Many e-learning programs like Istation include hundreds of additional resources educators can use to plan out students’ days, strengthen the school-to-home connection, and much more. But learning exactly how to maximize a program’s bells and whistles can take time, and most educators don’t have much of a margin beyond the scheduled classroom instruction they are tasked to deliver.
Meet Jen Green Gast, Academic RTI Coordinator for Bastrop ISD in Texas. Gast, a professional development (PD) champ and an Istation enthusiast, made a plan to help teachers in her district get the most out of Istation’s digital resources so students could flourish!
Prompted by the challenges of COVID-19 interrupting the 2019-2020 school year and bringing in-person PD to a halt, Gast first sought to understand how much knowledge teachers had of the programs they were using. From there, she built a three-part, targeted PD model that would meet teachers exactly where they were and help them grow in their understanding of the tools they had at their disposal.
She built her strategy around the district’s available digital resources and how teachers could use them by tier. She illustrated this in a simple graphic (see illustration below) in a split RtI triangle that detailed the district’s behavior supports on one side and how to use digital resources by tier on the other.
Next, Gast developed the three targeted PD models. She made sure the new PD models were available via the district’s digital platforms for teachers to view at their convenience.
PD Model 1: For new hires
For those needing help getting started using Istation, Gast set up the new hire training model. Teachers learned how much time to have students use Istation, where to find the Usage Report, and simple ways to track student progress.
PD Model 2: For beginners
Gast called her training for beginners Istation 101. Anyone attending this training learned how to start using Istation and how to use it effectively each week. Attendees explored helpful beginner resources, including tips for teaching in a blended learning environment.
PD Model 3: For Istation pros
Gast’s last training model was designed for teachers who had experience with Istation and were using the program on a regular basis. Their focus was on implementation, differentiation, and student motivation. They learned how to dive into Istation’s Priority Report to find intervention resources as well as where to go for free downloadable resources. Teachers were exposed to helpful blog posts and Istation videos online.
With these three PD models in place, Bastrop was able to deliver customized training on Istation to every teacher in the district.
Follow this three-part series about Bastrop ISD’s total implementation process over the next several weeks. And learn how to help your school or district get the most from Istation.