Yes, Santa Fe is a 1:1 district where all students have devices. But Dr. Tom Ryan, the district’s chief information technology & strategy officer doesn’t want to talk about 1:1. “It’s not about the Chromebooks,” he says. “It’s about equity” in a district where 75% of students qualify for free and reduced lunch. “We want to make sure that all of the kids have equitable access to the resources they need in the classroom.”
Now that there’s more equity, students can focus on developing their problem-solving and critical thinking skills. In one middle school entrepreneurial class (referred to as “Guppy Tank,” a play on the popular TV show “Shark Tank”), students create their own businesses and then build apps to support them. One student made a sugar-tracking app to help her classmates track their sugar intake and measure their progress with weekly sugar consumption reports. This is also the first year of the district’s K-12 STEM pilot program, in which students are learning how to use robotic apps, 3D printers, laser cutters, and more. And they’re planning an innovation expo to let students from different schools showcase their projects.
Thanks to the district-wide Learning Management System, barriers to professional development and curriculum mapping are being removed, and more importantly, the district is seeing increased student-student, student-teacher, and teacher-teacher collaboration.