Mesa Public Schools Expands Learning Opportunities with Classroom Upgrades for Improved Student-Teacher Interactivity
Established in 1946, Mesa Public Schools is the largest public school district in Arizona. Each day during the school year, approximately 64,000 students attend classes at one of the nearly 90 pre-kindergarten, elementary, junior high, high school and various specialty schools that comprise the district.
Not only is Mesa Public Schools nationally recognized for student achievement in academics, sports, creative and performing arts, it’s also renowned for excellence in teaching and support services. In fact, the district is part of a network consisting of other similarly sized public school districts that often confer with one another to share how they have overcome enrollment hurdles, modernized systems and processes and enacted policy changes to keep pace with the evolving needs of their students and teachers. Technology is a topic that comes up often within the network, according to Ryan Mitchell, Mesa Public Schools’ Computer Repair Tech Field Supervisor – a role he has held for nearly seven years.
“We’re a really big district and we have to stay on our toes – especially in the era of COVID-19. We often talk to Chief Technology Officers employed by districts that serve as many students as we do or more in places like Chicago or Los Angeles County to discuss how they are handling technology challenges and which new solutions are working well for them,” Mitchell explained.
Mesa Public Schools Prioritizes Technology
Technology plays a starring role at Mesa Public Schools, where all of its high school students and a majority of its middle schoolers have been using 1:1 devices for the last couple of years. The spread of the coronavirus pandemic accelerated the district’s intent to get school-issued mobile devices into the hands of all their students. By the start of the 2020-2021 school year, even its pre-kindergarten students were learning remotely.
Pairing every student to a device within a short amount of time was a major feat for the district. Mesa Public Schools’ journey to accelerate technology adoption began just over 10 years ago when a partnership with Trox was formed. According to Mitchell, the district relies heavily on the expertise of Trox, a leading provider of education and collaboration solutions and services. With one of the industry’s most comprehensive portfolios, Trox provides technology and services used daily by more than 20 million students in hundreds of thousands of K-12 schools and higher-education institutions across the U.S. and Canada.
“Trox offers unmatched customer service,” Mitchell said. “I trust that the people I work with at Trox will be by our side every step of the way in finding resolutions – not just band aids – to even some of our toughest technology-related challenges, especially as it relates to remote and hybrid learning. That, plus the team’s deep experience in the EdTech space, is what makes our partnership with Trox so exceptional.”
New Diversitrack Systems and 75” Displays for Every Classroom in Every School
Mesa Public Schools and Trox are collaborating on a phased project to install new track systems and 75” displays in every classroom within the district. The goal? To enhance interactivity between students and teachers, as well as set the stage for a deeper assimilation of concepts from lessons or presentations. Rather than simply writing static notes on a whiteboard, educators can make use of PowerPoint, images and video, which helps students better comprehend what they are being taught.
“The track system and displays that Trox recommended, supplied and is now working with us to install help us meet our goal of improving collaborative learning – regardless of whether students are on or off campus,” Mitchell said. “When onsite, teachers can instruct from anywhere in the classroom because their laptops are connected wirelessly to the display. They walk up and down the aisles between desks or tables to interact with smaller groups of students or even one-on-one while keeping the rest of the class engaged. The feedback we’ve received from both our teacher and student populations regarding this new track system technology has been great.”
With social distancing guidelines redefining what learning looks like, Mesa Public Schools’ new track and displays have and will continue to play a crucial role in fostering collaboration and communication in a hybrid learning environment.
Mitchell said he anticipates that the second phase of the track and display installation project will begin in May 2021 and will focus on the remaining elementary schools still in need of the technology upgrade.
An Innovative Track Mount System Creates Flexible Learning Spaces
To support the rollout of the Diversitrack system across schools within the district, Mesa Public Schools tapped Trox to install track mount systems on all classroom whiteboards. The dual-track system allows the display to slide from side to side across the whiteboard, maximizing the space available to teachers to display their lessons. This transformative technology is ideal for creating flexible learning spaces, Mitchell noted.
In some classrooms, track systems up to 24 feet in length have been installed. Wall space and structural challenges to the building are the factors that determine how long the tracks can be and how quickly they can be mounted.
“Some of our schools are located in fairly old buildings, but the Trox integration team has done a standout job helping us navigate issues we’ve encountered during this installation project,” Mitchell noted. “In one classroom, we realized that we needed modified brackets to fit the track– something we didn’t anticipate until we were onsite. Trox was able to work with the manufacturer to quickly create and ship those to us to avoid significant delays.”
Mitchell added that the track mount system project will be completed in 2023.
The Future of Technology in the Mesa Public Schools District
When Mitchell thinks about the future of Mesa Public Schools from a technology standpoint, he believes the focus will be on identifying best-fit solutions to empower teachers in an evolving learning landscape.
“One of the things I like best about working for Mesa Public Schools is how forward-thinking our district leaders are,” he said. “Classroom innovation and solutions designed to help our educators teach more effectively – which are evolving at a faster rate than ever – will be a key focus of ours as a technology support team. That’s why it’s so important to have a partner like Trox on our side to show us how cutting-edge technologies and services can help us meet our changing needs.”
Interested in learning more? Read Trox’s Mesa Public Schools case study here.
About the Author
Jenni Ottum is the Public Relations and Communications Manager at Trox. She has held several B2B marketing communications roles in the software space. Most recently, Jenni worked on the Americas Communications team at Tech Data, overseeing the region’s external communications efforts. Before that, she served as the Senior Director of Public Relations for SHE Media. Her background and profile can be found on LinkedIn.