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Understanding and Boosting Student Engagement in Today’s 21st Century Learning Environments

Wednesday, March 31, 2021 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm EDT

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Presented by Kelly May-Vollmar, Ed.D., Assistant Superintendent, Educational Services, Desert Sands Unified School District (CA); and Dr. Aaron Spence, Superintendent, Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VA)
Moderated by Monica Cougan, Manager of Strategic Relationships and Initiatives, CatchOn/ENA; and Karen Garza, Ph.D., President and CEO, Battelle for Kids

Sponsored by CatchOn, An ENA Affiliate and Battelle for Kids

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Closed captioning will be added to the recording within 2 weeks of the live presentation.
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Over the last year, we’ve seen tremendous shifts in learning. Educators are reimagining ways to engage students in meaningful 21st century learning, both in the classroom and in digital learning environments. As districts continue to develop and integrate tools, processes, instructional approaches, and assessments to meet the learning needs of all students, understanding and defining student engagement will become an increasingly critical component of ensuring equitable and deeper learning outcomes.

Hear how two districts are utilizing data, engaging with their communities, supporting educators, and creating strategies to increase student engagement and accelerate learning.

This recorded edLeader Panel will be of interest to school and district leaders of elementary through high school grade levels.


Kelly May-Vollmar

About the Presenters

Dr. Kelly May-Vollmar has worked in education since 2004. She served as a classroom teacher, academic coach, site principal, and chief innovation and information officer (CIIO) prior to starting her current position as Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services. She served as CIIO for Desert Sands Unified School District for three years. For the last two years she has served as the assistant superintendent over educational and technology services. Her experience has allowed her to marry the technology and the educational services departments. As a technology leader in California, she has had the honor of receiving several awards. She was awarded the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) California Technology Administrator of the Year award in 2019 and the California IT in Education (CITE, formerly CETPA) Educational Leader of the Year award in 2020. Most recently Dr. May-Vollmar was awarded the Community Leadership for Digital Equity Award: Desert Sands Unified School District from CoSN (the Consortium for School Networking).


Aaron Spence

A passionate and visionary leader in public education for 26 years, Dr. Aaron Spence is committed to ensuring that all students have access to the rigorous coursework, innovative learning opportunities, and resources they need to prepare them for success in college or the workforce. Dr. Spence has served as Superintendent of Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) since June 2014. As Superintendent, he is responsible for the instructional leadership and administrative operation of 86 schools and centers serving more than 67,000 students. The more than 10,000 employees of Virginia Beach schools credit Dr. Spence with creating and fostering a culture where input is welcomed, opinions are valued, and differences are celebrated.


Monica CouganAbout the Moderators

Monica Cougan is Manager of Strategic Relationships and Initiatives at CatchOn, an ENA Affiliate, where she leverages her more than 35 years of experience in education and technology to help schools make the most of new technology. Throughout her career, Monica has been an evangelist for the adoption of technology as a transformative educational tool. She also has extensive experience helping K-12 schools implement 1:1 programs and in disseminating problem-based and project-based learning methodologies that focus on helping each student develop his or her own voice. Throughout Monica’s extensive career, she has sought out the diverse experiences required to know how to implement positive changes in education: she has served as a classroom teacher, adjunct professor, and education consultant for national, technology-based curriculum companies. Away from the classroom, she has served as an independent math consultant, worked in curriculum development, evaluated research on school-based programs, and developed professional learning opportunities for educators looking for a new mastery of technology.


Karen GarzaDr. Karen Garza has led the recent transformation of Battelle for Kids, including the emphasis on realizing the power and promise of 21st century learning for every student, the increasing adoption of Portraits of a Graduate by school systems across the country, and the additions of EdLeader21 and the Partnership for 21st Century Learning (P21) into the Battelle for Kids family. Dr. Garza has dedicated her life to bettering educational opportunities for all students. She began her career as a kindergarten teacher before embarking on an administrative and advocacy path that included positions as government relations director, curriculum director, deputy superintendent, chief academic officer, and eventually becoming the first female superintendent at both Lubbock Independent School District (30,000+ students) and Fairfax County Public Schools (188,000 students).

Dr. Garza is a frequent thought leader on 21st century education through her writings and presentations at state and national conferences. She has presented at many national and state convenings including, the National Governors’ Association, National School Boards Association Conference, ASCD National Conference, AASA’s National Education Conference, the National Forum to Advance Rural Education, and SXSW. Over her career, Dr. Garza has been recognized with various awards, including receiving the inaugural Tom Cookerly 2016 Exceptional School Superintendent Leadership Award from The Neediest Kids—a program of the National Center for Children and Families. She was also named 2016 Superintendent of the Year by the Virginia Commonwealth PTA, 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award honoree from the University of Houston, 2013 YWCA Woman of Excellence Award, and was named by the Washingtonian Magazine as one of ten most powerful women leaders in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Area (DMV) in both 2014 and 2015.


Closed captioning will be added to the recording within 2 weeks of the live presentation.

Join the Analytics in Action community to network with educators, participate in online discussions, and receive invitations to upcoming edLeader Panels.


CatchOn is a user-friendly data analytics tool that collects real-time data on every device, enabling school districts to make data-informed decisions about the apps and online tools their educators and students are using. In 2018, CatchOn joined forces with ENA, a leading provider of comprehensive technology solutions to education institutions and libraries across the nation. Collectively, CatchOn and ENA leverage their respective resources and expertise to deliver critical services and solutions that help school districts produce positive outcomes in the communities they serve.


Battelle for Kids

Battelle for Kids (BFK) is a national, not-for-profit organization with the mission of realizing the power and promise of 21st century learning for every student. We put our core values and dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion at the center of everything we do and every decision we make as we collaborate with school systems, communities, and partners to achieve our mission. Our work centers on helping education leaders engage their communities to re-envision and transform their school systems. We take a systems approach to promote enduring transformation of the system and equitable, deeper learning outcomes for every student.


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Wednesday, March 31, 2021
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm EDT
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