Q&A: Superintendent Alberto Carvalho on How to Plan for Digital Innovation

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Q&A: Superintendent Alberto Carvalho on How to Plan for Digital Innovation
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Wed, 12/26/2018 – 10:46

Superintendent Alberto Carvalho oversees 392 schools — with more than 45 million square feet of educational space, 345,000 students and 40,000 employees — and everyone under his charge at Miami-Dade County Public Schools is connected and collaborating. 

With Carvalho at the helm, the Florida district went fully one-to-one with laptops, a bold move that Carvalho says is already paying dividends. In fact, M-DCPS is now an A-rated district.

EdTech: Focus on K–12 Managing Editor Jena Passut spoke with Carvalho about innovation at M-DCPS and what his district’s journey can teach other schools that want to move forward.

MORE FROM EDTECH: Find out if your school is asking the right questions around technology integration.

EDTECH: What is your secret to driving ­technological innovation in your school district?

Carvalho: We make sure that any technology under consideration supports our ultimate academic goals. We are persistent and painstaking in our planning, and we stay the course when we encounter barriers or roadblocks. The persistence comes from our belief that this is the right thing to do for our students. 

So many students in our ­community and across the country come from homes without adequate technology and internet access. Technology has not only changed the business world, it has changed our society, and we all have to move in that direction in the way that we teach.

We’ve been deliberate in our belief that classroom instruction really needs to change to meet the learning styles of today’s students. It’s about meeting them where they are, and we can’t do that without technology. 

You can’t deliver a modern and relevant education without incorporating­ ­technology. That’s the secret. But it’s not really a secret — it’s common sense.

EDTECH: You recently went one-to-one in your district. Do you have advice for other school leaders who may be considering this type of digital transformation?

Carvalho: The strongest advice I can give is to plan extensively. A one-to-one initiative is really a long-term commitment. We were planning for more than two years before a single device was purchased and deployed at the schools.

You need the support of your school board. This is a lengthy and costly endeavor, and their support of the funding requests, recommendations and deployment strategies is crucial. 

The community also needs to understand the journey toward the one-to-one solution. Infrastructure needs to be upgraded to meet the needs of additional devices. Professional development should be offered on new technology tools. 

Jena Passut is the managing editor of EdTech: Focus on K–12.

Q&A: Superintendent Alberto Carvalho on How to Plan for Digital Innovation
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