Providing robust professional development to educators in a district of 30,000+ students can be a logistical nightmare, but the Oklahoma City Public School District managed to consolidate and streamline its PD processes using Hoonuit’s intuitive platform.
Educators know better than anyone that learning doesn’t stop once you’ve gotten your diploma. This is as true for recent high school graduates as it is for district superintendents (and professionals in just about every field) — to the extent that the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) even took steps to codify this wisdom in federal education policy.
Of course, professional development (PD) for teachers and school administrators long predates the government’s 2015 revamp of American public schools, and the challenges inherent to communicating with a large group of people with differing levels of professional experience will persist long into the future.
One district that has faced and overcome those challenges is the Oklahoma City Public School District (OKCPS). Looking to streamline the way in which administrators communicated with staff, the district adopted Hoonuit’s professional development platform three years ago as a means to deliver engaging, results-producing PD. Back when ESSA was still little more than an item on Congress’ to-do list, OKCPS made a commitment to improving its PD processes from top to bottom, and found that Hoonuit offered everything needed to get the job done.
Serving over 30,000 students across 77 campuses in the Oklahoma City metro area, OKCPS is the largest school district in the state of Oklahoma, and includes fairly high poverty and transient rates, as well as a sizeable population of Spanish-speaking ESL students. The majority of the district’s teachers fall into two distinct categories: those with more than 15 years of experience under their belts, and those with fewer than five. Consequently, when searching for a PD platform, OKCPS was looking for a tool that could provide value for teachers with a wide range of professional experience.
“When we had a team of four or five people providing professional development to a district that serves more than 30,000 students, we just weren’t able to provide adequate ongoing learning resources for our teachers,” says OKCPS educational technology trainer Mandy Govia. “In view of the time limitations that teachers have to contend with, we really wanted a tool that our teachers could use to learn on their own time, at their own pace.”
According to Govia, district stakeholders were impressed with how easily Hoonuit could provide “anytime, anyplace learning opportunities” related to edtech, classroom management strategies, and anything else teachers wanted or needed to know.
Initially, OKCPS adopted Hoonuit for the express purpose of facilitating its transition to a “Google district.” And while the platform served as an invaluable connective tool for all things Google, the district quickly saw the value of moving all of its PD and training processes onto the platform.
“The edtech team has started adding district-specific resources for schools that are rolling out Chromebooks, mobile devices, and SMART Boards™,” Govia explains. “When we launched new district-wide academic standards, the curriculum department added informational courses to Hoonuit, as well. The communications department has added their branding style guide, legal has added resources, and our cultural resources and ESL departments have added their specific resources for their staff members’ benefit.”
This widespread use of the Hoonuit platform has enabled departments across OKCPS to improve the efficiency and increase the impact of their in-person PD endeavors. Administrators frequently assign or recommend Hoonuit training modules prior to an in-person ongoing learning session, ensuring that everyone is on the same page and has a similar level of fundamental background information going into the session. This, says Govia, eliminates a great deal of wasted time, as no one needs to be caught up and the PD instructor can jump right in as soon as the session begins.
Prior to adopting Hoonuit, OKCPS managed all of its PD and training via email, an approach that often resulted in an overwhelming amount of back-and-forth and, ultimately, an unwieldy and scattered ongoing learning apparatus. By consolidating all of its district-specific information on the Hoonuit platform, OKCPS has made it far easier for educators to find and access the information they need at a moment’s notice — without digging through a flooded inbox.
“It’s nice to have everything housed together in one location so our teachers and school leaders are not searching a bunch of different Google Drive folders, websites, and resources,” says Govia. “People have learned that Hoonuit is the one place that they need to look for just about everything.”
Ultimately, the most important outcome to emerge from the district’s adoption of Hoonuit is that teachers and school administrators are actually using the district’s PD resources. “The district had a habit of purchasing a bright new shiny tool every school year,” says Govia, “But we’ve been using Hoonuit for three years now, and our plan is to continue to use it moving forward. The fact that we’ve been able to keep Hoonuit in place has been great, and it’s built credibility with our staff. This is a big win for our district.”
Click here to learn more about how Hoonuit Professional Development’s Learn It. Do It. Share It. Prove It. framework can equip your district to reach every student effectively.