“If the teacher doesn’t log it, it didn’t happen.”- Danny Sesker shares how Pasco County uses InContact
Danny Sesker, Learning Design Coach from Pasco County Florida eSchool, spent some time with us recently to talk about Pasco and InContact. Pasco County has one of the largest school districts in Florida, (if not the entire U.S.) and served as our primary beta for the InContact product. They put us through our paces and we were grateful to have them do it!
InContact, powered by IntelliBoard, provides teachers easy access to student learning data. Teachers can use the InContact hub to log communication with the student, the parent/guardian, everyone and use this reference to guide future communications about the student. Conversations and relevant student data (last access, last participation, grade, last submission, percent complete, etc.) are all available on one easy-to-access screen. Teachers know who to contact next, who hasn’t been contacted and the time of last contact for every student.
How does Pasco use InContact?
We use InContact to log all communication between teachers and students. Our favorite phrase is, “If the teacher doesn’t log it, it didn’t happen.” [InContact is] how we keep records of all the communication that happens between students and teachers, no matter if it’s just a simple, “I need help in my course,” or if it’s reaching out to the parents for a monthly call. We want to log all that information and have a record of it.
Why is InContact beneficial?
[Leaders at Pasco] want the teachers to have a place to easily see, “when do I need to contact somebody next?” “How long has it been since I talked to this student?” Students and teachers do 1:1 synchronous discussion-based assessments throughout the course. During these assessments, teachers can quickly determine if a student is doing well, grasping the concepts in the course, if they need more help, and/or if he/she is the one actually doing the work or not. These check-ins are documented within InContact.
Why are you logging those activities?
We want to know that “it” happened. For example, if a student goes through the course, finishes but says, “My teacher never helped me. No one ever contacted me. This is why I wasn’t successful.” [With InContact] we have proof. We can respond, “your teacher contacted you on x days. This is a record of the conversation and what happened.” We have documented proof of the interactions between teacher and students / parents.
How did you get your instructors to adopt InContact?
In a normal year, it may have been different, but it was a pandemic. We switched in the middle of a pandemic – I don’t know of a worse time to make a change. Our school exploded, jumping from 100 teachers to 200.
Right before our spring break, I held Friday Q&A sessions. What did they want to know? We did quick 30 minutes (some of them turned into hour sessions) where people just drilled me until they ran out of ideas. Our last round covered the reports that are in IntelliBoard, and I highlighted the wonderful little button that says, “add communication in that report.” I explained that teachers could see all the data about their students, reach out to the ones who need help, click that button, and log it. No need to go to another page. This is how I drew people to the training: making life more simple.
How much time/aggravation/stress is being alleviated by InContact?
The ability to log multiple calls for one course has saved people time and stress. When I showed folks how to hit the “multi-select button,” “find their course,” “select all students,” “enter the communication type,” [what was sent to students] and log it simultaneously, that was a big time saver for them.
How is Pasco similar or different from other districts?
Our school is very different. Our district itself is a large district and we have students start courses 365 days a year. We could have a hundred students in the course. Some are finishing, some are starting and they sprinkle throughout. Some other districts do more of a traditional schedule.
What other things should we be inventing for you right now?
The fun thing – even in the short amount of time we’ve had InContact, is that it’s changed and progressed for the features we’ve wanted. I felt, “hooray! We now have this [feature]!” I sent out a little email with [instructions for] the four or five buttons that changed, what they do, and how that works now.
We’ve we had a couple of conversations, and I have lists of things that would be wonderful. When I look at [InContact and IntelliBoard] through the lens of a teacher, teachers don’t want to spend time looking for data. In our internal meetings, teachers say they want to “know which students haven’t had a welcome call,” or “which students are in jeopardy.” They need a single dashboard.
Noted, Danny. It’s on the way!