Board hears more about student engagement

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Assistant Superintendent Sherri Cyra and 21st Century eSchool principal Jill Gurtner updated the Board of Education at its regular meeting on Monday, Feb. 13 on the District's Innovation for Student Engagement pilot and the vision for the program moving forward.

Cyra said the program was implemented last year with the idea of how can the work being done at CSCS be used to help students at other schools. The idea was to use digital tools and recorded lessons.

The Wisconsin eSchool Network has implemented a new learning management system called Buzz, which is also being used for professional development, Cyra said. She likes how the program allows the District to personalize learning for staff. She also likes the idea of "short-style pilots" to see what works really well and expand on it. 

Four sessions have been held and approximately 20 staff members have attended. Participants have been encouraged to work with a partner so they aren't working in silos, she said. 

Gurtner said one of her goals is how to make large, complex organizations better and compared a school district with health care organizations. She believes a benefit of charter schools is you can try small initiatives and learn from them. She noted that teachers are doing assessments all the time and have a good idea what is working. 

"We need to rely on that information so can react more quickly,'' Gurtner said.

Gurtner said the District is using research and best practices along with data provided from interviewing students last year about what works and what doesn't. She also is impressed that staff are more willing to try new things, even if they aren't sure if it will work. She also wants to get to the point where students are involved in the planning process.

"In taking this and systematizing it and how do we take this and give students more voice and choice, that's what really exciting about the direction we are going,'' Superintendent George Mavroulis said.