A path to digital success for LCPS
In March of 2020, as Covid-19 was shuttering school buildings and the world seemed to be flipping upside-down, I relied on three pieces of advice given to me by a teacher. This advice came to me through a series of mildly panicked texts and a phone call. It has stuck with me this year and guided much of my decision-making.
- Keep it simple.
- Know where to go for help.
As the Chief Technology Officer for Las Cruces Public Schools, much of my work this year has been creating the digital infrastructure to ‘do’ school at home. These three ideas have guided my work and helped me stay focused on serving the needs of our community.
Faces. It was a priority of LCPS that we engage in safe and ongoing communication with our community. Students were provided access to LCPS computers that had webcams and the entire district moved to Zoom as our video-conferencing tool. We immediately started offering trainings to teachers and staff on Zoom, Zoom’s safety features, and effective ideas for online engagement.
Keep it simple. Through this year, another goal for me was to make sure the technology we used was consistent and simple. To this end, we selected a consistent touch-screen device that could be used across every grade level, K-12. LCPS also chose to use Canvas as the learning management platform. Through the adjustments of the year, maintaining consistency for all users was a priority.
Know where to go for help. During this school year, this has probably been top of mind for me. LCPS established Canvas Captains at each school site. These teams provided Canvas and online learning support for staff members at the school and then students on and off campus. Their work this year has been critical to this school year.
Additionally, LCPS expanded our own technical service desk. We now provide English and Spanish technicians Monday through Friday, from 7am-8pm at 575-527-HELP. Service Desk services are available to all LCPS staff and students.
For me, these three guides all focused on creating an environment for student success. As these three pieces came together in different configurations through the year, I’ve been honored to see the work in action at our schools. Through the tremendous work of the teams at the 41 school sites in our community, our students had the technology tools they needed to engage with learning in a most unfamiliar and unpredictable year.
As we head into a summer break, I hope the community finds the opportunity to reflect on the past school year and glean lessons learned. I hope that with a bit of time, the innovation, resilience and creativity of teachers and students will be part of the story of the 20-21 school year. I’m also hopeful that at a local, regional, state and federal level, LCPS can be part of the solution to address the broadband and digital gaps that were clearly highlighted this last year.
Joshua Silver, NBCT
Chief Technology Officer
Las Cruces Public Schools
The SUCCESS Partnership is a prenatal to career readiness education initiative founded in 2013. The collaborative is supported by a diverse cross-sector group of organizations comprised of parents, education professionals, nonprofit organizations, businesses, regional partners, and community leaders committed to improving educational outcomes in Dona Ana County. The primary support organizations for the SUCCESS Partnership collaborative are Community Action Agency of Southern New Mexico, Ngage New Mexico, La Clinica de Familia Family Services, and NMSU Center for Community Analysis.
For more information, or if you would like to be involved, please contact Sommer Mitchell, SUCCESS Partnership Communications Coordinator, at email@example.com.