Broward County Public Schools

Educating today’s students to succeed in tomorrow’s world with the Instructure Learning Platform.

Broward County Public Schools


260,235 Students

Adopted Canvas LMS: 2016
Mastery Connect: 2019
Canvas Studio: 2021


Over the past six years, Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) has been using Canvas and Mastery by Instructure to create a more consistent digital learning environment. Their Instructional Technology Facilitator, Griselda Rodriguez, Project Manager, LoriAyn Stickler, and their Director of Student Assessment and Research, Richard Baum, shared their strategy for implementation and ongoing support.

To showcase how these tools keep students engaged in the hybrid classroom, Landyn Spellberg, a middle school student, and Noemi Gastelu, a 4th grade ELA teacher shared their experiences in a recent Digital Learning Day webinar.

The Challenge

Prior to Canvas LMS, many learning management systems (LMS) existed in “pockets” throughout Broward County Public Schools. LMS usage varied from building to building and classroom to classroom, according to Stickler. Multiple platforms burdened students, their guardians, and the Instructional Technology team with too many processes. Years later, while reflecting on hybrid learning during the pandemic, Spellberg said that the challenge he faced as a student was “...being able to connect with my classmates and teachers.”

“The goal was to bring everything to a streamlined district perspective… one platform to support the amount of schools that we had,” Stickler said.

In addition to needing a more consistent digital learning environment and keeping students connected during hybrid learning, Baum added that the state’s decision to end IBTP, an assessment program they had relied on for benchmark assessments, left them in need of a new way to deliver assessments.

“We wanted an assessment solution that seamlessly integrated with Canvas LMS,” Baum said. “We were really happy when Instructure [acquired] Mastery Connect because it was a mature assessment delivery system and integrated with Canvas [LMS]. We knew that Mastery Connect, at its foundation, was really all about standards and that was important to us.”

Key Insights

The integration between Canvas LMS and Mastery Connect simplifies the digital learning experience for students, guardians, and teachers by having student assignments and assessments accessible via a single login.

In addition to its integration with Canvas LMS, Mastery Connect gives Broward County’s teachers access to benchmark and formative assessments that they can use to evaluate student learning and inform future instruction.

Canvas Studio amplifies student engagement and connects students and teachers through engaging video content with embedded quizzes that provide immediate feedback.

Instructure’s relationship with Broward County has ensured that everything from implementation to developing training materials for faculty and staff is streamlined and personalized to the district’s needs.

The Solution

During the first two years of implementation, The Office of Academics Leadership mandated that all professional development be delivered through Canvas LMS. According to Stickler and Rodriguez, The Instructional Technology team were then focused on:

Training BCPS District Staff and school-based personnel to utilize Canvas in their current job role.

Supporting teachers as they transitioned from previous learning management systems to Canvas

Collaborating with BCPS vendors to provide access to adopted instructional materials and other digital applications through Canvas LTI and/or Commons.

As a result of their early efforts and the later need for a digital learning environment during the pandemic, by the Fall semester of 2020, 93% of classrooms in Broward County had a Canvas-published course

The Power of Connection in the Platform

Across Broward County, Canvas LMS and Studio were crucial to keeping classroom communities connected, according to Spellberg and Gastelu.

“…Canvas [by Instructure] has definitely been a very great resource for [connecting]. Using Discussions to collaborate, Studio to talk to my teachers and fellow peers, using the Inbox, and all of these different Canvas features have really been helpful in overcoming some of those challenges,” Spellberg said.

Gastelu said, when describing how she used an LTI integration between Microsoft Sway and Canvas Studio,”I want my students to achieve a strong desire for learning. Students brainstormed their needs, wants, values, and their long-term goals. They were to present this reflection as a digital vision board...In Studio, they were able to record themselves and present the project to both me and their fellow students. They were able to interact and get immediate feedback.”

These connections didn’t stop in the classroom. Rodriguez, when describing the relationship between her team, Innovative Learning/Instructional Technology and the Curriculum Department, said,”...[Mastery Connect] forged connections across district departments because we tended to train alongside the curriculum department who were creating the materials, but we’re not well-versed in the [curriculum] materials…it made better relationships so that we really understood everything in context…They could understand our technology side and we could understand the curriculum side.” Likewise, the connection between Canvas LMS and Mastery Connect assisted Baum’s team as they strived to keep assessment tied to teaching and learning in the classroom in 2020 and beyond.

“We needed formative assessments that drive action to address COVID-related learning gaps,” Baum said. “...Having Mastery Connect and Canvas together was really ideal because the heart of Mastery Connect is the focus on those formative assessments and we knew that we could capitalize on that.”

Support Every Step of the Way

The relationship with Instructure has been another key benefit for Broward County. When describing the initial transition to Canvas LMS, Stickler said, “We worked with Instructure to bring things over in an integrated fashion so that a rebuild wasn’t needed.”

Both Baum and Stickler describe their Customer Success Manager as instrumental in getting the support they need when they need it, keeping them informed with the latest product news, and escalating any requests they have. Baum also mentioned that their Project Coordinator has been helpful for “hands-on, technical support” when creating employee training materials for Mastery Connect.

Broward County’s story shows how bringing together a learning management system, engaging video content, and a powerful assessment management system (AMS) amplifies teaching in the digital learning experience. Learn more about the impact of a connected platform in our free ebook, Pillars of Today’s K-12 Classroom.

The Results

Broward County plans to continue using the Instructure Learning Platform as the hub for their digital learning, engage students through meaningful video content, and deliver standards-aligned assessments with accessible data.

“I am certainly excited to continue using these tools. I think that using these tools can really enhance the way that I learn. Rather than doing a worksheet with pen and paper and one way to learn, now we have a variety of ways to learn and that has really helped me,” Spellberg said. “I look forward to more and more use of Canvas!”

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