Sunnyside Unified School District

Sunnyside Unified School District

It’s About More Than a Device: Different by Design

Tucson, AZ
May 4 – 6, 2016

The Sunnyside Unified School District covers 93.6 square miles in the southern part of the City of Tucson and areas adjacent in Pima County, including the northern two miles of the Tohono O’odham Nation. As the second largest school district in Pima County, Sunnyside serves 17,000 students pre-K through 12 in 22 schools, including two large high schools. The percentage of students who are identified as minority is 94.4%, which includes 87.7% Hispanic, 5.6% Anglo, 4.1% Native American, 2.1% African American, and 0.5% Asian American. Approximately 86% of SUSD students are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. About one-third of students are classified as English language learners (ELL). Approximately 14% of the district’s student population receive Special Education services.

Digital Learning in the Sunnyside Unified School District began in 2010 with the introduction of laptops for every fifth-grader in 13 schools. The traditional educational environment was quickly transformed into a unique digital learning opportunity that embraced innovation and risk-taking by students, teachers and educational leaders.

By 2013, all students grades 4 through 12 were issued laptops instead of textbooks. What makes the Sunnyside digital learning environment successful is the effective use of teacher coaches, weekly collaborative professional development and digital leadership teams in the schools.

Professional development, coaching and teacher support have been essential for teachers to successfully integrate technology into their classroom. In Sunnyside, teacher technology training leverages our digital leadership teams to assist with the planning and implementation of effective digital practice. New instructional practices included the use of digital curriculum programs and computer enabled learning strategies. This new engaging digital learning environment allows our schools to provide anytime-anywhere access to learning by students and teachers.

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