HISD principals and administrators from the 11 high schools involved in the district’s PowerUp initiative now have a better understanding of what effective digital instruction looks like, thanks to a recent trip to Mooresville, N.C. The Mooresville Graded School District has had a one-to-one program in place for six years and is partnering with HISD to offer guidance and best practices as the district prepares to distribute more than 18,000 laptops to students next month.
In mid-November, PowerUp principals along with members of HISD’s High Schools Office, the Curriculum, and Professional Support and Development departments, spent several days inside Mooresville secondary classrooms observing teaching and learning using computers and digital technology. Principal Delesa Odell Thomas from the Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy found the trip was eye-opening.
“It was amazing to watch the students be on task and actually lead the class, with the teachers acting as facilitators,” said Thomas. “The entire time I was there, I was taking pictures and asking for copies of different types of projects that the students were working on. I got a ton of ideas and strategies that I have already given to my teachers.”
In addition to classroom observations, the site visit included leadership and data-driven decision- making training, along with an opportunity for Q&A sessions with teachers, principals, and district leadership.
“As a school leader, it was great to witness how Mooresville principals and teachers are using data and online assessments to drive the digital instruction on their campus and take their students to the next level,” said Thomas.
Since Mooresville implemented its one-to-one program, it has seen dramatic gains in student achievement. Between 2009 and 2012, the share of its pupils considered proficient in math, science, and reading rose from 73 to 88 percent.
Mooresville teachers and principals will now head to Houston on December 13 to observe HISD teachers at the Energy Institute High School, the Young Men’s College Preparatory Academy, and the Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy. Those three PowerUp schools distributed computers to their students in October, while the remaining eight will give them out in January 2014.