ATLIS Virtual Town Hall 20 May 2020: Training/PD, Assessment, and School Culture.

The May 20 ATLIS Virtual Town Hall focused on the ATLIS Technology Considerations for Campus Reopening, a list of questions and concerns that originated with the ATLIS Think Tank. Topics included online training and PD, assessment, and school culture. -- SD [15-minute read, 1-hour video]

Campus reopening banner

Quick Links

register buttonATLIS VIRTUAL TOWN HALL, June 3, 1 pm EASTERN
Open to all.  Register only if you have not registered for a previous VTH.


Crowdsourced from you, the ATLIS community, this summit will feature ways technology leaders are using data and collecting stories for future planning in  uncertain times. 

Registration required; ATLIS members, no charge; non=-members $45 

Summit your idea now to be considered as a panelist; not required with register, be we encourage you to share.

Virtual Town Hall
20 May 2020
Video Archive



What are your reflections on your school’s online training?

If using local servers to host faculty training, should we be looking at cloud services to do a better job?

  • One popular cloud service is Canvas. 

Even with an online hub for ongoing training, communication is important. You have to be on top of notifications to let everyone know what is new.

Teams and Office 365 can be used to share information. Training is being built out in 2-hour segments. New assignments and assessments are based on feedback from teachers about how tools are being used.

We use Teams and have channels dedicated to remote earning tips and training.Considering taking Google Classroom to a younger age.

We are asking faculty to take  a step back and look at curricula.

  • What can remain asynchronous?
  • What needs to be done in person? 
  • How can we change the way we think about assessment?

We plan to concentrate on social emotional learning and hands-on experiences that are difficult to replicate at home (labs, etc.), while in-person and other content learning is moving to be more asynchronously delivered.

In a distance learning model, shouldn’t we be innovative about integrating more breaks?

We are moving from emergency remote learning to a thoughtful, deliberate teaching environment (that will, most likely, include a remote component).
There is a need for sharing baseline training about how to teach online, including assessment.

  • Need more training for effective remote learning vs. learning on the fly.
  • Ruzuku offers courses on distance learning.

We’re looking more at a “choose your own adventure approach” to summer learning.


We are working to change the narrative with regards to what really constitutes assessment.

  • Increase opportunities for students to “show what they know” -- in other words, climb the Bloom’s Taxonomy level).
  • Regarding assessment, I was discussing with a colleague that both of our kids say that they constantly get asked about what they KNOW more than what they are curious about and what they are interested in exploring and learning more about. Food for thought.
  • Challenge Success did a great workshop for us called “Grab and Go Assessments” (See Virtual Workshops for Summer 2020.)
  • See GOA also for information on  assessments.
  • What about as a testing platform?
  • Assessment tip: Screencastify Submit has a new feature. Students video themselves doing one math problem, for example.
  • Last year we invested in Examsoft as a secure tool. The challenge is consistent adoption
  • Explain Everything and Notability

 Who is driving these conversations?

Tech was initially involved because of tools, to explain what was possible.  Now the conversation is bigger, more of a Think Tank situation.

We generally need to have more conversations about pedagogy and our ed tech team has not been seen as having instructional chops… even though we have a lot of experience in this area.

Lower School LMS Needs

We’ve discussed specific needs for a Lower School LMS -- with Blackbaud, you can’t have a database of questions you can reuse, you can’t import questions. 

There are log-in and sign-in issues.

  • The login issue with younger students may become less of an issue as schools move 1:1 with them.
  • Classlink works well for logging in with littles with a QR code.
  • Canvas with Littles K-5 Usage

Regarding Lower School, it may be helpful to standardize how faculty delivers content online to make it easier for students and parents to navigate.

  • LMS for 1st grade would include spelling words for the week (for example) with some ideas for practicing them, schedule for the week, resources organized into units/themes, and a one-stop place for parents to access learning content.

Seesaw is another popular option. 

  • However,  Seesaw is not an LMS, and using it that way iis not productive or efficient. It’s more of a student portfolio and/or communication. 
  • But what level of LMS does 1st grade really need? LMS for early education looks much different than it does for a high school.
  • We use Seesaw Nursery through G2 and selectively with older grades (such as art).  We are experimenting with Sutori as a more visual way to organize content for young kiddos.

Some are seeking something more robust than Seesaw.

Sycamore Education provides an SIS (combination of LMS and SMS) for K-8 schools. 

What are you thinking about creating connections when establishing school norms and culture when reopening in the fall?

Thinking about returning to small rooms on campus -- there are concerns that this will create a bad experience for both students who are in person and those who are online.

There seems to be a desire for a universal solution provided by  tech in the classroom -- this is not  even a good band aid approach.  How can cameras in the classroom NOT make the kids at home second-class learners?

I'm worried about on-campus school experiences for students.  If it is too much like going to the supermarket (e.g., tape, sparsity, one-way signs, etc.), then students may opt to stay in the comfort of their home.

I’m more worried about the students at home for an extended amount of time due to personal or family member health issues.  For students that might be on a rotating schedule of home vs. face-to-face, and they will have a very different experience.

Instead, we should be focusing on a project-based learning environment.

Educators know we need to change the teaching piece; the solutions are not necessarily tech.

  • Perhaps make use of teacher cohorts so that teachers can figure out how things should look.
  • We have to lead by pushing people forward. 
  • Goals should focus on social interaction. 
  • We have an opportunity to change how we deliver education in our schools, and we may not get this opportunity again.
  • We have to sit with the curriculum designers and change how teaching is done.

Looking at a team-taught environment. 

  • Perhaps with one at school and one connected to kids at home.
  • Could help with burnout and social isolation of teachers, and maybe provide a better service to students both in person and at home.

Struggling with keeping physical doors open during class changes vs. access controlled security.

If independent schools want to stay open, we are going to have to make a hybrid environment work.

  • Nervous about the chaotic nature of this environment. 

Ask what is critical to be taught face-to-face,  and what is not.

One factor we can’t rule out is teacher burnout. We need to understand where teachers want to engage and meet them where they are, pairing this with some coaching.

  • We are considering a major overhaul of our school calendar to build in down time on a much more regular basis.

This pandemic has the opportunity to help us reinvent ourselves on so many levels. 

We want to  “return to normal” regarding social interactions, but we cannot return to the way we used to teach!

Division heads are also burnt-out -- we can’t get them to focus. Meanwhile tech people are thinking, “Do we need to order things?”

Need to beware of going to a new software. This can sometimes be a precarious solution in schools. This relates not just to the LMS, also your connection to your SIS.

Need something that our high school kids can use to connect with each other.  Creating a digital classroom culture is critical and part of that is letting them interact.  Anyone know of a good way to do this?

  • Think about Slack, Teams or other platforms that are social for kids this age.
  • Maybe Flipgrid for assignment-based connections.

What will be your expectations for faculty PD for the coming year? Will this be the same?

Moving from optional to required.

We cannot “require” it which is frustrating bc those who need it won’t do the “optional” training.

With teachers so tired in June,  it is a tough time to do serious PD.

We always have PD the week after school ends for students in June.  We've tried to help with burnout by giving Fridays off since mid-April.

Asking for 12 hours this summer; this is outside the norm. We have to be specific and give faculty this information now.

Ask “What do you need help with  in the classroom? We can help our teachers build a PD learning plan for the summer by providing suggestions for them.

Perhaps create a menu of modules as options for teachers to do asynchronously, all while modeling GOA recommendations. 

What do we need CFOs, division heads to think about for reopening… what are we missing?

We are looking at putting modular classrooms on campus -- what does it mean to network them and provide AV? 

  • We have to dispel the rumor that the WIFI on campus will automatically take care of connecting everyone. 
  • Ask Facilities what is being planned -- poke your head in the door.

If we do spread out physically on campus, how do we truly integrate “specials” -- art, music, tech, etc.?

  • How to use them in a more effective way when we can’t hire enough people to do proper social distancing.

Concerns about big-ticket approvals considering that the supply chains are already strained and lengthened.

In addition to our normal equipment rotations, we are considering outfitting some or all classrooms for broadcast options and one touch ease.

What are you doing about the proliferation of tools?

Reining them in by putting a vetting policy in place.

There are just too many  tools -- we’re gonna shut that down. 

It is trying to rope the wind.  We started with the recommended tools.  This requires whole school support and buy-in.

We only approved certain tools and paid for what we wanted. We are paring back our catalog of existing tools. We are also going to address rogue teachers who did things that we don’t want them to do.

  • Any techniques for shutting them down? How do you tell a teacher you’re killing off their pet discovery?
  • Ask which are effective enough to keep?

Who is going to manage the problem of vetting tools and keeping them in check?

If the school is going to be careful about student privacy concerns, the administration has to support tech department by requiring apps  service to be reviewed and approved FIRST before teachers roll them out to students.

What are your remaining burning questions?

What about shared devices, VR labs, etc.? There’s no way of keeping them safe. We have to look at shared devices in all public spaces. Does anyone have a handle on this yet? We need some sort of documentation on using keyboards, etc.

  • There also needs to be stations of wipes and sanitizer at each of those stations.
  • How is that ordering of those supplies being handled at schools? 
  • Set up 3d printers for remote prints with webcams.
  • Repurpose these rooms for other needs?

What about teacher "toolkits" for those needing to teach from home or remotely? 

  • Provide document cameras for everyone everywhere? 
  • Mics/headphones? 
  • Cables to direct connect devices?

What about temperature checks? I’m told we are going to do that, but not I’m wondering how.

  • Temperature checks = “security theater”  but are still useful in managing expectations and reminding students that these are different times.
  • Consider the ACLU’s stance on temperature checks?

Planning to track covid symptoms among staff/faculty and students. Has anyone thought of this? 

Tools and Resources

ClassLink: Single Sign-On for Education


Educause,7 Things You Should Know About… the HyFlex Course Model, November 2010.

EdPrivacy is Data Privacy Management for K-12 Schools


Jason Johnston, E-Learning with Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy, Youtube, 27 September 2016.

Laura Litton. 3 Assignment Ideas for Screencastify Submit, Screencastify blog, 24 March 2020.

Parlay Ideas -- The Future of Class Discussion

PBL K12 Online Summit

Ruzuku -- Amazing Courses Online

Leslie Stark,Canvas with Littles K-5 Usage, Canvas blog, 17 May 2019

Sutori: Presentations for the Classroom

Sycamore Education (SIS for K8)
Share this post:

Comments on "ATLIS Virtual Town Hall 20 May 2020: Training/PD, Assessment, and School Culture. "

Comments 0-5 of 0

Please login to comment