SAN YSIDRO – San Ysidro School District middle school principals Maria Rodriguez and Roberto Carrillo recently got the chance of a lifetime – learning to incorporate technology such as YouTube, Google Hangouts, Google Classroom and virtual reality into classrooms as part of a first-of-its-kind training course at Google’s Mountain View headquarters.

Rodriguez, Vista Del Mar Middle School’s principal, and Carrillo, San Ysidro Middle School’s principal, represented the District at the program’s July training courtesy of the Dynamic Learning Project.

The Dynamic Learning Project was created through a partnership between Google EdTech and Digital Promise, a nonprofit educational organization, to improve education equity and student learning by providing technology training to teachers in underserved middle schools.

Rodriguez and Carrillo were accepted into the program after writing a grant with the help of Kelli Hay, San Ysidro’s coordinator of federal and state programs. San Ysidro was two of 50 schools throughout the U.S. invited to the all-expense paid, weeklong program.

Each school will receive ongoing mentoring and professional development to encourage growth with the help of Digital Learning Coaches, Sylvia Mayer at Vista Del Mar and Jamie Barrett at SYMS.

Rodriguez said the training not only taught her about the intricacies of many useful programs, but also about the effect technology can have on student learning, communication and success.

“The Dynamic Learning Project encourages collaboration not just within a school itself or even the District, but across the country,” Rodriguez said. “Technology has expanded our way of thinking – and we want to build that global worldview for our students.”

Carrillo said he hopes the incorporation of technology into the classroom will further encourage students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

“This project supports our District’s initiative to prepare San Ysidro’s students to be competitive in the 21st century,” Carrillo said. “It was such a great opportunity for the District to collaborate with Google because it helps us prepare our students for college and the workforce.”

Dynamic Learning Project will hold a reunion in January 2018, at which Rodriguez and Carrillo will discuss their progress with other program graduates.

“It’s an amazing opportunity for San Ysidro to be involved in the Dynamic Learning Project,” Interim Superintendent Arturo Sanchez-Macias said. “Using technology in the classroom is of the utmost importance in ensuring academic success for our students and we’re lucky to have been chosen for this type of transformative professional development.”