Prince William County Schools’ cohort model supports teacher innovation and training, makes learning ‘contagious’

SMART would like to congratulate Prince William County Schools’ Diane Harazin, who is quoted multiple times in this story, for being recognized by EdTech Digest as an EdTech Leader to Watch in the State of EdTech 2022-2023 Report. We are honored to learn from her work with instructional technology and to support the initiatives she spearheads for her district. Leaders like Diane are why we remain so passionate about creating #ConnectionsThatMatter.

EdTech cohorts equip and inspire teachers as leaders

As the 35th largest school district in the nation, it can be a real challenge to implement new resources and strategies to multiple sites and grade levels.

Enter the cohort model.

District-level staff offer all teachers the opportunity to participate in a variety of cohorts centered around one resource or strategy. Together, the teachers in each group create a plan to bring back what they’ve learned to their sites.

“It's building capacity,” said Diane Harazin, supervisor of instructional technology for the district. “We're building advocates.”

One of the cohorts Harazin pioneered was a Lumio-focused group. At the start of the pandemic, Prince William County staff saw that Lumio was a perfect solution for the needs teachers and students had during hybrid and remote learning.

So, Harazin partnered with SMART to host a virtual Lumio cohort that would equip site leaders with the know-how to guide their staff on how to best implement Lumio during remote learning. She says that the learning that takes place in these cohort groups is “contagious.”

“They then train their own staff. They model lessons, they coach, they co-teach. They are instrumental,” Harazin said. “We build capacity through them, you know, we'll do things with them and then hopefully they will go into their building and continue to do those things.”

Harazin says that working with SMART is the epitome of what a partnership between educators and an EdTech company should look like.

“SMART invested in us. They invested their time and their expertise,” she said. “We could call any time to share ideas and are still actively communicating. SMART was one of the first organizations to really show us they’re just as invested as we were."

Download the full SMART Success Story featuring Prince William's Professional Development Program:

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