Heroes at Work: How San Diego USD made PD a pandemic priority

Educators and school leaders in the San Diego Unified School District changed gears quickly to focus on teacher PD, support, and student engagement as learning went virtual

eSN: What innovations learned during the pandemic do you intend to keep going forward?

JG: Well, first of all, because of everything we did learn during our shutdown and our online learning, our district is transitioning to a one-to-one district, where students will get a device in second grade. That’s their device for second through fifth grade, then another device for six through eight and another device in ninth grade for ninth through 12th. So we’ll continue a lot of these strategies that we learned.

We also learned a lot about student-centered learning. So a big shift was, “If I’m sitting on Zoom and I’m going to talk at you for an hour, I am not going to have your engagement.” So teachers had to explore different ways of releasing, releasing that responsibility to the students.

And you don’t just say, “Okay, you’re in charge now, right?” That comes down to lesson design and it comes down to using appropriate tools. So that was a big shift that we are continuing to work on, especially as we come back into the classroom, because some teachers, some people are still saying, “Oh, wow, we get to go back to business as usual now.” And it’s like, “No, we don’t.”

We learned so much about checking in on understanding about students, empowering themselves to be in charge of their own learning students, creating goals for themselves. So I personally feel like our takeaways are— how can we put learning in the hands of students, how can we connect students better with their peers and with the teacher?

Kevin Hogan
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