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Frances Marie Gipson, Ph.D.

Frances Marie Gipson has served as a teacher, principal and superintendent. Now she serves on what she likes to call “Team Kid.” She’s leading the way for the Instructional Technology Initiative Taskforce to prepare students throughout Los Angeles Unified School District to be digital learners who leverage technology to graduate and achieve success in college and careers.

The taskforce is made up of more than 60 educators and civic leaders who meet every week to develop a districtwide vision and strategy for how to provide appropriate technology to allow students and teachers to flourish. The taskforce meets with industry experts and even students to glean their perspectives on what tools are most engaging.

Among their key recommendations, the taskforce strongly supports a personalized approach that harnesses technology tools to work for each school. More than 40 practitioner schools are tracking how they’re growing and learning under the new instructional technology initiative. Gipson said 18,000 teachers learned about new resources and a learning management system in July. They have also implemented enterprise reporting systems that allow educators to track where students are on their learning pathways and ensure they have many opportunities to reach graduation.

Gipson notes that collaboration is key for the taskforce. “One of the things we’ve been acutely aware of is structuring ourselves for success,” she said. “Every Tuesday, we have an Instructional Technology Matters meeting. We make sure we’re setting the conditions for all of these opportunities to thrive. Our strength is our sense of team around this work. We live that in our practice.”  — Julia McCandless