Project panel: An all-in-one solution for better edtech in Washoe County, Nevada

all in one edtech solution for Washoe County

Published: February 26th, 2024

In 2023, Washoe County School District (WCSD) in Reno, Nevada, set out to provide all 64,000 students access to the best possible educational tools. First on the to-do list was replacing older Promethean interactive flat panels with Promethean’s ActivPanel 9 Premium panels.

With the help of Advanced Classroom Technologies (ACT) and Promethean, the project brought a single-source device that encompassed all different technologies in one and gave WCSD the ability to maintain, operate, and train every teacher with the same technology—making everyone’s jobs much easier.

Before the district outfitted its schools with the panels, every classroom had different technologies. “The goal is to bring as many of the school district’s older Promethean panels to the latest technology available,” said Tony McMillen, project manager and director of construction for WCSD. “Equity amongst all our schools and all of our areas is extremely important, so we don’t have the haves and the have-nots.”

Premium professional development

Promethean is helping train WCSD teachers and staff as the panels are being installed. Part of the training involves Promethean’s Education Consultants showing educators how easy everyday tasks are with the panel. When they’re not interacting with teachers directly, the consultants are creating materials and content to help support them in their classrooms.

“Teachers don’t have to worry about recreating the wheel, things are already there for them,” said Heather Cameron, a former teacher and current District Education Consultant at Promethean. The panels help keep both teachers and students engaged and can be a game-changer for any subject or grade level.

Students feel like they are much more a part of the classroom when they get to interact

Heather Cameron, former teacher and current District Education Consultant

“They feel more engaged, willing to participate, and confident about their skills when they get to get their hands dirty.”

Teacher verdicts

Student engagement is one of the top concerns and priorities around the globe in 2024. Chronic absenteeism has risen post-COVID-19, and millions more students are regularly absent from school in the years after the pandemic, with high schools having the highest absentee rates in the United States.

It’s now more critical than ever to keep students interested in what they’re learning about and get them more excited about interacting. “I think it’s important all students have access to the Promethean board to use it so they can show their knowledge,” said Savanna Wellborn, environmental science teacher at Earl Wooster High School. “I can bring a lot more engaging and fun things on the board than I could get from a textbook in the book room.”

Jennifer Malaterre, mathematics teacher at Dilworth Middle School, has noticed a huge shift in interaction with the new Promethean panels. “It’s much more user friendly and the kids are actually using it more than I am during some lessons,” she said. “They’re up there touching it, writing on it, displaying their work, and interacting with it.”

April Friedman, strategies teacher at Anderson Elementary School, said the Promethean panels help with interaction, and she loves watching her students’ faces while they’re typing something and seeing it on the board. “You can see when they’ve learned something, they’re excited. Keeping them engaged is really the key.”

The students speak out

The students of WCSD seem to agree. “It kind of just helps you dive in a little deeper, because you can see different places from a different point of view,” Aiden Hayes, student at Robert McQueen High School.

Just like how everyone learns differently, each student has a different feature they like using most during school. “I love the screen share. We can just sign in and the teacher can click on any name and our screen will automatically pop up,” said Esperanza Magana, a student at Dilworth Middle School. “You can see everything we did on our laptop and project it onto the ActivPanel, which was really exciting.”

Adam Searcy, chief operating officer for WCSD, said the upgraded Promethean panels send a special message to the entire district.

It says that you matter, that you’re special, that we care about you, and that you’re capable of greatness, whether you’re a teacher or a student

Adam Searcy, chief operating officer for WCSD

“That’s powerful. When that kid walks into that school and they have a new laptop and an amazing, state-of-the-art Promethean tool, and they’re like, is this for me?” He paused. “Not only is this for you—you’re capable of great things.”

Is an ActivPanel right for your school? Learn more and request a demo today.