Salt Lake City, Utah, November 10, 2017- The first annual Utah Users’ Group Conference was hosted by Granite School District on November 10, 2017- Veteran’s Day (observed). A day of learning from each other, but most importantly, of receiving feedback from our school districts and learning how to support them. Among other learning, participants of the first annual Utah Users’ Group appreciated the value of a community of peer learners, and the announcements about new developments that will support them in their work with SchoolCity, such as Canvas integration and Fountas and Pinnell progress report.
Every conference’s opening statements are generally geared toward the latest and greatest but this conference started with a very different feel- one of appreciation and respect for our hero’s past and present. On a day where the nation honors those protecting our way of life, it felt right that this conference would open with comments from Rob Averett, Director of Student Assessment and Army veteran.
Averett detailed the life of Grace Hopper, an American Computer Scientist and United States Navy Rear Admiral. Averett highlighted Hopper’s accomplishments and before thanking veterans for their service, he took a minute to comment on resilience, time and effort. Averett drew upon the Admirals experience to remind us that some tasks take time because of the “large amount of nanoseconds” between start to finish. Opening remarks were capped off by a SchoolCity montague of appreciation to Jerri Sailor’s “Hallelujah Veterans.”
The activities to follow energized the room and facilitated collaboration and community. A snowball fight activity provided the medium for users from participating districts to discuss topics of assessments specific to their areas of expertise. This marked the beginning of the gathering of minds to understand how users can leverage the SchoolCity community to further their efforts.
The day continued with activities and sessions drawing upon the expertise in the room. Key Data System’s Kendall Weiser presented on assessment resources housed within SUITE that districts across the nation have utilized/customized to gage student learning. SchoolCity’s Monica Moreno led a session aimed to help the variety of users optimize SUITE usage through discussions around best practices.
Concluding the day was the latest developments presented by Dr. Pepper Williams, including the announcement and demonstration of SUITE’s integration with Canvas- the state purchased Learning Management System. Participants saw the first peek of functionality released in the latest version 5.1 of SUITE allowing user’s to integrate SUITE with Canvas for a more seamless approach to the teacher and student educational ecosystem.
Special thanks to Granite School District for hosting the event as well as all those that traveled distances to attend.