VBOs. Class materials. Assessments. Parent feedback.
After years of relying on individual platforms to provide these services, Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) is working to bring one, comprehensive learning management system to students, teachers and staff across the division. In fact, a small number of schools are “test-driving” it now.
Since September, all 15 VBCPS Digital Learning Anchor Schools have been working within a new system, Schoology, a cloud-based platform which integrates tests and quizzes, homework dropboxes as well as other capabilities to help facilitate online discussion/collaboration for classes, specific groups or even a school. Schoology also has a gradebook function for specific assessments; however, VBCPS will still be utilizing Synergy as its overarching gradebook.
“We are very excited about how Schoology will help streamline our resources and provide our staff a one-stop-shop for their work in the classroom,” said Ramesh Kapoor, VBCPS chief information officer. “Yet, what we are really eager to see is how our teachers and administrators will use this system’s offerings to elevate their students’ learning and further engage our families.”
To launch a new learning management system, staff from the departments of Teaching and Learning, Technology, School Leadership and Planning, Innovation and Accountability spent two years identifying division needs, researching systems and best practices and going through an extensive request for proposals (RFP) review process before selecting Schoology. Then came the work to prepare the interface for the Anchor School pilot in 2017-18.
Specifically, staff members from Teaching and Learning have uploaded the standards and objectives of the Virginia Beach curriculum into the Schoology system. This helps teachers and staff easily integrate curricular ties into their learning plans. Additionally, as part of the Schoology platform, staff also can upload and store digital resources connected to their specific learning plans, which, again, allows for easier and direct access points for teachers and students alike.
“As we have been spending time this semester exploring the platform more and more, we are seeing the ways we can best deliver materials and resources,” said Dr. Amy Cashwell, chief academic officer. “That can be how we provide supporting materials for students and families for class or homework assignments and it is also how we support our teachers in the classroom with delivering new resources and tools directly to their accounts. This new platform allows us to have real-time and dynamic collaboration to create the best learning experiences possible.”
This kind of interactive digital resource is similar to the G Suite for Education that some teachers and students are currently using. Many of the same applications are integrated in the Schoology accounts, including Google Drive, Google Documents and other Google apps.
All schools will have the opportunity to access Schoology by the end of the year so that staff can log in and see the platform firsthand. However, in the meantime, any employee interested in learning more about Schoology’s offerings can visit the Learning Management System page on vbcps.com. There, visitors will find more in-depth descriptions of the platform’s capabilities, a Schoology FAQ as well as a “Getting Started” guide that was distributed to Anchor Schools ahead of in-service week.
More information about Schoology’s divisionwide rollout will be shared throughout the year. For any specific questions about the system, contact the school division’s Department of Teaching and Learning at 263-1419.Tell your friends! Follow us!