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How Clint ISD weathered the pandemic and turned their tech team into magicians

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Located in the western tip of Texas along the Rio Grande River, Clint ISD encompasses a diverse geographical area serving 14 school campuses. Clint's 11,000 students put it among the top 100 Texas districts in terms of student population, and it's poised to grow even larger as the east El Paso area develops. Of course, more students means that the problems that face a typical school district are only multiplied.

At the heart of Clint ISD is their Instructional Technology department. Their team, led by CTO Manuel Verduzco, stays at the forefront of educational technology as much as they can. They've been a 1:1 Chromebook district for the last 5 years,

"We've always had a digital divide for home internet access, and now because of the pandemic more people are aware of it... but I've been trying to bridge the digital divide for 30 years."

When asked how they manage to support such a large district with a broad variety of needs and limited resources, the Clint ISD team is quick to point to Securly's solutions. Despite having their 1:1 program in place for the last 5 years, Clint only adopted Securly's Filter product 3 years ago. Before that, the district used a variety of different filter solutions, but none of them fit the bill.

One of the major factors in the decision to switch to Securly Filter was alerting capabilities. IT coordinators had to look through logs to see if students were searching for concerning content, and the tools they had available to them were difficult to effectively use to keep students safe online and keep in touch with internet usage trends.

"Teachers were asking for it, and we became magicians… we just snapped our fingers and they got it."
Manuel Verduzco, CTO

In addition to helping Clint ISD more easily bridge the digital divide, Securly has been a launching pad for Social and Emotional Learning efforts. In addition to multiple different programs and initiatives revolving around SEL, Clint ISD also uses Securly's solutions to identify students at risk and prevent self harm. Securly laid the groundwork for Clint ISD's self harm protocols and after-hours notification protocols at a district level.

Manuel says that Securly's tools provided their district with foresight as to where their efforts needed to go, and using ESSER funding, this year they were able to deploy counselors across their campuses to help serve their students' social and emotional learning needs.

The Pandemic

The Pandemic

Despite their excellent IT team, the challenges presented to Clint ISD as a result of the pandemic were demanding. Even with a 1:1 Chromebook program in place, lower grade students did not take devices home. This all changed with the switch to distance learning, and Securly was there to make sure that even off campus, student devices could be filtered and monitored.

However, the IT team is only one part of the equation. Parent involvement and engagement with their child's learning is always important, but with distance learning, its impact is even greater. Broadly, Clint ISD is a semi-rural district, and many of their parents are low income, which presents its own set of challenges. Some parents work two jobs, making involvement in everything from PTA meetings to keeping up with their child's online activity more difficult.

With Securly Home, Clint ISD could not only support parents, but put the power in their hands.

"Before Securly, we didn't have a mechanism to empower parents"
Manuel Verduzco, CTO

Parents across the district have told the Clint ISD tech team that the peace of mind that Securly provides after hours is invaluable. With the Securly Home app, parents don't have to rely on setting up their own internet filtering and monitoring solutions at home, and have access to a whole suite of tools to keep their children safe online and focused on schoolwork.

Keeping Focus

Keeping Focus

Before the pandemic, teachers were on the hunt for a program that would let them monitor students' screens and keep them on task during class. Once the Instructional Technology team introduced Securly Classroom, it spread “like wildfire” says Gisela Lucero, Instructional Technology Coordinator. Teachers loved it. One of the major benefits was cutting down on time that it took to push out multiple URLs to all students and get everyone on the same page, which used to be a process that could take minutes, and now only took seconds.

In addition to that, the ability to lock students down to certain sites and chat directly to a student without disrupting other students were highly effective tools to make sure Clint's teachers were spending their time on instruction and not discipline. And when the switch to distance learning happened, Securly Classroom was even more essential to teaching remotely.

Now that students are starting to come back to school, maximizing instructional time is more important than ever to combat learning loss. Getting kids caught up after the summer is a challenge every year, but has become an even greater hurdle after the pandemic. Clint ISD continues to use Classroom on-site to monitor students and keep classes on track, and their teachers are now even more confident in using technology to enhance learning and drive student engagement.

"Teachers are loving it... It eliminates disruptions which can maximize their instruction time"
Crystal Fuentes, Instructional Technology Coordinator

Moving Forward

Moving Forward

The story doesn't stop here. Helping students learn and parents engage with their children's education is a daily process, but the Instructional Technology team at Clint ISD is more than up to the task. And whatever challenges they face, Securly is there to keep students safe, parents informed, teachers effective, and the whole district happy.