Alternative Staffing Models Empower Teachers and Help Them Thrive
As a professor of educational leadership at the University of Colorado Denver, Scott McLeod believes that using technology in innovative ways can reduce teacher stress and burnout. He’s also seen how re-energized and recommitted teachers are when they have flexibility in their teaching style and location, and when they are able to incorporate more technology.
He also believes hybrid teaching could be useful. “This idea that every single teacher must be a full-time, in-person teacher for six periods out of the seven-period day, with one period off for lesson planning, that model is dying in the corporate world and university world,” he says. “It’s still holding true in K–12 because of child supervision concerns, but we have opportunities to create some alternative staffing models where people can dive into specialization, part-time work, or remote work that would empower them and allow some of them to thrive in a different way.”
Bourbon County is close to breaking the traditional learning mold. It expects the state to approve its District of Innovation designation within the next several months. That would allow Bourbon County High School to pilot the one-day-a-week remote program in the 2024-2025 school year.
During that out-of-school day, students could focus on writing-intensive classwork on their Chromebooks, complete community partnership projects or connect with teachers via videoconferencing to discuss work in progress, Adkins says.
Teachers currently use wired desktops connected to ViewSonic Interactive Displays for in-person teaching. Inside and outside of the classroom, both students and teachers use Chromebooks and Google Workspace for Education and will continue to use them for remote learning.
“We’ve also discussed using ViewSonic’s myViewBoard as an instructional collaborative tool to help with remote and live instruction for those who may be at school as well as those who choose to be at home or work on the blended-learning day,” says Wes Tipton, the district’s CIO.
DISCOVER: Focus on these core ed tech buckets to reduce digital overload.
Network Upgrades Unlock Online Teaching Beyond Borders
Each approach to remote or hybrid learning is as varied as a school district or its location. Wireless network upgrades were made possible through E-rate and the Federal Communication Commission’s Emergency Connectivity Fund. Those upgrades helped all three districts achieve the bandwidth and connectivity required to scale online instruction — sometimes even beyond their district’s borders — without interruption or dropped connections. Battle Ground recently replaced all of the district’s switches, upgrading to Juniper, and added ClearPass servers from HPE Aruba.
Bourbon County Schools upgraded the district’s wireless network in 2022, adding new Extreme Networks cloud-managed access points in each classroom and will bid out its core switch this year, to be purchased at an 85 percent discount thanks to E-rate funding, Tipton says.
“We feel like we’re in good shape now and can handle the traffic,” Tipton says. “We’re not even close to hitting our threshold.”