Join Verizon Innovative Learning Schools - Verizon Innovative Learning Schools

Join Verizon Innovative Learning Schools

With the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools (VILS) program, selected schools receive wrap-around support through technology, connectivity, professional learning, and access to a national community of more than 500 schools. Schools receive financial and professional learning support for a full-time coach focused on helping teachers design and deliver hands-on learning experiences. Additional funding is also available for school IT support to ensure students have anytime, anywhere access to learning.

Applications for Verizon Innovative Learning Schools Cohort 10 are open!

Why Join VILS?

Who Can Apply for VILS?

Any interested U.S. school district may submit an application with at least two schools. To qualify for consideration, each school must serve students in middle or high school grades and have no less than 65% free and reduced lunch rate or participate in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP).

Program Overview

VILS IT Supports
  • A choice of technology:
    • LTE-enabled iPads or Chromebooks
    • SIM cards to leverage with current LTE-enabled devices in your district
    • Hotspots
    • *All technology listed above is equipped with 30GB monthly data plans
  • Funding to support a full-time school IT technician ($5k-$8.5k depending on school size) each year
  • IT implementation support and device protection plans
  • Ongoing support from experienced VILS leaders
VILS Professional Learning Supports
  • School and district leadership learning pathways to support effective systems and practices that positively impact student learning
  • Funding to support a full-time, school-based instructional coach each year ($25k)
  • Comprehensive, ongoing professional learning experiences for all faculty
  • Regular opportunities to collaborate with and learn from existing school and district leaders in more than 500 schools across the U.S.
  • Ongoing support from experienced VILS leaders
Opportunities for Students
  • Join a student technology team
  • Online student resources
  • Opportunity to engage in VILS student capstone project

Our Results

  • 89% of teachers said VILS helped them explore new ways of teaching.
  • 85% of teachers said VILS allowed for more individualized instruction.
  • 82% of teachers said VILS enhanced their ability to differentiate instruction.
  • 88% of coaches said their experience with VILS positively impacted the guidance they provided teachers.
  • 78% of teachers said VILS enhanced student engagement.
  • 71% of teachers said VILS helped them reach goals they set for their teaching.

Application Overview

Call for applications for Cohort 10 of Verizon Innovative Learning Schools officially opens on May 9, 2022. Applicants will move through the process on a rolling basis and the initial application window will close by October 1, 2022. If you have questions about the application process, please reach out to us at vils@digitalpromise.org.

Step 1: District leader completes this 8 minute questionnaire to help us learn more about your district
Step 2: Brief meeting with member of VILS team to understand our program, ask questions about application process, and identify eligible schools
Step 3: Written application completed by district leaders and identified school leaders
Step 4: Conversation with superintendent/district leadership
Step 5: Conversations with each principal on application
Step 6: In-person site visit from members of VILS team

A middle school girl uses a tablet while wearing a mask in class.

Key Roles & Responsibilities to support the program in your district and school

District Lead: The District Lead is a district-level employee who will be the project manager for district communication with Verizon and Digital Promise. This person should:

  • Be able to lead the creation and implementation of strategic plans regarding district readiness and rollout,
  • Work with school and district leadership to complete VILS professional learning requirements,
  • Have a high-level understanding of the operations, policies, and key people in the district, and
  • Be able to navigate and communicate with all VILS stakeholders through various channels with ease.

District IT Lead: The District IT Lead is a district-level employee who will be the primary project manager for technology and device management with Digital Promise and Verizon. This person should:

  • Be able to lead the team who will set up, filter, and manage all devices and infrastructure in the program,
  • Work closely with School IT to remove obstacles and create support structures at the school level, and
  • Work closely with the District Lead and principals around processes to ensure success.

Principal: VILS Principals are defined as the school-based administrator leading the initiative in each school. Most often this is the principal, but occasionally this role is fulfilled by an assistant principal. VILS Principals are responsible for:

  • Consistently communicating the vision of how the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools initiative aligns with and supports goals around the “why” within schools.
  • Ensuring coaches are singularly focused on their role in providing professional learning to the building’s teachers.
  • Ensuring teachers have flexibility to fully engage in both formal and informal professional learning.

The most successful principals will devote time and attention to the project, both within their schools and districts, and within the larger Verizon Innovative Learning Schools community of other principals.

VILS Coach: The VILS instructional technology coach (VILS Coach) is a full-time position at a school focused on providing teachers with the pedagogical support to effectively use technology in the classroom. This position requires a student-centered learning philosophy, creative problem-solving abilities, interpersonal and communication skills, and eagerness to take a leadership role.

The district/school is responsible for appointing a full-time, school-based VILS Coach for the program’s two-year duration (with the opportunity to extend an additional two years if approved). VILS Coaches may not be assigned any classes or other duties. The Verizon Innovative Learning School will receive a minimum of $25,000 per year to support a full-time VILS Coach in each school. (Exact amount will be finalized once all schools have been selected.) Additional funding for salary and benefits to employ a full-time VILS Coach is the responsibility of the district/school.

School IT: The School IT is a school-level employee who will be the primary point of contact for technology support and device management at the school level. This person should work closely with the District IT Lead to manage device incidents through resolution and implement timely and effective systems for technology use in schools. The coach may not serve as the School IT. A stipend of $5,000 – $8,500 per year (depending on school size) will be provided to support School IT in each school. For schools with 50 teachers or less, $5,000 per year will be provided for School IT support; for schools with 51+ teachers, $8,500 per year will be provided for School IT support.

Research

All districts participating in the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools program will be asked to engage in research through Digital Promise. In this study, researchers will examine how the program is working; ways to improve implementation; and impacts on teaching and learning, professional culture, technological proficiency, and access to STEM opportunities.

What are the research requirements? Any district accepted into VILS Cohort 10 will participate in Digital Promise’s research for two consecutive school years (2023-24 and 2024-25). If a district is selected for a two-year extension of the program, participation in research during that time is required, as well. Every teacher, VILS Coach, and school leader will complete surveys each fall and spring, as well as brief snapshot questionnaires each winter.

Are there opportunities for deeper impact? Interested schools can request to be a Case Study School. Case Study Schools complete the requirements outlined above, as well as fall and spring interviews with teachers, coaches, and administrators; focus groups and surveys with a small group of students; and a few classroom visits conducted by the research team. These case study activities will occur over two school years (2023-24 and 2024-25).

How will this research be used and how will schools benefit? The findings of the research will be shared 1) with the participating schools and districts to make improvements in the program implementation, and 2) with the field in the form of conference presentations and research publications. All research findings will be reported in the aggregate to protect the confidentiality of every participant.

Case Study Schools will receive an individual report at the end of each year with specific feedback from researchers on how to improve the program and technology use in their classrooms.

Questions? Please contact Hillary Greene Nolan at hgreenenolan@digitalpromise.org with any questions about research or the Case Study School opportunity!

Middle school teacher works with students who are using tablets

Memorandum of Understanding

All district and school leaders will be expected to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the district and Digital Promise. The final MOU will be released to districts by January 2023. Coach funding and student devices will not be fulfilled until the MOU is signed by all parties, so we ask that you help us accomplish this by March 25, 2023.

The MOU consists of two main parts: 1) The agreement between the district and Digital Promise; and 2) Exhibits that outline Verizon requirements (End User Agreements) around the devices, access, and data collection specifics. Digital Promise will work directly with each district to finalize the MOU.

Frequently Asked Questions

May I speak with a leader from a prior cohort to learn about the program from their perspective?

Does the program end after two years, or is there a chance for an extension?

How much is the coaching stipend?

How much is the school IT stipend?

What is the value of the program?

Are the devices pre-filtered? Is a specific internet filter or MDM required?

When does the program begin?

Are cases, keyboards, and other accessories provided?

Do devices travel with students to high school?

What if enrollment increases?

What provisions are in place to protect the 1:1 devices?

Are devices covered under warranty?

What happens if teachers or students exceed their monthly data plan?

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