’ potential to help close the “homework gap;” (2) maintain the channels’ focus on educational use; (3) make state education agencies and community anchor institutions eligible licensees, in addition to school districts; and (4) ensure the new EBS system promotes broadband service delivery at home to unserved and underserved students.
SETDA believes that the EBS rules should continue to include educational use requirements, including the delivery of high capacity broadband to students on- and off-campus. Updating and continuing EBS’s educational use requirements will provide a guiding vision for licensees’ use of the spectrum and establish the baseline conditions that must be met when the spectrum is leased. We strongly support extending new EBS licensing opportunities to community anchor institutions and consortia, including public-private partnerships, but all of these licensees should be obligated to serve students living in their service areas.
In addition to school districts, EBS licenses should be available to qualified state education agencies, educational service units, and community anchor institutions, so that the spectrum can be allocated to licensees, including consortia, that are best positioned to meet students’ and communities’ educational and broadband needs. Furthermore, well-designed, fair leases aligned to updated educational service requirements, can support effective public-private partnerships designed to meet students’ connectivity needs. The system must, however, include a focus on using the spectrum to deliver home broadband access to unserved and underserved students paired with meaningful build-out and service requirements, review and revision to ensure that the spectrum is being used for its best and highest educational use.
Spectrum is a public resource that should be available to for free to address public needs, such as connecting students to broadband.
If you are interested in lending your voice to preserve the EBS system, please follow these steps:
- Visit the FCC’s “Express Comment” Website at: https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings/express
- Type in this proceeding number in the first field: 18-120
- Complete the contact information fields.
- Provide appropriate comments to fit your perspective and add information about your state agency, school district, organization, or community.
Each year, I am more impressed with the quality of nominations brought forward for the SETDA Student Voices Award. Congratulations to all of the 2018 nominees! The Student Voices award honors an outstanding K-12 school or district that has leveraged technology to dramatically improve the educational experiences and achievement of their students. Winners receive the Elsie Brumback Scholarship, which allows the winner to bring a team of students and educators to attend the annual SETDA Leadership Summit and tour Washington DC. Each nominee should be incredibly proud of their dedication to digital learning and the variety of examples of supporting individual student needs via project-based instruction. This year’s competition was extremely competitive and five finalists have been identified. The winner will be announced at SETDA’s Emerging Technologies Leadership Forum on June 23 in Chicago.
This year, in addition to the winners presenting during SETDA’s Leadership Summit on November 5 in Washington DC, the first runner up will have the opportunity for an administrator to speak on a plenary panel at the Leadership Summit .
Congratulations to the 2018 Finalists:
- Armorel High School EAST Program, Arkansas
- Effingham County CEO Program, Illinois
- Noblesville High School, Indiana
- Meadow Park Middle School, Oregon
- St. Albans City School, Vermont
*Learn more about the finalists on the 2018 Finalists Webpage. You may also view the presentations of Previous Winners.
For 2018, special consideration was given to Student Voices nominations that demonstrate examples of project-based digital learning experiences that impact the local, state or national community. Examples of impact included:
- Students developed resources for the community
- Students conducting research regarding the community
- Students working with local governments to solve a problem
- School/students collaborating with the business community
The diversity of the nominations and the dedication of districts, schools and educators to personalizing instruction via digital tools is inspiring. I look forward to the announcement of the winner and working with the school and students to prepare and present in November. Each year, when it seems that a winner and their presentation could not match the previous winner, the students and staff at each school amaze me and the Leadership Summit audience by exceeding expectations.
Thank you to AT&T Aspire for underwriting the Student Voices 2018.
AT&T invests in education and job training to create a skilled and diverse workforce that powers our country for the future. Technology is making it easier for everyone – regardless of age, gender, income or geography – to learn anytime, anywhere. Through the AT&T Aspire initiative, AT&T brings together the power of its network – its employees, its technology and organizations – to connect people to opportunities through education and job training. Since 2008, AT&T has committed $400 million to programs to help millions of students in all 50 states and around the world. Learn more at att.com/aspire.
The Senate voted (52-47) today to reject the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to eliminate the agency’s Net Neutrality protections. All Senate Democrats and three Republicans – Senator Collins (ME), Sen. Murkowski (AK), and Sen. Kennedy (LA) – supported S.J.Res.52, which was introduced by Sen. Markey (MA) earlier this year. SETDA thanks these senators for voting to protect the interests of schools and other broadband customers and strongly urges the U.S. House to approve the resolution, and send it to the president for his signature, before the Net Neutrality rules expire on June 11.
Commissioner Jessica Rosenwarcel’s Statement
During the 016 SETDA Leadership Summit, we had the priveldge of presenting during the Student Voices Luncheon. We were so thankful to have such a wonderful experience being the three young ambassadors from New Jersey Northfield Community Middle School going to Washington D.C, It was an incredible and a life changing experience! The opportunity allowed us to meet a numerous of STEAM educators and innovators, showing us what we can accomplish as we grow up.
We were lucky to have a team of such wonderful fellow students to help us throughout the process of getting everything ready for our presentation.Our self-appointed team was made up of people we were comfortable working with and everyone played a specific role to support the development of an informational video about our school and prepare our presentation. Working with a team made the job easier and less awkward to complete the project plus, it was a lot more fun and helped make the experience more memorable. Although some people might work better at a quiet desk in silence, we chose to take a different route which involved laughing, cracking jokes, and enjoying our voice in the school.
The event itself was nerve-wracking at first, watching hundreds of people file into the ball room just to see us talk about our school. We were dressed well, rehearsed and waiting with microphones. We remember how professional and important each of us felt. We looked around the room, and could tell each and every individual had a busy schedule, and somewhere to be. We thought about how that day, we were those people too – with an important appointment to present.
First, we spoke about ourselves, about our lives and about who we are. That calmed the nerves of the three of us before we began the presentation on our school learning experiences. When we finally started talking about our extraordinary school, something we have waited so long to do. The words flowed out of our mouths, it is easy to present something you are passionate about. We were able to share examples of our hands on 3-D printing projects including a prosthetic hand and our innovative learning spaces in the hallways and classrooms. Plus, we shared how we have our own student lead sessions like “unconferences” as part of our school day. The leaders asked questions about our teachers and principal and our plans for the future. Everyone was really paying attention and enjoyed the event.
Being able to make the most of our lives and SETDA adventure was our priority. After nailing our presentation, we were thrilled to take a tour around Capitol Hill. Seeing all of the powerful businessmen and women reminded us how lucky we are to have a voice in our community and school. Having this chance to learn about STEAM, communication, government and entrepreneurship was really enthralling. Meeting these fantastic role models inspired all of us in different ways. This responsibility has improved our: confidence, voice, personality, and our overall well being. Honestly, this experience changed our lives forever.
If you have students that can get the chance to participate in this program and share the impact that digital learning has on their education and lives you should make sure they are nominated for 2017.
~ Rebecca Brown, Giselle Obergfell, Aryan Preetom
Northfield Community Middle School Class of 2017
2017 Nominations: Nominations for the 2017 Student Voices Award will open in April. SETDA members and partners have the opportunity to nominate a school or district for this prestigious award. Winners receive a scholarship to Washington D.C. both to present and participate in the Leadership Summit and to tour D.C. Contact Christine Fox with questions.
Underwriting Opportunity: If you are interested in supporting the 2017 Student Voices Winners contact Missy Greene at [email protected] or 202-715-6636 ext. 703. Support includes 9 months of engagement with SETDA leaders.