Phasing is important, Newberg said. The district rolled the initiative out to cohorts of schools to ensure proper implementation and support.

Ongoing professional development with embedded coaching helped teachers learn how to truly use the tools to change instructional practices.

With lessons learned from CFF in mind, the district’s 2015 Digital Classroom project places principal and teacher input at a premium.

School teams submit instructional plans based on student needs to receive hardware refreshes, and input from school leaders and classroom teachers is one of the top requirements.

“when you think about a completely transformed instructional model, this is where we believe we will have greater transformation,” she said. “We want a shared vision, and we want it from end to end–but primarily, we want to hear the teacher and the principal vision around this.”

Some of the program’s components include a shared vision, a curriculum framework with digital resources, a transformed student-centered instructional model, and an equitable deployment.

Focusing on network infrastructure

The School District of Pickens County (SDPC) is rolling out a one-to-four Chromebook initiative in elementary schools, and middle and high schools should be one-to-one during the 2015-2016 school year.

Having technical support to buoy the district’s plan is one of SDPC’s top priorities.

The district inventoried its systems, ranking each system’s priority from 1-7 with 1 being the most important. Then, leaders set about examining how those systems might work together to communicate in the background and be more efficient.

“We want all of these things to talk behind the scenes so a teacher doesn’t have to log into seven different things. We want these things to come into one central location so a teacher can use that data for students,” said Barbara Nesbitt, the district’s director of instructional technology.

“The thing that’s been important to us is knowing what systems we have available, what the data says, and how the systems work with one another so we can provide a better and more seamless experience for our end users,” she said.