Instructional Technology Initiative
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  • DigCitCon

DigCitCon2021 is L.A. Unified's premier digital citizenship conference for administrators, by administrators. District and school leaders will leverage digital tools and resources to increase equity, inclusion, and digital citizenship practices. Experts, thought leaders, and practitioners from L.A. Unified and the field will model digital citizenship by critically evaluating online resources, engaging in civil discourse online and using digital tools to contribute to positive social change. Conference sessions will support administrators and education leaders in cultivating responsible online behavior, including the safe, ethical and legal use of technology; and curating a positive and authentic digital footprint for college and career success.

DigCitCon 2021

DigCitCon 2021
Saturday, October 23, 2021
9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Virtual

L.A. Unified and the Division of Instruction’s Instructional Technology Initiative (ITI) once again collaborate with the Association of California School Administrators-Region 16 (ACSA-R16) to bring DigCitCon2021 to the District, the premier digital citizenship conference for administrators, by administrators. At DigCitCon2021, administrators and education leaders will leverage digital tools and resources to increase equity, inclusion, and digital citizenship practices. Experts, thought leaders, and practitioners from L.A. Unified and the field will model digital citizenship by critically evaluating online resources, engaging in civil discourse online and using digital tools to contribute to positive social change. Conference sessions will support administrators and education leaders in cultivating responsible online behavior, including the safe, ethical and legal use of technology; and curating a positive and authentic digital footprint for college and career success.

SESSIONS:

Saturday, October 23, 2021

9:00 a.m. - 10:10 a.m. OPENING MAINSTAGE: Welcome and Keynote

#DigCitCon2021 begins with leading speakers and thinkers in the field of educational technology with , Chief Executive Officer of the International Society for Technology in Education, as opening keynote speaker highlighting how technology can be a powerful tool for learning, solving humanity's toughest problems, and bringing us closer together. Register at https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_QjUuzJ3yTwio6YEJ0EMJUg. If you have already registered for this, please check your email for Zoom webinar link and passcode to join this Opening Mainstage.

10:15 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. MORNING BREAKOUTS: DigCitCon Workshops

  • Instructional Technology Initiative Workshops

    • Creating Experiences for Learners to Positively Contribute Online
      and , L.A. Unified Instructional Technology Initiative

      In this session, participants will unpack the ISTE Standard for Educators, Digital Citizen indicator 3a. Participants will learn how to create experiences for learners that build relationships and community by making positive contributions, by providing socially responsible contributions , and by exhibiting empathetic behavior online. Participants will walk away with a lesson template, a bank of lessons, and have time to create lessons that help students positively contribute online.

    • Establishing a Learning Environment that Fosters Digital Literacy and Media Fluency
      and , L.A. Unified Instructional Technology Initiative

      In this session, participants will unpack the ISTE Standard for Educators, Digital Citizen indicator 3b. With the rapid advancement of technology, access to information has become readily available online. Digital media has paved the way to many new types of media that play a major role in disseminating information around the world. Today, users of technology need to have the ability to use technologies effectively: discover, analyze, create, and communicate information using digital tools and resources. As educators we need to create a learning culture that promotes and supports digital literacy for all. We want to foster media fluency so our students can gain the ability to interpret large amounts of complex information in multiple formats and communicate and share across a variety of media as they participate in today’s digital world.

    • Giving Credit Where Credit is Due: Copyright and Digital Citizenship
      and , L.A. Unified Instructional Technology Initiative

      In this session, participants will unpack the ISTE Standard for Educators, Digital Citizen indicator 3c. This presentation will provide participants opportunities to learn how digital citizenship and issues of copyright intersect in the classroom. The use of digital tools and resources makes it imperative for educators to be aware of the legal and ethical implications of how we model for students the use of digital resources for instruction, projects, and social media. Participants will explore and apply the way copyright and copyleft plays a role in commonly used digital tools, resources to teach students about copyright, and how to leverage digital resources safely through the understanding and use of Creative Commons licensing.

    • Setting the Stage: Modeling, Promoting, and Protecting Yourself and Students Online
      and , L.A. Unified Instructional Technology Initiative In this session, participants will unpack the ISTE Standard for Educators, Digital Citizen indicator 3d. Participants will learn to inspire students to positively contribute to and responsibly participate in the digital world in relation to the DigCit Competencies. They will explore resources and engage in activities that promote the management of personal data, digital identity, and protection of student privacy online.

  • Association of California School Administrators - Region 16 Workshops

    • Communicating Your School Vision Through Virtual Assemblies
      , Coldwater Canyon Elementary School (LD Northeast) and , L.A. Unified Instructional Technology Initiative

      In this session, participants will learn how to create powerful messages to the school community including digital citizenship, ISTE standards, growth mindset, 21st century skills and college and career readiness.

    • Live, Love, and Technology During the Pandemic
      and , Camellia Elementary School (LD Northeast)

      This session will demonstrate how to leverage technology with staff and students during online learning to promote a positive school culture. Presenters will model the use of Schoology and Google Drive with their staff by having them interact with both on a weekly basis. Ms. Castaneda will demonstrate how she used technology in her Special Education classroom to engage all of her students and bridge the learning gap during a worldwide pandemic.

    • Restoring Tech-Life Balance Post Pandemic
      and , West Hollywood Elementary School (LD West)

      In this session, West Hollywood Elementary (WHE) School will share how their team sought to restore balance from 18 months of a tech-centered lifestyle during the pandemic while still embracing instructional technology tools in their daily lives. WHE team noticed students attached to their devices and experiencing agitation and regulation challenges without their devices and will share what they’ve learned about the impact on the developing learner after experiencing isolation and the tech-centered lifestyle. Participants will get a glimpse of WHE’s journey to restore a healthy balance between technology and nature, relationships on screen and in-person. Presenters will share strategies and ideas implemented, including Digital Citizenship Week activities, and will provide resources for administrators and school leaders to understand the impacts of isolation, "unplugged" activities, connecting those unplugged activities to computer science (coding), and digital citizenship lessons for the classroom teacher.


  • Partner Workshops

    • Building Digital Citizenship Skills with BrainPOP
      , BrainPOP

      Increased online instruction has elevated the importance of explicitly teaching responsible digital citizenship. In this workshop we will tackle the question: As a principal and school administrator, how can I support my teachers’ in using BrainPOP to address digital citizenship skills and behaviors with students? You will learn about the scope of digital citizenship content and tools that earned BrainPOP the ISTE Seal of Alignment. Then we will explore specific, accessible lessons that address cultivating a positive, authentic digital footprint. You will see how using BrainPOP improves student awareness, confidence and behavior online.

    • Cultivating Digital Citizens with Nearpod
      , Nearpod

      Did you know that Nearpod has a Digital Citizenship and Literacy collection full of lessons that teachers can easily access and use to address your Digital Citizenship and Literacy initiatives? In this interactive workshop, administrators and education leaders will explore the available Nearpod lessons and strategies that will cultivate empowered digital learners, encourage students to think critically, and participate responsibly in the digital world.

    • Digital Citizenship: Setting Groundwork for Students’ Autonomy
      , EVERFI

      Digital Citizenship + Positive Social Change: Our students are constantly exposed to false information online and may lack knowledge or tools in engaging in civil discourse within the social media space. In a world where information is both easily accessible but challenging to evaluate, it is important that we set the groundwork for students to be critical, autonomous thinkers equipped with historical context and critical skills to make a difference both in their future and in the world. In this session, we will provide resources both for teaching digital citizenship and for preparing students to be critical, informed thinkers prepared for college and/or careers beyond the classroom.

    • Being Proactive with Digital Citizenship Culture
      , Common Sense Education

      Are you exploring ways to incorporate a proactive approach to responsible technology use and create a positive digital culture? In this workshop, we explore ways you can implement digital citizenship into your school plans.The session will:1) Highlight the K-12 Common Sense Digital Citizenship curriculum 2) Share implementation examples from other schools 3) Provide an implementation template for accountability 4) Provide resources to connect with families. Join us for this planning session for building a digital citizenship culture across your school.

    • From Analyzing, to Making and Sharing Media: Practical Approaches to Creating Media Literate Educators and Learners
      , KQED

      In this session, participants will explore several approaches to powerfully integrated free, high-quality media literacy and media making centered professional development and curriculum to support digital media excellence across grades. These approaches center aspects of media literacy from analyzing and evaluating media to creatively communicating through making and sharing media. Participants will also explore teacher and student examples, get hands-on with making media and walk away with a custom plan for integrate free PD and curriculum for powerful learning in their own sites.

    • L.A. Unified and Newsela: Partners in Cultivating Critical Media Literacy
      , L.A. Unified Division of Instruction and , Newsela

      L.A. Unified and Newsela have partnered to offer middle and high school teachers in the district custom units of instruction designed to cultivate critical media literacy. This workshop will tell the story of the partnership and invite participants to engage with the custom units, which are currently available to all secondary school teachers in the District. Additionally, participants will learn how to build text sets that promote digital citizenship in their schools by drawing on Newsela's ELA and SEL materials, which are also available to teachers across L.A. Unified.

    • Student Digital Wellness Education + Support
      , #ICANHELP

      Do your students have the tools and resources they need to take care of themselves mentally and emotionally? Kids and teens are resilient, but still need mental health education to understand and process emotional challenges like anxiety, stress, and depression. In this keynote, we’ll help teachers & students engage in meaningful conversations around mental health and digital wellness. Learn how to implement our free resources and put these tools into action with your students. Train your administrators, teachers, and student leaders to deliver our digital wellness curriculum to peers, engage in conversations about how to respond to negative online behavior, and celebrate students who are using Digital4Good.

11:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. LUNCH BREAK

11:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. LUNCH BREAK

12:15 p.m. - 1:45 p.m. AFTERNOON BREAKOUTS: DigCitCon Workshops

  • Instructional Technology Initiative Workshops


    • Creating Experiences for Learners to Positively Contribute Online
      and , L.A. Unified Instructional Technology Initiative

      In this session, participants will unpack the ISTE Standard for Educators, Digital Citizen indicator 3a. Participants will learn how to create experiences for learners that build relationships and community by making positive contributions, by providing socially responsible contributions , and by exhibiting empathetic behavior online. Participants will walk away with a lesson template, a bank of lessons, and have time to create lessons that help students positively contribute online.

    • Establishing a Learning Environment that Fosters Digital Literacy and Media Fluency
      and , L.A. Unified Instructional Technology Initiative

      In this session, participants will unpack the ISTE Standard for Educators, Digital Citizen indicator 3b. With the rapid advancement of technology, access to information has become readily available online. Digital media has paved the way to many new types of media that play a major role in disseminating information around the world. Today, users of technology need to have the ability to use technologies effectively: discover, analyze, create, and communicate information using digital tools and resources. As educators we need to create a learning culture that promotes and supports digital literacy for all. We want to foster media fluency so our students can gain the ability to interpret large amounts of complex information in multiple formats and communicate and share across a variety of media as they participate in today’s digital world.

    • Giving Credit Where Credit is Due: Copyright and Digital Citizenship
      and , L.A. Unified Instructional Technology Initiative

      In this session, participants will unpack the ISTE Standard for Educators, Digital Citizen indicator 3c. This presentation will provide participants opportunities to learn how digital citizenship and issues of copyright intersect in the classroom. The use of digital tools and resources makes it imperative for educators to be aware of the legal and ethical implications of how we model for students the use of digital resources for instruction, projects, and social media. Participants will explore and apply the way copyright and copyleft plays a role in commonly used digital tools, resources to teach students about copyright, and how to leverage digital resources safely through the understanding and use of Creative Commons licensing.

    • Setting the Stage: Modeling, Promoting, and Protecting Yourself and Students Online
      and , L.A. Unified Instructional Technology Initiative

      In this session, participants will unpack the ISTE Standard for Educators, Digital Citizen indicator 3d. Participants will learn to inspire students to positively contribute to and responsibly participate in the digital world in relation to the DigCit Competencies. They will explore resources and engage in activities that promote the management of personal data, digital identity, and protection of student privacy online.

  • Association of California School Administrators - Region 16 Workshops


    • Communicating Your School Vision Through Virtual Assemblies
      , Coldwater Canyon Elementary School (LD Northeast) and , L.A. Unified Instructional Technology Initiative

      In this session, participants will learn how to create powerful messages to the school community including digital citizenship, ISTE standards, growth mindset, 21st century skills and college and career readiness.

    • Restoring Tech-Life Balance Post Pandemic
      and , West Hollywood Elementary School (LD West)

      In this session, West Hollywood Elementary School will present their journey of celebrating and encouraging balance in Dig Cit as part of their return to campus and return from isolation. Balance in life is important - tech can't replace our human experiences.

  • Partner Workshops


    • Building Digital Citizenship Skills with BrainPOP
      , BrainPOP

      Increased online instruction has elevated the importance of explicitly teaching responsible digital citizenship. In this workshop we will tackle the question: As a principal and school administrator, how can I support my teachers’ in using BrainPOP to address digital citizenship skills and behaviors with students? You will learn about the scope of digital citizenship content and tools that earned BrainPOP the ISTE Seal of Alignment. Then we will explore specific, accessible lessons that address cultivating a positive, authentic digital footprint. You will see how using BrainPOP improves student awareness, confidence and behavior online.

    • Cultivating Digital Citizens with Nearpod
      , Nearpod

      Did you know that Nearpod has a Digital Citizenship and Literacy collection full of lessons that teachers can easily access and use to address your Digital Citizenship and Literacy initiatives? In this interactive workshop, administrators and education leaders will explore the available Nearpod lessons and strategies that will cultivate empowered digital learners, encourage students to think critically, and participate responsibly in the digital world.

    • Digital Citizenship: Setting Groundwork for Students’ Autonomy
      , EVERFI

      Digital Citizenship + Positive Social Change: Our students are constantly exposed to false information online and may lack knowledge or tools in engaging in civil discourse within the social media space. In a world where information is both easily accessible but challenging to evaluate, it is important that we set the groundwork for students to be critical, autonomous thinkers equipped with historical context and critical skills to make a difference both in their future and in the world. In this session, we will provide resources both for teaching digital citizenship and for preparing students to be critical, informed thinkers prepared for college and/or careers beyond the classroom.

    • Being Proactive with Digital Citizenship Culture
      , Common Sense Education

      Are you exploring ways to incorporate a proactive approach to responsible technology use and create a positive digital culture? In this workshop, we explore ways you can implement digital citizenship into your school plans.The session will:1) Highlight the K-12 Common Sense Digital Citizenship curriculum 2) Share implementation examples from other schools 3) Provide an implementation template for accountability 4) Provide resources to connect with families. Join us for this planning session for building a digital citizenship culture across your school.

    • From Analyzing, to Making and Sharing Media: Practical Approaches to Creating Media Literate Educators and Learners
      , KQED

      In this session, participants will explore several approaches to powerfully integrated free, high-quality media literacy and media making centered professional development and curriculum to support digital media excellence across grades. These approaches center aspects of media literacy from analyzing and evaluating media to creatively communicating through making and sharing media. Participants will also explore teacher and student examples, get hands-on with making media and walk away with a custom plan for integrate free PD and curriculum for powerful learning in their own sites.

1:50 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. CLOSING MAINSTAGE: Reflection and Keynote

  • #DigCitCon2021 concludes with a closing keynote from , edtech author and coach, highlighting the intersectionality between digital citizenship, social emotional learning, and innovative teaching for equity:
    • Strategies for Engaging Our Teaching Staff With Social and Emotional Learning & Innovative Practices (DigCit Focus) We are supporting schools in unprecedented times and our teachers will need to be engaged and motivated for showing up at their best for students. This keynote by Jorge Valenzuela will highlight the intersectionality between teacher self-efficacy, DigCit, social and emotional learning (SEL), and innovative teaching practices for raising equity for all students. Frameworks for high-quality teaching, computer science, and STEM education will be uplifted for participants along with teaching resources for them to take back to schools.
  • Register at https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_QjUuzJ3yTwio6YEJ0EMJUg (same as OPENING MAINSTAGE Webinar link)

DigCitCon 2020

DigCitCon 2020

To attend, please register:
https://zoom.us/webinar/register/2416016807927/WN_AY0gOCEdRzWO3bfIeLaNkg

Please check your email for your webinar registration confirmation, which will have your unique Zoom link to join. If you have trouble joining, please visit the DigCitCon Support session at the bottom of this program.

9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. WELCOME & MORNING KEYNOTE

  • Welcome Remarks
    • Leonard Choi, ACSA President
    • Alison Towery, Chief Academic Officer (tentative)
    • Sophia Mendoza, Instructional Technology Initiative Director

  • Richard Culatta
    Chief Executive Officer
    International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)
    https://zoom.us/j/96178017925 (Meeting ID: 961 7801 7925)
  • Redefining Digital Citizenship in a Post-Covid World

10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Morning Breakouts

  • Building Critical Thinking Skills with Online Discussions and Media Challenges:
    Almetria Vaba, Associate Director of Education Partnerships and Distribution
    KQED
    https://zoom.us/j/92604366454 (Meeting ID: 926 0436 6454)

    Get your middle and high school students practicing critical thinking skills through writing arguments based on evidence, engaging in academic online discussions, and creating media, all in a distance learning context. In this session, you’ll also hear from a seasoned educator about how students can participate in safe online discussions with peers from around the country and respond to each other with text, graphic, video, or audio. You’ll also explore how Youth Media Challenges are ideal media-making projects in a distance-learning context, where to find ready-to-use resources for classroom implementation and how to connect an authentic audience.

  • Creating Your School’s Social Media Plan
    Piedad Sanchez, Principal at Camellia Elementary School
    Sandra Quintanilla, Assistant Principal at Camellia Elementary School
    https://zoom.us/j/92168340987 (Meeting ID: 921 6834 0987)

    In a time when public schools are seeing a decrease in student enrollment, marketing your school will be key. With a variety of social media platforms you can showcase all of your school’s accomplishments and everything your school has to offer. We will share how these platforms have helped us stay connected with parents quickly, effectively and in real time.

  • Cultivating a Community of Digital Citizens Through Virtual Assemblies
    Cynthia Braley, Principal at Coldwater Canyon Elementary School
    Maria Franco, Instructional Technology Facilitator at Instructional Technology Initiative
    https://zoom.us/j/99240233133 (Meeting ID: 992 4023 3133)

    Participants will learn how to create virtual assemblies that promote a culture of digital citizens who contribute to and responsibly participate in a digital world.

  • Digital Presence with Purpose - Part 1
    Allison Jonas, Readiness & Integration Coordinator
    Instructional Technology Initiative
    https://zoom.us/j/98460601958 (Meeting ID: 984 6060 1958)

    Participants will receive guidance on curating a digital presence with a purpose that is aligned to District policy and the District’s digital citizenship definition. Participants will explore promising practices from experts who have managed digital engagement communities for national organizations. This session is part 1 of 2, participants will need to return for Part 2 in the afternoon.

  • Establishing Digital Citizenship Foundations at West Hollywood Elementary School
    Elizabeth Lehmann, Principal at West Hollywood Elementary School
    Jamie Galgana, Instructional Technology Facilitator at Instructional Technology Initiative
    https://zoom.us/j/96001845418 (Meeting ID: 960 0184 5418)

    Utilizing Digital Citizenship as a foundation for building a Computer Science/Instructional Technology footprint embedded in curricular practices. Building capacity for engagement with digital citizenship understanding, instruction, and implementation. Participants will learn how digital citizenship is implemented in the classroom, with parent and family outreach, community engagement, and expanding to schoolwide courses, themes, and awareness.

  • Preparing Students for Tomorrow's Headlines
    Sue Thotz, Senior Program Manager
    Common Sense Education
    https://zoom.us/j/96556486293 (Meeting ID: 965 5648 6293)

    How can we help students navigate misinformation and a 24 hour news cycle? Join Common Sense Education as we dive into an example of a lesson that helps students navigate if they think breaking news is broken. In this session we will explore the digital citizenship skills and habits of mind that will help prepare students to break the mis/disinformation cycle, build fact checking skills, and expand their perspectives by exploring credible & diverse sources. Participants will leave with lessons and resources from Common Sense Education and across the web to help support students to be critical and not cynical when processing news online.

11:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Lunch Break

Share your morning session learning via #DigCitCon2020, and enjoy your break as we prepare for our afternoon sessions.

12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. Afternoon Keynote

  • Dr. Sharla Berry
    Assistant Professor of Education Leadership
    California Lutheran University
    https://zoom.us/j/96178017925 (Meeting ID: 961 7801 7925)

    Beyond 2020: Skills and Mindsets for the Digital Leader
    As we meet the crises of 2020, how can we prepare for the future? In this talk, Dr. Sharla Berry will help education leaders cultivate a vision for the future of education centered around culturally relevant uses of education technology. The talk will explore the core challenges facing students and teachers in online and hybrid environments, and provide insights for equity-minded technology leadership within and beyond the classroom.

1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Afternoon Breakouts

  • Digital Citizenship and Racial Justice: How Do They Connect?
    Sue Thotz, Senior Program Manager
    Common Sense Education
    https://zoom.us/j/91312303438 (Meeting ID: 913 1230 3438)

    Our students, while in the midst of a pandemic, have witnessed police brutality and other racially motivated violence against Black communities and immigrant populations. These issues have a profound impact on our students' health and well being and cannot be ignored. Join this session to learn more about the connection between the digital lives of our students and how we can 1) respect their individual identities, 2) build a collective community, and 3) learn to confront bias and prejudice in the world.

  • Digital Presence with Purpose - Part 2
    Allison Jonas, Readiness & Integration Coordinator
    Instructional Technology Initiative
    https://zoom.us/j/98460601958 (Meeting ID: 984 6060 1958)

    Participants will receive guidance on curating a digital presence with a purpose that is aligned to District policy and the District’s digital citizenship definition. Participants will explore promising practices from experts who have managed digital engagement communities for national organizations. This session is part 2 of 2, with participants having attended part 1 in the morning breakout session.

  • Exploring Digital Tools for Managing a Virtual Campus
    Sheline Jackson, Assistant Principal at Coldwater Canyon Elementary School
    https://zoom.us/j/92032081857 (Meeting ID: 920 3208 1857)

    Don’t miss out on an invaluable opportunity to learn how to creatively use technology to manage this new digital space that has redefined our school campuses. In this session, administrators will gain insightful strategies around the use of digital tools such as Schoology, Seesaw, and Google Suites to elevate various levels of engagement among all teachers, parents, and students. Digital tools will be explored, as an essential means to leverage a variety of overall school-based management components such as Professional Development, Parent Engagement, Professional Learning Communities, and Student Engagement. Administrators will learn how to establish a collaborative platform for staff members to become more resourceful and empowered to share digital content. Participants will also learn how to build a system for managing paperless communication centered around e-learning in a more efficient way. At the conclusion of this session, participants will walk away with innovative ways to strengthen the digital connection in a virtual campus.

  • Implementing Digital Citizenship With Restorative Practices
    Maria Magnanimo-Toledo, Readiness and Integration Specialist at Instructional Technology Initiative
    Eduardo Zurita, Readiness and Integration Specialist at Instructional Technology Initiative
    https://zoom.us/j/91701756022 (Meeting ID: 917 0175 6022)

    Participants will learn how to integrate Digital Citizenship and Restorative Practices to create a school culture that is positive, safe, predictable and consistent. This social culture will lead to School-Wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (SWPBS) where students achieve academically and build positive relationships with each other and adults.

  • Meet Distance Learning PD Needs with Public Media
    Almetria Vaba, Associate Director of Education Partnerships and Distribution
    KQED
    https://zoom.us/j/92464465784 (Meeting ID: 924 6446 5784)

    Now more than ever, educators need support around digital media literacy skills, in both remote and traditional classroom environments. Explore free, instructor-led online professional development that prepares K-12 educators to effectively and meaningfully analyze, evaluate, and make media with students to support curriculum goals. In this session, participants will also dive into approaches for successfully integrated free, high-quality professional development to support digital media excellence from public media. These powerful examples can serve to create continuity of learning for students, regardless of the shifts during this time.

  • Self-Care for Leaders in Remote Learning
    Mylene Keipp, Principal at Eagle Rock Junior/Senior High School
    https://zoom.us/j/91231576947 (Meeting ID: 912 3157 6947)

    In this session, participants will explore resources to examine current practices, practice self-care strategies, and relevant ideas for application into their leadership practice. Join this session to reflect on managing the polarity of individual and group wellness.

DigCitCon Support:
https://zoom.us/j/95809273856 (Meeting ID: 958 0927 3856)

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Saul Duarte
staff image Saul Duarte is a humble LAUSD and UCLA alumni who has taught from K-12 general and special education, to bilingual, to graduate university programs. Saul has served as coordinator of STEAM/Communication Arts magnet schools, testing, GATE, interventions, PLTW, and technology, Title I. Having been born in Guatemala, and having migrated to Los Angeles as a teenager, allows him to understand deeply the urgent need to teach our majority-minority students with high quality instruction, researched based programs, and effective tech/digital tools to empower their learning and to provide access to academic content. These experiences allow him to be especially sensitive to both the great opportunities and challenges our students have in becoming 21st century digital citizens. He strives to utilize current technologies and applications to promote the purposeful intra-disciplinary integration of technology into instruction by utilizing approaches such as game-based learning, computer science, coding, physical computing, robotics, and electronics boards. He looks forward to working with all stakeholders in schools.
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Maria Franco
staff imageMaria Franco is an educator with experience in K-12, integrating technology to support teaching and learning, and designing professional development. Currently she is serving as an Instructional Technology Facilitator for the Los Angeles Unified School District. In addition to her current role, she was formerly a Technology Coordinator, Intervention teacher and a Data/Problem Solving Coordinator. Maria received a B.A. in Liberal Arts from California State University, Northridge and M.A.Ed in Educational Administration from Concordia University, Irvine.
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Jamie Galgana
staff imageJamie is currently a Specialist for Instructional Leadership Support with the Instructional Technology Initiative (ITI). In this role, she supports L.A. Unified educators and leaders in leveraging digital tools and resources for student success through various models of support, including working with Practitioner Schools, supporting Professional Development, and assisting with ITI’s Signature Events. Jamie was an elementary teacher for 10 years and has worked in partnership with universities to mentor pre-service teachers, among other site leader positions. Jamie received her M.Ed in Elementary Mathematics Education from UNLV and her M.Ed and Preliminary Administrative Services Credential from UCLA. She is a Google Certified Trainer, Microsoft Innovative Educator, Common Sense Certified Educator and a Prosci Certified Change Practitioner. Jamie advocates for equity, access and opportunity in computer science education for all, and is committed to building strong computational thinkers and digital citizens. Jamie’s motto is to “Work hard, make it fun, learn together, and prove it was worth it!”
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Gohar K. Hamo
staff imageGohar Hamo is an advocate for public education and has served 15 years in multiple capacities within LAUSD. She has used her Master’s in Curriculum Development to effectively teach TK-8th and spearheaded the opening of a Global Gifted Magnet. She currently serves as an Instructional Technology Facilitator and oversees students, teachers, and administrators as they learn to integrate content and pedagogy with technology. She is a certified Nearpod Presenter, Flipgrid Ambassador, Kami Coach, and has numerous other qualifications for training participants on how to provide high levels of online instruction.
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Dharma Hernandez
staff imageDharma Hernandez has been an educator in the Los Angeles Unified School District for over twenty years. Starting as a high school English teacher with LAUSD, her additional professional experiences have included teacher advisor, instructional specialist, RtI Expert, and her current position, Secondary Literacy Coordinator in the Division of Instruction. Over the last seven years, her work has included integrating digital tools into the secondary literacy program to provide more instructional support for student personalized learning.
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Allison Jonas
staff imageMs. Allison Jonas is currently the Coordinator Readiness and Instructional Technology Integration. Allison is an accomplished and results driven education professional with more than seventeen years teaching experience and a commitment to student growth, development, and academic success. Notable success in providing students and teachers with the tools and skills required to build and advance toward a framework of 21st century success. Expertise providing Instructional Technology leadership, including visioning, strategic planning, goal-setting, curricular innovation, program evaluation, problem solving, and utilizing management theory and practice.
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Matthew Piwowarczyk
staff imageBefore becoming an Instructional Technology Facilitator with the Instructional Technology Initiative (ITI), Matt Piwowarczyk served as an Instructional Coach at Augustus F. Hawkins High School's Critical Design and Gaming School (CDAGS). He supported CDAGS' Information and Communication Technology pathway through the development of interdisciplinary projects and the facilitation of professional development in game-based learning. Prior to being an instructional coach at CDAGS, he taught high school English and Special Education in South LA, Baltimore, Chicago, and South Korea.
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Renee Sanchez
staff imageRenee Sanchez currently serves as an Instructional Leadership Support Specialist with Instructional Technology Initiative. She has worked as an educator in the Los Angeles Unified School District for 14 years. Her goal is to provide equitable opportunities to all students in educational technology, computer science, and digital citizenship. Renee’s work is rooted in the belief that all students can learn, and education is foundational to life success.
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Nelida Thomatis
staff imageNélida Thomatis currently serves as an Instructional Technology Facilitator. Nelida has educated students in the LAUSD for over ten years and taught fifth, first, and kindergarten. She enjoys working with diverse student populations, is bilingual in Spanish, and has had lifelong interests in technology, graphic design, and music. She strives to help school communities embrace innovative ways of teaching through technology and is a strong supporter of incorporating digital fluency and citizenship in education.
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Sarah Bennett
staff imageSarah Bennett received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology at Centre College in Kentucky. She was inspired to work with children in the schools and obtained her Master of Arts degree in Educational Psychology and Education Specialist degree in School Psychology at Loyola Marymount University. Throughout her graduate training and five years as a school psychologist, she has worked in neighborhoods across Los Angeles with students of all ages. Sarah is passionate about supporting students' ability to learn, teachers' ability to teach, and families' ability to understand the strengths and needs of their children. As a school psychologist, Sarah works with members of the school community to create safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments.
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Cynthia Braley
staff imageCynthia Braley is the Principal of Coldwater Canyon Elementary School with over 20 years of service in education. She is a true equity advocate. She has created a culture where teachers and learners are empowered to use technology in innovative ways. She also gives back to her colleagues in various capacities by serving on the Board of the Elementary Principals’ Organization and Association of California School Administrators for Region 16.
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Elsy Castaneda
staff imageMs. Castaneda is currently an Instructional Coach at Camellia Elementary. Previously she taught Special Education classes for five years, wearing many hats throughout her working career as customer service, special education paraprofessional, behavior specialist, and case manager. She has worked with many populations and many age ranges. Through her experiences she has been able to connect with students and their own experiences. She loves to show students the joy of learning. She incorporates different hands-on activities, visuals, and technology to try to reach the different learning modalities for all students.
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Dr. Elizabeth Lehmann
staff imageElizabeth Lehmann received her Bachelor's of Elementary Education degree at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, and was inspired to obtain her Master's of Education degree at University of Pennsylvania after working at an International School in South Korea. Elizabeth moved to sunny California to pursue her Master's of Divinity and a Ph.D. in Intercultural Education at Biola University. Elizabeth has been a passionate educator in Los Angeles for 16 years. Elizabeth is dedicated to providing students with an academic experience that prepares them to be well-rounded, future-ready, and compassionate global citizens. As a school principal, Elizabeth works with staff, teachers, families, and students to create a learning environment which fosters growth and maturity while engaging in rigorous and meaningful lessons.
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Dr. Piedad Sanchez
staff imageDr. Piedad Sanchez has worked for LAUSD for over 23 years. Beginning her career as a Teacher Assistant and working her way up the career ladder. She taught in both elementary and middle school, served as the middle school Dean of Discipline, Title I Coordinator, Bridge Coordinator, and Assistant Principal. Currently she is the Principal of a school wide Title I, predominantly Hispanic elementary school in North Hollywood. Having worked in Title I schools her entire career she is aware of the need for technology in order to meet the needs of low performing students. Currently she is on the board of EPO (Elementary Principals Organization) as the Corresponding Secretary. She also serves as the VP of Programming for ACSA (Association of California School Administrators) Region 16.
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Jessica Golden
staff imageJessica Golden has committed her entire career to improving student learning outcomes. A former middle school teacher, Jessica is now the Senior Director of K12 Programs supporting schools districts in the Southwest and California and has been with EVERFI for 7 years.
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Donna McNeel
staff imageDonna McNeel has been teaching middle school for 27 years and is on the Steering Committee for #ICANHELP. She has been a key player in the #ICANHELP message impacting 12.5 million students nationwide with it’s train the trainer model. She is known for her endless amounts of energy and passion to serve her school community in the most ridiculously fun way possible. Donna started off as a Social Science teacher and quickly found her super powers in developing leaders. She is now the Activities Director and PBIS Coordinator and she clearly loves the education world that she married an administrator.
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Alyssa Navarette
staff imageAlyssa Navarette is a District Strategy Consultant on the Nearpod Professional Services team, leading high-quality implementation and professional development for Nearpod district partners in California and the Southwest. She holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Education, and has worked in private and public education for 3 decades as a bilingual teacher, a new teacher leader, a college instructor, a math specialist, and most recently as a curriculum specialist, delivering professional development for pedagogically sound curriculum and ed tech integration. Alyssa is passionate about curriculum, effective instruction, and student engagement, and she loves working with educators to develop exciting ways to elevate learning in all classrooms.
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Sue Thotz
staff imageSue Thotz is the Senior Program Manager for Common Sense Education and a co-founder of Equity in Action CA. In 2011, Sue began working for Common Sense and has provided educational leadership through keynotes, professional development workshops, conference presentations, and consulting with districts on the West coast. Sue holds a master's degree in public health and an undergraduate degree in zoology and chemistry.
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Almetria Vaba
staff imageAlmetria Vaba is the director of education partnerships at one of the largest public media organizations in the U.S., KQED. For the last decade, she has worked with education agencies across California to leverage the power of public media to engage, inspire and inform in teaching and learning. She regularly presents at local, regional and national conferences on the power of partnerships, media making and the elevation of youth voice.
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Brian Veprek
staff imageBrian Veprek is a Curricular Solutions Architect at Newsela, where he collaborates with school districts across the country to surface and address the unique needs of their students and teachers. He is a former professional learning consultant and coach as well as a former teacher of English, theatre arts, history, and Latin in public, independent, and international secondary schools. In all of his work as an educator, Brian strives to support learners as they cultivate their empathy and agency.
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Marley Zeno
staff imageMarley brings a depth of knowledge in EL pedagogy and language acquisition to supporting teachers in creating accessible and engaging learning experiences for their ELs. Prior to joining BrainPOP, Marley taught elementary ELs for seven years in NYC public schools and supported pre- and in-service teachers as a former adjunct lecturer at Hunter College. Most recently, Marley provided professional development to teachers of ELs on strategies and best practices. She's a longtime BrainPOP power user and advocate, recommending it to hundreds of teachers supporting ELs. In her free time she loves to cook, bake, and hike.
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Richard Culatta
staff imageRichard Culatta is an internationally recognized leader in technology and learning. He serves as CEO of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), a nonprofit supporting education leaders in 127 countries. Prior to joining ISTE, he was appointed by President Obama to lead the US Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology. In this role, he led the development of a National Education Technology Plan and helped accelerate the development of more effective learning apps. His book, Digital for Good: Raising Kids to Thrive in an Online World (HBR Press) aims to help parents prepare young people to become contributing digital citizens.
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Jorge Valenzuela
staff imageJorge Valenzuela is an education coach, author, and advocate. He has years of experience as a classroom and online teacher, curriculum specialist, and consultant. His work focuses on improving teacher preparation in project-based learning (PBL), computational thinking and computer science integration, STEM education, and equity and SEL integration. Jorge is an adjunct professor at Old Dominion University and the lead coach at Lifelong Learning Defined. His book, “Rev Up Robotics,” and jump-start guides, “Ready, Set, Robotics” and “ SEL in Action,” are available from ISTE. Two of his books, which respectively focus on PBL and equity and SEL integration, are forthcoming from ISTE and Solution Tree. Jorge is also the host of the new “ SEL in Action” Podcast.