In Texas, Jacinto “Cinto” Ramos Jr., a former school board trustee for Fort Worth Independent School District, similarly worked toward equity for students in his region after assuring equal access.
“There were a lot of other challenges that followed,” Ramos says. “There were families that didn’t comprehend the basics of using a device: powering it up, navigating different programs and even how to connect to the internet.”
As K–12 schooling continues to rely on educational technology, here’s how districts are making strides toward equitable learning opportunities for students.
Educational Technology Gathers Data That Evaluates Equity
With the new technology, Contes has ways of reaching all the students in the district. “I administer a wellness and belonging survey, as well as a social emotional learning survey, twice a year.”
This gives him and the district’s educators a baseline for how students are feeling and why they might be underperforming or behaving in certain ways. “When you look at the numbers, they look good at 83 or 84 percent. Then you say, ‘Wait a minute, where are the other 16 percent?’”
He says it’s important for all K–12 staff members to shift their mindset when looking at the data to help the students who would otherwise be overlooked.
Ramos also uses data points to determine if students are being treated equitably. As part of the My Brother’s Keeper chapter he volunteers with, Ramos introduced new ways of using videoconferencing technology.
“We use video not only for livestreaming but also for uploading in a cloud-based system from our devices,” he says. This allows the volunteers to reflect after working with students. Ramos says they look at how the students respond and whether adults did most of the talking.