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When VGV opened in 2013, the technology infrastructure and curriculum delivery system deployed was the most “hi-tech” of any school in this part of the country with VMware system specs comparable to those designed for small regional banks or large-sized engineering or architectural firms. However, seven years later with new advances in the industry, major manufacturers of some of the critical hardware components in the VGV server infrastructure announced that they would no longer support the hardware components. In a proactive move, in 2020-2021 we moved from the original data warehouse structure to the cloud-based Microsoft Azure product. Today, the school is over 90% wireless. We also use Google G-Suite which we adopted several years ago..
What separates VGV from most schools is the access and use of student data. From day 1 in 2013, Students have had access to their coursework 24/7 – 365 days—anywhere in the world that there is Internet access. A vibrant community of happy learners is created because, with results immediately displayed on their dashboard, students see their own progress and skills grow and, working with technology is something they love to do. Teachers, students, and parents have access to student performance data 24/7.
Every incoming Grade 9 student is administered the NWEA MAP Reading and Math Assessments along with the VGV Math Diagnostic—data that informs placement and intervention decisions including identifying students who are behind grade level in Reading and thereby qualify for a PLP (Personal Literacy Plan). Every incoming Grade 9 student is administered VGV’s “Diagnostic for a Personalized Math intervention”—data, in conjunction with NWEA data, identifies specific skill gaps that the student may have in math and informs the development and assignment of a PML (Personalized Math Lab) for that student. NWEA MAP Reading and Math Assessments are administered to all VGV students in both the Fall and Spring and anytime in between if deemed necessary. Assessment results are reviewed by the school’s MTSS (Multi-Tiered Systems of Support) Team and interventions developed and implemented where needed.
We believe technology in the classroom should never be a distraction. It should evolve from a relatively seamless introduction to inconspicuous use, free from inappropriate influences, such that precious time in the classroom is reserved for teaching and learning—not debugging and/or dealing with technology related issues. Teaching and learning is what is important—the technology is just a tool! VGV classroom teachers are provided with simple reliable tools for engaging students that include ceiling mounted projectors and pull-down screen, either a 55- or 65-inch TV, classroom set of Chromebooks, graphing calculators for math and science classes, and every classroom has a printer, and every floor has a copy machine.
Students also have the opportunity in VGV’s STEM/STEAM Lab (opened in Fall 2022) to learn how to use the school’s several 3-D printers as well as newly acquired Cricut machines for printing clothing apparel and everyday items.