Michael Hanson

Fresno Unified School District

Fresno, California

Hanson has used technology to completely revamp district operations and student achievement. He meets with other superintendents across the state using a Cisco Telepresence video conferencing network that he created to improve communication between districts and reduce travel costs, and a district initiative called Foundations involves revamping lesson plans and curriculum. District tech leaders developed a new system in Sharepoint to help support this initiative.

Hanson also supported a digital portfolio project that put laptops in 350 classrooms. Through a variety of funds, more than 2,000 interactive whiteboards, 16,000 netbooks, and 3,000 video projectors have been purchased and deployed over the past four years. The district has leveraged eRate funds to connect each school to a high-speed network with fiber-optic lines and a 1 Gbps connection to the internet—with the capacity to go to 10 Gbps.

Hanson supervised creation of the district’s five-year technology plan, whose goals include one-to-one computing for students; video projectors and wireless laptops or tablets for all teachers; having 45 percent of students involved in online or blended-learning environments; online portfolios for all students; professional development to support 21st-century teaching and learning; internet and digital communication safety for staff and students; and a student analytics system to give teachers real-time analysis of student performance and recommendations for moving each cluster of students forward in student achievement.

A technology audit five years ago revealed that the district’s technology ranked among the worst in the state, prompting Hanson to dedicate the necessary resources to turn the situation around. The district now ranks in the top five in the state in terms of technology.