Google has announced an initiative to help Americans get the skills they need to prepare for jobs and grow their businesses. They also announced $1 billion over the next five years in grants to global nonprofits that work on economic opportunity, education and inclusion. The Dynamic Learning Project is one of several programs that are part of the Grow with Google family. Google's commitment to fund a pilot project for technology education represents nothing short of a paradigm shift for Pittsburgh Public Schools.
We all know that technology has the potential to become the great equalizer in bridging the achievement gap among students from underserved populations. At a minimum,
technical literacy is now as vital to a student’s future success as reading and writing. But we also know that simply providing access to technology isn’t enough; it’s just a tool. But it can become a transformative tool in the hands of an educator who uses it to create meaningful experiences for students.
Driven by Google’s $7 million investment, the Dynamic Learning Project will provide coaching and technology to teachers at 50 middle schools across the country, three of which are in the Pittsburgh Public Schools. Each school will get a full-time instructional technology coach and enough devices and access to guarantee that teachers can take full advantage of the coaching.
As one of the first school districts in the country to pilot this project, Pittsburgh has the opportunity to demonstrate the power of investment in public education and the potential for impact on both students and the work force they soon will join.
Google, one of the most recognizable companies in the world, is synonymous with innovation. By making this program available to PPS students, it joins a distinguished list of stakeholders who have long supported our efforts to prepare students for a seat at the table in our changing economy. PPS has been fortunate to implement several recent initiatives in our schools, including:
A full-court press in PSAT/SAT test preparation, with funding of all exams by the school district, and administration of the exams during school hours to increase student access
A partnership between PPS and the College Board’s “All In” Campaign Challenge. PPS high school students will receive online personalized learning and coaching designed to help build confidence and boost success on the exams.
An update to our data system, Performance Matters, so teachers can access students’ testing data and formative assessments online, allowing them to more quickly track a child’s progress and strategize within professional development communities.
Addition of more half days of professional development and creating comprehensive professional development programs that help teachers unpack a core standard, develop a lesson plan from that standard, teach and assess what students have learned.
Pittsburgh has long enjoyed a reputation for hard work; today, we welcome the chance to demonstrate what work ethic can accomplish when paired with ingenuity. Your ongoing support has brought us to this point, and yet we are only at the threshold of what we know we can accomplish. Together, we intend to stretch boundaries and exceed expectations. I thank you for standing by our students as we continue to show them why they should Expect Great Things.
Dr. Anthony Hamlet