Palestine, Texas is home to the annual Hot Pepper Festival and the Palestine Independent School District. Located about two hours from both Dallas and Houston, the district is comprised of 4,000 students and staff who share the same mission: “To foster relationships that excite, engage and empower our students and community to achieve excellence.”
Palestine ISD started providing safe online teaching and learning for student-to-teacher email communication in 2012, but also saw it as a way to prepare students for their next level of education.
“Most colleges use tools for uploading assignments, creating blog posts, or have chat rooms for their online classes,” says Sandy Webb, youth and government advisor and technology department assistant. “We also had several teachers using other social media sites to communicate with students, but we wanted to centralize one program for everyone to use.”
Sandy said the staff uses plenty of online tools and is working on promoting the use of many others within their lesson plans.
The seventh grade through 12th grade classrooms recently received iPads and are using them primarily for email communication; however Sandy’s youth and government students are using them beyond email. “My Youth and Government kids upload notes and changes to their presentations,” says Sandy. “Some are able to use those notes from the iPad during their presentations at competitions. We travel to other districts every December and then to the state capital in January and February.”
Palestine ISD not only is improving communication between staff and students, but also is enriching the learning environment within the classrooms.