St. Vrain Valley School District
Propelling academic growth with virtual learning.
How St. Vrain Valley School District is preparing a diverse group of learners for the future with Webex.
SVVSD’s transformation at a glance.
With Webex, this diverse school district kept staff and students connected and prepared them for anything the future could bring.
“We believe our goal is really global acceleration—making sure our students are ready to take their place in a fast-paced, globally-centric world where they are going to need skills, aptitudes, and beliefs that will propel them into a future career, whatever that career might be,” explained Michelle Bourgeois, Chief Technology Officer at SVVSD.
It only stands to reason that a district with that kind of approach to education and the future success of its students would also have the plans, people, processes, culture—and, of course, the resources in place to achieve their goals.
“We believe that innovation is at the heart of how we educate and what we do,” Bourgeois said. “We see ourselves as building the future leaders of not just the U.S. but the world.”
Leadership soon recognized that technology could accelerate learning and provide new opportunities for every student through powerful online collaboration platforms such as Webex Meetings.
“There's no reason that geography has to be a limiting factor,” said Bourgeois. “Why can't a student in rural Colorado take a French class with us? Why can't they take a calculus class with us? Webex helps address the needs in our district, but our aspiration is bigger than that. In addition to our high-quality, rigorous in-person instruction, we hope to advance and extend these types of learning opportunities beyond the boundaries of St. Vrain through the power of technology.”
SVVSD had already invested in a robust technology infrastructure before the pandemic hit. While much of the world scrambled to find and adopt solutions, SVVSD was ready to take the changes in stride.
“When that Thursday came, and when we learned we had 10 days to get every teacher ready to teach from home, we were very appreciative to already have Webex in place. We went from 300 virtual meetings per week to over 16,000 using Webex, and it was smooth,” Bourgeois said. “We felt well positioned to pivot very quickly with Webex because it was a very reliable tool for remote learning. Using Webex is secure, easy, and intuitive.”
Students are also enjoying the great features Webex has to offer. “The Webex breakout rooms are a game changer in terms of giving students that student-to-student connection in a smaller space where they felt more comfortable opening up,” she continued. “Our teachers and our students are using Webex to connect outside of school, to be able to make those personal connections more real.”
Leveraging Webex Meetings to connect with students and staff was obvious for SVVSD. It clearly made meetings easier and more efficient. But the more Webex has been adopted, the more uses they’ve discovered.
“Our secretaries are beginning to use the Webex Assistant as a transcription tool. When we meet, being able to grab those notes, rather than trying to furiously type during the meeting is a big benefit for them,” Bourgeois said.
In addition to Webex Meetings, SVVSD also added some Cisco devices to their collaboration portfolio to enhance connection further.
“We used Webex Meetings to accommodate remote speakers or individual board members who were unable to attend board of education meetings in person,” Bourgeois said. “We brought in Cisco Room Kit video devices that board members can easily connect with external displays to turn any space into an conference room, so that they can participate remotely and still have voting rights.”
The big question is what will they do next? There seems to be no end to what they can envision.
“Success lies in meeting the needs of our kids without asking them to drive 45 minutes to take that awesome class,” said Bourgeois. “How might we take the lessons we learned during the pandemic and expand our online course offerings to our students? How are we going to make this work in the future for new opportunities for our kids?”
To answer these questions, the district recently launched an AGILE program, which stands for Advanced Global Innovative Learning Environments. The goal of AGILE is to capitalize on SVVSD’s online learning and technology offerings so that district students can curate their own education. AGILE classrooms are outfitted with multiple Webex cameras, and microphones to give teachers a powerful resource for instruction that is immersive for virtual students.
SVVSD is also exploring innovative new technologies to further enhance the educational experience. For example, they’re looking at how Webex Hologram might work with their robotics courses.
“Cisco has been a successful partner for us,” Bourgeois said. “They know we're not going to stop and that we want to continue to think about what's on the leading edge, to help us be prepared for any possibility.”
A forward-thinking school district.
A large, diverse school district, SVVSD is accelerating student achievement and opportunity through the power of technology.
Maintaining an in-person connection with Webex.
When we learned we had 10 days to get every teacher ready to teach from home, we were very appreciative to already have Webex in place. We went from 300 virtual meetings per week to over 16,000 using Webex, and it was smooth.
There’s no reason that geography has to be a limiting factor. With Webex, we hope to extend these learning opportunities beyond the boundaries of St. Vrain through the power of technology.
We use Webex Meetings to accommodate remote speakers or board members. We also use Cisco Room Kits that easily connect with external displays to turn any space into a conference room. People can participate remotely and still have voting rights.
We felt well positioned to pivot very quickly with Webex because it was a very reliable tool for remote learning. Using Webex is secure, easy and intuitive.