Leadership Profile: Kyle Berger
Bringing Technology to Alvarado ISD
Honors: In 2009, Berger was named TCEA's Technology Administrator of the Year. Alvarado ISD was included in Infoworld's Top 100 IT Projects of 2009.
His tech plan: All classrooms in the district have mounted projectors, interactive whiteboards, and document cameras, as well as interactive slates for teachers. The district's 1:1 initiative has been in high gear for two years now. Each fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-grade student has a netbook or mini note-style laptop. And for the 2010-11 school year, traditional-style laptops will be given to each seventh and eighth grader. "That gives me a little over 1,500 units in the hands of students. Next year we want to begin rolling out slate or tablet devices to our high school students," says Berger.
Philosophy: "One of the things I try to do is to run my education IT as a business model," says Berger. "Our district doesn't have a whole lot of money, so we're thinking about how we can approach all this to get the best bang for our buck, and for the district," says Berger. For example, Berger started Alvarado's 1:1 program at the middle school level rather than high school, because he believed it would deliver the best ROI. It allows the district to gauge results over six or seven years, instead of four. And if the program is successful, says Berger, parents of elementary and high school students will be clamoring for it.
Wi-Fi for the community: With almost 75 percent of the student population classified as economically disadvantaged, Berger's 1:1 plan quickly hit obstacles. "We were sending students home with devices and they couldn't connect. They didn't have Internet access. That's where we came up with our Internet kiosk program," says Berger. With help from HP, walk-up kiosks were placed in cafes, laudromats, and grocery stores so parents could access the school district site to check their children's grades and get district information and news. The kiosks are also Wi-Fi hotspots where students can access the Internet from their laptops.
Rolling out next steps: This year, Berger's team will put free Wi-Fi on school buses. "We have some long school bus routes. A child may be on a bus for an hour. That could still be educational time."