This a life-changing scenario ensnared the world. As the nation grappled with it, McAllen ISD faced a challenge – how to maintain the education of more than 22,000 students of all ages and grade levels. But with great challenges, come great opportunities.
“McAllen ISD is flourishing in this environment. We’ve been a 1-to-1 district for almost 10 years now, and over the last four years we’ve really perfected our skills,” said Dr. J.A. Gonzalez, McAllen ISD Superintendent. “A big part of our strength is our people and our infrastructure. That’s why we’ve been able to maneuver and pivot so fast into this environment of Distance Learning.”
Despite the challenges, we are still instructing children each day through Distance Learning. Teachers across McAllen ISD are tackling all subject matter using a variety of online resources, like Google Classroom, Google Hangouts, Google Meets, EduSmart, Gizmo, Flipgrid, Kahoot, Zoom, Class Dojo, Pear Deck, Notability, Quiziz, EduCreations, Seesaw, Explain Everything, Remind 101 and YouTube among others. These videos illustrate how our teachers go the extra mile to embrace teaching and learning in any environment for our McAllen ISD students.
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McAllen ISD is one of the first 1-to1 Districts in the nation. About ten years ago, the District transformed its technology infrastructure by opting to purchase mobile devices for every student and every teacher, rather than purchasing desktops for the classrooms. Since then, staff has led the way in utilizing digital resources to enrich the learning.
“There are a handful (of districts) across the state and country that I feel “get it” and it’s obvious to me that you guys figured it out. So, kudos to you,” said Dr. Carl Hooker, nationally recognized instructional technology consultant. He touted McAllen ISD for preparing its teachers with summer training over the last several years, offering them an abundance of tools to enhance the classroom and blend the learning.
“This moment happens and, all of a sudden, that switch has to be turned on and the districts that are doing it well (like McAllen ISD) have already had those practices in place for the last several years. Most districts can only provide one device per family. You guys front end loaded those tools with instructional technology and so now, it’s just a matter of working with the parents.”