Accelerating the Pathway to Modern Learning

Modern learning takes place when student experiences directly reflect the competencies they need to thrive after graduation. As we endeavor to modernize learning across our districts, we need professional learning methods that demonstrate our visions at the classroom level early in the transition to avoid strategic planning in excess without affecting student learning.

Achieve transformation at the classroom level more quickly while building district-wide teacher proficiency in modern learning through a blended professional learning approach.

Professional learning as part of the Digital Convergence journey to modern learning at scale creates blended learning experiences for teachers that pair face-to-face strategy sessions with digital modules. As we develop our visions for the future of learning, concurrently engaging a small cohort of teachers in early, blended professional learning opportunities can accomplish the following toward bringing our visions to life at scale:

  1. Showcase what modern learning looks like at various stages, and inform progress among other teachers and stakeholders.

  2. Catalyze the shift to a learner-centered culture across the district, building a workforce of modern teachers and ultimately impacting the learning experiences of all students.

Blended Professional Learning

During initial face-to-face professional learning sessions designed to expedite instructional transformation at the classroom level, the accelerated group of teachers learn hands-on, practical strategies which they can immediately apply in their classrooms, such as ways to increase student voice and ownership in classroom lessons and culture. Leaders and coaches who attend these initial sessions are equipped with all of the materials to replicate the professional learning for the main field of teachers.

This strategic deployment of professional learning allows teachers outside of the initial small cohort to observe the transition from traditional to modern learning environments, while also allowing the initial small cohort of teachers to reflect on their progress and inform the Digital Convergence Steering Committee as they move forward.

Digital professional learning modules compliment the face-to-face sessions with self-paced mastery of the “look fors and listen fors” of the district Instructional Model. Teachers build foundational knowledge about the philosophies behind the new strategies learned in the Literacy tiles of each module. Teachers then demonstrate evidence of their ability to apply the new strategies in the Fluency tiles of each module.

Building a Workforce of Modern Teachers

The Digital Convergence approach to professional learning creates the conditions for all teachers in the district to successfully facilitate learner-centered experiences aligned to the district Instructional Model.

When we apply blended and learner-centered strategies to our professional learning practices, the initial teacher cohort champions and coaches the transition at scale by a) taking ownership of and establishing their voice in the overall vision for modern learning, and b) sharing their successes to support their colleagues.


Coaching and reflection tools initiate a positive feedback loop that refines the professional learning plan over time and provides non-evaluative transparency among teachers. District, school, and individual-level success metrics supported by data systems within the change-management platform chart the district’s progress and proficiency at scale.


Announcing the 2019 State of the Industry Report on Digital Convergence

2019 SOI Report.png

The 3rd Annual Volume

Case Studies Covering Districts Advancing K-12 Education Through Digital Convergence


Each year, the National Council on Digital Convergence strives to celebrate the important accomplishments of leading organizations in K–12 education while recognizing some of our industry’s greatest shared challenges. We are honored to introduce you to this year’s National Network member districts whose Digital Convergence journeys are being showcased in the third installment of the The State of the Industry Report on Digital Convergence.  This publication not only celebrates the achievements and recognize the results of these districts, but to learn from the challenges they faced and the solutions they adopted to overcome them.

In the 2019 report, four Network members have been selected to share their remarkable journeys through the Digital Convergence Framework:

  1. Cajon Valley Union School District, CA

  2. School District 49, Falcon Zone, CO

  3. Hamilton Community Schools, MI

  4. J.O. Combs Unified School District, AZ

From the entire Modern Teacher Team, congratulations on this recognition, and thank you for your commitment to empowering our students with the experiences they need to thrive. We continue to see remarkable progress in the movement toward personalized learning. We see school districts now reaching stages 3, 4, and 5 of the Digital Convergence Framework. Together, we are building a national movement to serve every student and take our education system into the future with a practical methodology.

The Instructional Model: Groundwork for Transformation at Scale

The development and integration of a district-wide Instructional Model, coupled with the leadership to make it come alive, is the cornerstone that allows districts to modernize student learning at scale. The instructional model builds the foundation for the following steps:

1.    Creating a Digital Ecosystem to leverage technology to support modern learning

2.    Modernizing Curriculum to include content relevant to the 21st Century Learner to prepare students for college and careers

3.    Adopting Professional Learning to implement new pedagogic strategies to scale personalized learning

4.    Engaging the Community to move beyond the 4 walls of the classroom to expand where and how learning takes place

The Instructional Model facilitates the cultural shift toward modern learning environments that allow districts to advance in an innovative yet practical way. The Instructional Model brings to life a brand for the district’s commitment to delivering relevant learning experiences for every student. It is the unifying element that connects districts’ core values of instruction K-12 in all content areas.

You can explore the Instructional Models of districts nationwide in the Resource Library by logging in to and going to the Resource Library on the top toolbar. 

M.I.N.E., a Modern, Innovative, Nurturing, Education for all Students Served by Alamance County, NC

In 2014, Alamance-Burlington School System set out to develop a strategic plan for learning that lead to the development of the Core Four instructional framework around curriculum & instruction, including the intersection of standards, rigor, pedagogy and data & assessments. In late 2017, the district began to think about scaling the modern learning environment across the entire system. Through the process of visioning of a modern learning environment, the district built upon their Core Four instructional framework to develop a comprehensive, three-dimensional Personalized Learning Model built on their vision for modern learning, or M.I.N.E., Modern - Innovative - Nurturing - Education. The student-centered M.I.N.E. Personalized Learning Model focuses on empowering, connecting and challenging students in their learning. Alamance-Burlington refined and enhanced the Core Four into the M.I.N.E. Personalized Learning Model and leveraged their Instructional Model Driver Team, a cross-representative group of instructional leaders from across the large North Carolina district, to inform and develop their model: Modern - Innovative - Nurturing - Education. My future. My learning. Just for me.


Alamance-Burlington recently completed their Personalized Learning Model (SI 18) to develop M.I.N.E., a Modern, Innovative, Nurturing, Education for all students served by Alamance County. During their recent October strategy session, the M.I.N.E. Steering Committee began developing the structure and initial characteristics of their Learning Model Identifiers (SI 41) document to help instructional staff better understand what the Learning Model should look like the classroom for learners, teachers, and space through a learner-centered focus.

The Steering Committee will elicit their Instructional Models Driver Team to further develop the Learning Models Identifiers doc and use this information to develop their specific Professional Learning Goals tightly aligned with the new M.I.N.E. Personalized Learning Model.

Rock Hill Schools Launches LEAP

After experiencing the impact of going 1:1 without a supporting Instructional Model before their Digital Convergence journey, today this South Carolina district is making tremendous strides to personalize learning for their students. As a community, they have turned the tables from focusing on the “tech” to building a strong foundation and why for instructional technology. Through an unprecedented turnover in leadership and amid a teacher shortage, Rock Hill is using their Instructional Model, LEAP, to build culture, community, and purpose through a shared vision.

After multiple orientation meetings around their new LEAP Instructional Model, school leaders at each of the 25 schools in Rock Hill Schools of South Carolina have started to launch the LEAP model with their staff. RHS’s Instructional Model Team was instrumental in designing a wealth of supporting materials for school leaders to use in their launch meetings. These materials were compiled into a hyperdoc to ensure consistency across schools while allowing leaders choice in the details of their launch activities. Many principals chose to introduce LEAP with an activity similar to the one they engaged in at the orientation meetings by having teachers self-assess on each of the LEAP model categories and their look-fors.   

The team recently convened their instructional coaches to analyze target areas of their LEAP instructional model that teachers identified in order to build a coaching support plan.


Rock Hill’s Session at NCDC19: LEAPing From Their Mistakes

Rock Hill has been selected to present at the upcoming National Conference on Digital Convergence to explore the impact of going 1:1 without a supporting Instructional Model. While this was Rock Hill’s experience in 2011, today they are making tremendous strides to personalize learning for their students. Learn how this community has turned the tables from focusing on the technology alone to building a strong foundation and "why" for instructional technology. Through an unprecedented turnover in leadership and amid a teacher shortage, Rock Hill is using their Instructional Model, LEAP, to build culture, community, and purpose through a shared vision.

Creating a Theory of Action

Driver: Leadership | Success Indicator 3

The Theory of Action organizes the district's vision into a high-level plan that is testable and periodically revisited. While it's important for district leadership to be aligned and in agreement on this plan, it's critical to remember that the end goal is to improve the learning experience of the district's students.

Recently, Digital Convergence Leadership Teams at several National Network member districts used Affinity Mapping to create vision statements describing what a modern learning environment will look like in their districts.

Baldwin-Whitehall School District, PA

Bellwood-Antis School District, PA

Gaston County School District, NC


Newton-Conover City Schools, NC

Orange County School District, NC

Pickerington Local School District, OH


Phase 1: Ideation

Individuals record ideas of what a modern learning environment will look like, answering the following questions:

  • What do you want to see in your classrooms in 5 years? What are the students doing? What are the teachers doing?

  • What should a graduate of your district know and be able to do?

  • What qualities do graduates need to be able to succeed today and in the future?

This step allows for the ideas of various leaders to be reflected in the vision that will shape modern learning across the entire district, establishing a culture of thought partnership from the beginning of the district’s Digital Convergence journey.


Phase 2: Analysis

Afterwards, the team comes together to group common ideas. Creating one overarching theme for each group, district leaders draw from all ideas and discern themes what is important to the district’s culture and community.

This step takes the ideas of individuals and not only includes them but expands them to include the ideas of others, synergistically creating something which the team shares— a collective voice.

Phase 3: Synthesis

Leaders use the overarching themes to create vision statements. During their next strategy day on Digital Convergence, these vision statements create the foundation for the district’s Theory of Action.

While building a Theory of Action is initially beneficial in igniting creative collaboration, the completion of this Success Indicator will set the stage to truly transform instruction and the student experience at scale, as these once ideas develop into action items that will go on to inform strategic decisions for the future of learning across the district.

You can view the Theories of Action of Network districts from across the country in the Resource Library after logging in to

The Cajon Valley EduTour: Collaborating to Prepare Students for the World of Work

Cajon Valley Union School District of California, a member of the National Network, is on a mission to realign public education to meet the demands of life after graduation. They accomplish this by providing each child with a full understanding of the World of Work so that they are equipped to make career choices that reflect their strengths, interests, and values. At the heart of their efforts is a cohesive, district-wide vision: happy kids engaged in meaningful relationships on a path to gainful employment.

Recently, Cajon Valley connected with two other school districts within the Modern Teacher National NetworkBaltimore County Public Schools, and Fraser Public Schools.  On-site visits were scheduled to learn more about the work within each district’s schools and communities. The Cajon Valley team, made up of educators, administrators, board members, business partners, and community members, embarked on a journey to further inspire the growth of their vision of The World of Work, modern learning, and what this might look like within the classrooms and community of Cajon Valley. The Cajon Valley EduTour began with NCDC18, the inaugural conference hosted by the National Council on Digital Convergence. An understanding of Digital Convergence and innovative Keynote sessions and conference sessions laid the ground work for a deeper understanding of the road ahead.

The second stop was Baltimore County Public Schools, (BCPS). Nick Schiner of BCPS hosted the Cajon Valley educators on a Maker-Space tour of the city.  The Maker Space progression included a trip to The Digital Harbor Foundation, a youth maker space utilized within BCPS, OpenWorks, a community Maker-Space, and The Foundry, an Industrial Maker Space.  The last stop was to City Garage, located right next door to the Foundry.  City Garage is a dynamic workplace that enriches Baltimore's manufacturing heritage and cultivates the talent of local artisans and creative entrepreneurs. City Garage's nearby access to The Foundry allows these entrepreneurs access to costly machinery.  These types of spaces allow for individuals of all shapes and sizes to grow their strengths, interests, and values, a concept the team from Cajon Valley is very interested in further developing. This type of spirit gets kids excited about future opportunities inside of the World of Work and also serves to connect the community of Cajon Valley with the school district that serves them.


Superintendent Dr. David Miyashiro, on behalf of the Cajon Valley team, presents Nicholas Schiner of BCPS with a Certificate of Appreciation.

Superintendent Dr. David Miyashiro, on behalf of the Cajon Valley team, presents Nicholas Schiner of BCPS with a Certificate of Appreciation.

The last stop on the tour was Fraser Public Schools of Michigan, most recently recognized for reaching Stage 5 in the Digital Convergence Framework. In Fraser, students are becoming increasingly more motivated to take ownership of their learning, and teachers district-wide are afforded the flexibility, know-how, and resources to personalize learning for their students.  

The Fraser visit began with an overview of how Fraser approached the work of Digital Convergence and included a walking tour of Success Indicator evidence.  Work products and photographs related to milestone Success Indicators were posted throughout the room and the group had to opportunity to engage with district staff who were leading the work.  


Dr. Dave Richards preparing to speak to visitors about the Fraser journey. 

Dr. Dave Richards preparing to speak to visitors about the Fraser journey. 

We then had the opportunity to tour a Middle School or Elementary School, were served a delicious lunch prepared by Fraser high school students, and concluded with a High School tour.  The high school classrooms we visited incorporated both innovative classroom teaching practices that reflected the district's realized culture of Time, Pace, Path, and Place Learning at scale and Fraser's version of Maker-Spaces.


Superintendent Dr. David Miyashiro, on behalf of the Cajon Valley team, presents a Certificate of Appreciation to Fraser Superintendent Dr. David Richards and two Fraser School Board Members.

Superintendent Dr. David Miyashiro, on behalf of the Cajon Valley team, presents a Certificate of Appreciation to Fraser Superintendent Dr. David Richards and two Fraser School Board Members.

Modern Teacher's National Network represents the individual collective work of Digital Convergence across the country to give innovative educational leaders the united voice needed to move K-12 education into the future. The National Network is designed to create a forum for community, collaboration, and consensus as districts navigate the transition to modern learning facing common goals and challenges. Through Modern Teacher's online platform, districts can access useful information about other members, such as their location and helpful demographic information, Digital Convergence Framework Stage, Success Indicator completion and activity, Professional Learning progress, and Key Strategic Milestones. Drawing from these diverse experiences and Stages in the Framework creates traction and builds momentum to transition the traditional classroom to modern learning environments at scale.

Are you taking advantage of the resources available within the National Network?  A good place to start is by visiting the National Network Page within the Modern Teacher platform.  You can find the link under the Digital Convergence tab.  Take some time to explore other districts also undergoing the challenging work of Digital Convergence and begin connecting them. Your Strategy Officers can offer assistance as you begin to explore the many available possibilities.

Hamilton Community Schools of Michigan Tackles Success Indicator #4

Success Indicator #4

Stakeholders have been identified and engaged in activities around the Theory of Action and the construction of the vision of the modern learning environment. This Success Indicator appears early in the Framework because of the importance of securing stakeholder buy-in to Digital Convergence. Recognizing that the value of a community comes from the value of collective voices, the stakeholder engagement process provides an opportunity to continually build a collective voice through guidance and feedback.

Hamilton's Process

Hamilton Community Schools became a Modern Teacher National Network member in September of 2017.  Superintendent David Tebo knew that his district leadership was well equipped to make decisions independently around their vision of a modern learnring environment. However, he also knew that Digital Convergence could not take place when only one team worked in isolation so the leadership team began to identify and include key stakeholders for guidance and feedback in developing this vision. 

David began engaging stakeholders in defining a vision for the modern learning environment through stakeholder engagement meetings involving both parent and community groups. At the same time, school principals held similar type meetings with staff at their campuses. The first agenda item: responding to the needs of society in the conceptual age. Specifically, each group addressed the following questions:

  1. What Are The Demands Of Society In The Conceptual Age?

  2. What Role Does Hamilton Community Schools Play In Responding To Those Demands?

In each meeting, small groups were developed and each small group created a poster depicting the needs of society and Hamilton's role within those needs.  Each small group presented their poster to the stakeholder group, providing further understanding to the needs and responses identified in their vision of a modern learning environment. The open dialogue that followed allowed for stakeholders to voice their opinions and hopes and to project future progress for their community schools.

In crafting a vision together with stakeholders, Hamilton Community Schools began generating understanding and buy-in toward the development of a vision for modern learning. Now, as Hamilton moves forward with Digital Convergence, they are able to reconnect with these stakeholder groups and build off of their journey established together, as a team. 

Below are a few images generated during a few of these stakeholder meetings.