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Letter from the Superintendent

posted Apr 4, 2016, 6:24 AM by Emily McKinnon   [ updated Apr 4, 2016, 6:24 AM by CEL Marketing PR Design ]

Strategic Plan Goal #4

Guarantee Creative and Relevant Digital Learning Opportunities

March 21, 2016

Dear Princeton Community,

Over the past few months, I have been sharing information with you  about our Strategic Plan. The School Board has approved the Mission, Vision, Core Values, District Goals and the associated Action Plans in the recent past few months.   

Here are the goals:

  • Provide personalized instruction for every student,

  • Prepare 21st Century students to be career and college ready,

  • Implement innovative programming,

  • Guarantee creative and relevant digital learning opportunities,

  • Improve communication with staff, parents, business and community partners in order to maximize student success.

This article is the fourth of five articles, to tell you about each of our goals.

The past three articles were about goals one, two, and three in our Strategic Plan:  Provide personalized instruction for every student.  Prepare 21st Century students to be career and college ready.  Implement innovative programming.  The fourth goal is:  Guarantee creative and relevant digital learning opportunities.

Why is this a goal?  Providing students with current and relevant tools for learning is our job, to help them to become creative producers.  Instead of learning and memorizing content, students need to know how to access content and turn it into creative products.  Also, providing students with devices supports teachers in their quest to help students to engage in cognitively complex tasks.

Many districts in our state have implemented a one to one device initiative; we are “late adopters.” Our School Board approved our technology plan, and we will be investing in devices in a three year process, beginning with grades 6, 8 and 9 next year.  Students will receive Chromebooks in the fall, and teachers will be using them to teach the Minnesota Content Standards.  These devices will not necessarily go home with students on the first day of school; students will need to learn about being responsible digital citizens. Significant professional development will be given to our teachers to support them throughout the process.

Guarantee creative & relevant digital learning opportunities.

There are three parts to this goal:

  • Align district and building leadership to drive digital-age classroom instruction.

  • Assess current instructional and technical support infrastructures.

  • Provide all teachers with anywhere, just-in-time learning, differentiated to meet every need.

Align district and building leadership to drive digital-age classroom instruction.

The first step is to define digital learning strategies and assessment.  Leadership roles will focus on learning and integrating 21st century skills into their daily interactions with teachers and staff.

Then staff will connect digital learning strategies to established learning progressions.  The assessments will focus on building capacity within each learner to solve real-world problems and acquire new skills.

Next, teachers and building leaders will model and support the mastery of 21st century skills as part of the content learning standards.

Assess current instructional and technical support infrastructures.

Staff will identify and develop core competencies required to be educated in the digital age.  After this is completed, we will align instructional and technical support staff to support 21st century teaching and learning.

Looking at technology capacity, we know that infrastructure and internet speeds will exceed the current and future capacity.  This is work that never stops.  We need to continually upgrade our infrastructure and internet speeds.

Lastly, we need to ensure students have opportunities for access to digital learning tools before, during, and after school, including using the internet.

Provide all teachers with anywhere, just-in-time learning, differentiated to meet every need.

There is a need to start this action step by explicitly connecting technology to Princeton’s learning map, utilizing models of technology integration.  Next, we will develop relevant digital-age professional development that focuses on individual teachers’ needs and building internal capacity of all our teachers.  The last step will be that all teachers participate and engage capacity-building learning opportunities, coaching, and instructional technology tools that enhance student mastery of 21st century skills.

Perhaps this goal sounds technical; it is.  This is a goal that will enhance our other goals, and ultimately, if done deeply and intensely, will facilitate our ability to improve student achievement.  This goal is not a standalone goal, but rather a goal that lifts up the rest of our goals.

Many thanks to our School Board for investing in our students’ futures, by providing the funding for this goal.  It will catapult us in this century.


Julia Espe

Superintendent, Princeton Public Schools