About 40 school administrators, principals, board members and teachers are visiting Sunnyside schools this week to pick the Tucson district’s brain on educational technology.
The tours are part of the National School Boards Association’s Technology Leadership Network, which allows school officials from around the country to learn about what other districts are doing to integrate technology into their learning environment.
The group visited Lauffer Middle School and Desert View High School Thursday. The group will visit Gallego K-8 Intermediate Fine Arts Magnet School and Los Amigos Technology Academy today.
Sunnyside is “very much keeping pace with the nation’s leading ideas” on educational technology, said Ann Flynn, director of educational technology for the National School Boards Association. The district has a one-to-one laptop program.
The group wants to see how technology is being used — rather than what technology the district has — and what sort of technological and professional development infrastructures are in place, she said.
“Site visits like these give school leaders an opportunity to learn from someone else,” Flynn said.
What made Sunnyside stand out among many school districts using educational technology is that technology is seamlessly integrated into instruction and that it adds to the fostering of college and career readiness, she said.
At Desert View Thursday morning, the group of 40 split into smaller groups to tour the high school’s campus, 4101 E. Valencia Road.
Tour stops included the precision manufacturing class and shop, where students used sophisticated technology for design and manufacturing, and a U.S. history class, where students used their laptops to search for images from the Library of Congress website for their final projects.
Desert View Principal Jose Gastelum said he wants the visitors to see how technology enhances learning. The laptops and fancy equipment alone don’t mean anything, but they are powerful tools in education, he said.
“Teachers and students drive instruction,” Gastelum said.
Vincent Williams, principal of the Barstow STEM Academy in California, said he has read about programs Sunnyside offers.
“It’s good to see so many of these programs in action,” he said.
His school is also doing a one-to-one laptop program, he said. He wants to see what Sunnyside is doing to translate that program into academic improvement and take it back to his school.