Discovery Education partnering with PowerUp educators

HISD is partnering with Discovery Education, a branch of the media company Discovery Communications, as the district begins its journey to transform all classrooms into 21st century learning environments. Principals, assistant principals, and deans from the PowerUp one-to-one campuses recently attended a hands-on workshop with Discovery Education to explore some of the digital content and interactive lessons that teachers and students will have access to as part of the district’s digital transformation.

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“It was nice to be the student for once, going from station to station, using the laptop,” said Sam Houston Math Science and Technology Center Principal Jane Crump. “It really shows you the importance of reaching every child and every learning style”

Sam Houston is one of eight high schools that will be distributing laptops to students this coming January as part of the PowerUp initiative. The Energy Institute High School, Young Men’s College Preparatory Academy, and the Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy distributed laptops to students in October.

“It’s exciting to have an instructional and professional development platform through Discovery Education as we launch this initiative,” said YWCPA Principal Delesa Odell Thomas. “This is what we need to push our teachers and students forward.”

In additional to providing digital tools and resources that can be used on the laptops, Discovery Education will be assisting the district with building capacity, managing expectations, and supporting schools as they shift into a different style of teaching and learning. Over the next several months, HISD’s Professional Support and Development Department will be working with Discovery Education to create 44 model classrooms across the 11 PowerUp schools. The classrooms will be used for professional development and to train teachers in the 11 pilot schools and during the next phase of PowerUp, which includes 18 schools in the 2014-2015 school year.

“We both gain from this partnership,” said Hall Davidson, Director of Global Learning for Discovery Education. “We are going to gain a lot as we watch the PowerUp program make the digital transformation at HISD. It’s going to be very exciting to see what happens in Houston.”