Bridging the Digital Divide during a Pandemic

Shad McGaha, Chief Technology Officer, Wichita Falls ISD
Kevin Schwartz, Chief Technology Officer, Austin ISD
Steve Wentz, Retired CTO

COVID-19 exposed great inequities in our educational system with many students not having equal access to at-home devices or broadband internet access. Learn from a panel of technology experts on various ways districts dealt with the digital divide during the pandemic. Hear some of their future plans of new ideas to provide more equitable access for all students.

Using Technology to Re-Open Schools during the Pandemic

Leslie Garakani, Chief Technology, Midlothian ISD
Courtney Carpenter, Interim Superintendent, Midlothian ISD

Paula Ross, Technology Manager, Cypress-Fairbanks ISD
Barbara Brown, Sr. Director of Technology, Prestonwood Christian Academy

There were many moving parts to get schools reopened after the shutdown. Learn from a panel of technology experts on what their districts did to make the opening as smooth and safe as possible. The panel will discuss how their districts created task force groups that planned strategically and used technology to facilitate the reopening. Participants will have time to interact with the panel and hear about their lessons learned.

Career Readiness through Community Engagement

Janie Cook, President, Junior Achievement of South Texas
Sheila McDonald, Program Manager, Junior Achievement of South Texas
Dalia Johnston, College and Career Readiness Specialist, East Central ISD

Looking for innovative ways to prepare students for college and career? Learn about unique partnership opportunities available with Junior Achievement to prepare students for the real world. Hear from a Texas public school partner why they choose JA’s cutting-edge K-12 TEKS aligned programs.

SEL for Everyone! MTSS Approaches to Target Early-Childhood Students and Integrating Adult SEL

Megan Pape, Director of Special Education & 504, Bellville ISD
Chris Alford, Licensed Specialist, School Psychology, Bellville ISD

Examine SEL research and data that demonstrates differing prosocial skills early-childhood students need facilitated at school and factors that contribute. Explore how to target individual student needs using the MTSS framework, and how intentional capacity building with Adult SEL is used in implementation. Participants will engage in reflection, leave with ideas for utilization, and depart with a tool Bellville ISD developed to support early-childhood SEL implementation.

Transformational Turbulence: Redesigning Learning During a District Closure

Tory Hill, Superintendent, Sweeny ISD
Charolet Kremmer, Executive Director of Teaching and Learning, Sweeny ISD
Amy Pope, Assistant Superintendent, Sweeny ISD
Amber Stowers, Coordinator of Academic Services and Instructional Technology, Sweeny ISD

The perfect storm creates turbulence that disrupts an organization. Participants will gain insights into the ways in which Sweeny ISD, a small school district, transformed learning during COVID-19. SISD will share their journey of how a bottom-up transformational approach created the conditions most conducive for leaders, teachers, and students to reinvent themselves to reach their greatest potential.