We were pleased to host Senator Lisa Wellman who arranged for the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee to visit Sammamish High School on Oct. 30. Joining us were Senators Christine Rolfes, Hans Zeiger, Sam Hunt, Andy Billig, Jamie Pedersen and Representative Vandana Slatter. The purpose of the visit was to see high quality teaching and learning in action and how it is supported by technology.
The visitors dialogued with Superintendent Ivan Duran and Sammamish Principal Scott Powers about the district’s newly approved strategic plan, engaged in a presentation about the district’s work related to technology, heard from a student panel, and visited Calculus, Chemistry, AP Human Geography and Geometry classrooms.
Senior Isa Flores Cardenas shared memories of using technology, such as RAZ Kids when she was in elementary school, sharing how helpful the program was for learning English, as she was new to the U.S.
Reflecting on the importance of technology now she said, “Everywhere you go you see technology. They are preparing us with good resources for when we are older.”
Powers shared Sammamish’s approach to technology while recognizing the school’s diversity.
“Whoever you are…where you come from…here is technology,” Powers said as he described the school’s outlook – all students will use technology as a tool and resource in learning. Technology is interwoven into the work so much that the school no longer has textbooks, but rather tech books.
Kelvis Quaynor, who is a sophomore sees the benefit of technology embedded into the classroom. Prior to coming to Sammamish, he didn’t have the same access to computers. He appreciates the one-to-one program and said, “I love having computers at school.” He also explained that being skilled in using technology is valuable, as he hears his dad ask potential employees about their computer skills when hiring.
Director of Technology Jason Golec and Director of Instructional Technology Eric Ferguson presented the overview of the district’s work related to technology in support of high quality instruction. Within this context they discussed the district’s goal of preparing students for the workforce and the important role technology plays.
To have access to these tools, infrastructure and supports must be in place said Ferguson. Providing infrastructure and supports means thinking innovatively on how to implement, improve and continuously support this endeavor. As part of this support, the district recently began purchasing hot spots so that those students who historically have been unable to have access to internet at home, which may have been a barrier to their success, now have the ability to connect at home easily.
As the district’s new vision states we strive to affirm and inspire each and every student. Technology as a resource and tool are one of the many ways to differentiate learning and support students to thrive as creators of their future world.