Simple K12 Becomes a Game Changer for Pine Island Public Schools

Published On: February 21st, 2023·By ·

The Pine Island Public School District in Minnesota was offering the traditional “sit and get” professional development to all their teachers. They would create their own content to try and meet the educators’ and student learning needs within the district.

One of the challenges with this system is that it was time-consuming, and keeping things up to date with evolving learning needs was almost impossible, making it hard to deliver content that is relevant to each K12 staff.

Mr. Patrick Smith, who is in charge of PD in the Pine Island Public School District, started scouting for options to improve this situation. He was looking for a solution that would be relevant to all K12 educators. He scoured the internet and even watched YouTube videos trying to find a solution.

After three months, he discovered Simple K12. According to Mr. Smith, SimpleK12 had all they were looking for. For instance, the on-demand virtual learning on all mobile devices and the high-quality PD designed for the modern learning needs of today’s learners. 

Finding Simple K12 prompted the Pine Island Public School District to tailor their own PD initiative dubbed “Choose Your  Adventure.” The initiative allows teachers to tailor their own PD based on their needs and preferences.

After injecting SimpleK12 into “Choose Your Adventure,” they’ve seen tremendous change over the last five years.

For instance, they've achieved their ultimate goal: to eliminate “sit and get.” 

Finding Simple K12 has also allowed them to achieve 100% participation in their PD programs.

Mr. Smith participated in several conferences and did presentations on the changes in their PD program since they adopted Simple K12. Other districts were wowed and envious of the great achievements.

He says that if you implement the program correctly, the teachers will love it.

Read The Full Interview with Mr Patrick Smith of Pine Island Public School District

Before you began searching for a PD solution, what were you or your district doing/using?

We were generally offering “sit and get” PD delivered to the masses. We were trying to curate some of our own content, but it took a lot of time to keep things up-to-date and relevant.

Could you describe the primary pain points of the process prior to using SimpleK12?

It's hard to deliver content to a K 12 staff that is relevant to everyone. We also were trying to meet the MN licensure requirements by rotating them through every XXX number of years, but as staff came and went they might not get them all.

What finally triggered the search for a solution to your challenge?

We launched a professional development initiative called “Choose your Own Adventure”. Teachers in our district come up with a plan that personalizes PD for them as an individual, outside of contract hours (after hours, weekends, summer etc) they work on 15 hours of PD. When complete they do not attend 2 contract days of the school year. This eliminated 1/2 day PD events, and rewards them for the time they spend outside of contract hours. This motivated people to attend weekend, summer, and evening events they might otherwise have not attended. Simple K12 is a big part of this because they can use it for their individual PD hours, and can meet the Mn licensure requirements by selecting PD that makes sense for them ie.. a kindergarten teacher and 12th-grade teacher each need proof of “reading” but this can and should look very different from a PD standpoint.

How did you first hear about SimpleK12?

Internet research

How long had you been looking for a solution to the problem you wanted to solve with SimpleK12?

about 3 months

What other solutions besides SimpleK12 where you looking for?

Infinitec Youtube

Compiling our own on our LMS

What were a few of the reasons you decided to go with SimpleK12?

They had the content that we needed. We are a Google Apps in Ed school, there is a lot of Google content. W are 1:1 with ipads k-4, Chromebooks 5-8, and windows machines 9-12. So we needed variety for our teachers, and Simple k12 has that.

How long have you been using SimpleK12?

5 Years

How many educators are currently using SimpleK12?


What are the job titles, grades, and number of the educators using SimpleK12?

all k-12 teachers and paras in our district have an account

How do you and/or your district currently use SimpleK12?

In our “Choose your Own Adventure” initiative

What types of goals or tasks are you using SimpleK12 to accomplish?

licensure in MN Individualized PD plans

What’s the biggest advantage of SimpleK12?

The variety of content on demand

Did you use federal, state, or district/local funding to pay for SimpleK12? If so, please describe what and what that process looked like? If not, would you mind sharing how your district paid for SimpleK12? (This information will help other districts in finding funding for teachers.)

It is paid for by our staff development committee- we survey our teachers every year, and they overwhelmingly like it and use it

How would you describe the buying process?


What have educators been saying about SimpleK12 since they’ve started using it?

See above, they do not want it to go away, you can pull our numbers from past years, but we use it quite heavily

Could you share 1-3 anecdotes and quotes of particularly stand- out experiences using SimpleK12 with any of our team members?

During covid we could build PD for our paras and teachers Teachers could also get traiing on the spot as they moved to a virtual environment

People really enjoy having the ability to meet their licensure requirements in-house.

Prior to using SimpleK12, you were concerned about [x] and trying to solve [y]. Were you able to achieve what you set out to?

Absolutely- we have100% participation in our initiative

Looking back, how do you feel about your primary pain points now?

I believe we are achieving exactly what we set out to do. Eliminate sit and get PD.

Could you share an anecdote that describes the shift you experienced?

I presented our initiative at a number of conferences including plugging your product and teachers from other districts' jaws drop when they hear/see what we are doing- it makes sense…

What is your advice to others who might be considering SimpleK12?

Try it! If implemented correctly your teachers will love the product.

Do you think the investment in SimpleK12 was worthwhile? Why?

Absolutely ,we couldn't pull off our Individual PD initiatives without it.

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