Massapequa Streamlines 21st Century Learning with Haiku Learning and Google Apps for Education

21st century learning illustration

21st century learning illustration

The School District

The Massapequa School District (MSD), a Long Island town about 45 minutes from New York City, includes nine schools and serves 8,132 students in grades K-12. In January 2015, MSD launched the next phase of its “Learning… Anytime, Anywhere” program, a 1:1 Chromebook initiative that utilizes Haiku Learning as its learning platform.

The Challenge

Four years ago, MSD was like many districts without a learning platform. The teachers were using different websites to post content and assignments for their classes. Students had to juggle different logins and instructions for all these different platforms and apps for each teacher. And parents had to do the same for each child they had in the district. Due to such disparity in what teachers were using, there wasn’t much collaboration.

"We wanted to find that one place that could be the online planner, that could be the one-stop shop, so kids didn’t have to juggle different sites, so teachers could streamline what they do instead of reinvent the wheel all the time,” said Jenny Steigerwald, Executive Assistant for Digital Curriculum Support and Development.


The district is now in its third year of using Haiku Learning as its learning platform and second year of Google Apps for Education (GAFE) and its associated Chromebook initiative. Haiku Learning gives them the “one stop shop” for content creation, collaboration, and communication, and grading. Its single sign-on integration with GAFE provides additional collaboration, creation, and publishing tools, and the Chromebooks provides efficient access to these tools on a daily basis.

Today, this unmandated solution has an 85% usage rate amongst teachers, and having the two work together seamlessly has helped drive overall adoption.

"It allowed teachers using Haiku Learning to see how Google Chrome and Google Apps worked. And then the reverse was true too,” said Vickie Ahearn, who works in the Technology Learning Center training teachers on the platform.

One of the biggest surprises was how administrators immediately took to the platform and used it to streamline communication with staff, which then inspired the teachers to use it. The teachers learned by seeing administrators create read-only documents in Google Drive, embed them into Haiku Learning, and anytime they edited it, it changed the document in everyone’s class.

A screenshot of Google Docs in Haiku Learning
Embedded Google Docs and Sheets can be seen in this staff page. Administrators first demoed the efficiency of making changes in one place that everyone can see. Teachers then did the same with their students.

“[The teachers] loved that you didn’t have to continually upload a Word doc or a PDF," said Vickie. "They really saw the value of that. That translated to the teachers doing that with their students for class notes and things along those lines. It really streamlines things and the teachers love it."

Between tools like WikiProjects in Haiku Learning and Google Docs in GAFE, the teachers also love how easy it is to enable students to be creators of digital content—a valuable 21st century skill, and as Jenny said, “Having students publish for a global audience is part of the Common Core standards."

Pull Quote from Massapequa

The librarians also jumped on board by hosting school elections using the Polls feature in Haiku Learning, and housing a variety of resources that help teachers and students find what they need or learn how to do something new using both platforms. For example, they have helpful videos like “How to Flip Your Classroom” and “How to Make a Google Presentation.”

The combined solution has enabled students to take more ownership over their learning, according to Deja Berry, Executive Assistant to the Principal at Berners Middle School: "I think the biggest piece is creating student independence. When students are out they don't come to the teacher all that often now and say where's the work? They just sign in on their own and access it.”

The Haiku Learning-GAFE integration has also made it much easier to carry out Massapequa's 1:1 initiative. The Chromebooks are affordable, which made it even easier for them to get their 1:1 initiative going and continue its deployment to all of their 7th-12th graders over the next two years.

“We don’t have to wait for boot up time, and in under 60 seconds we’ve got access to Haiku and the GAFE platform through the Chrome browser through the Chromebooks,” said Jenny. “It’s just made everything more efficient, there’s increased instructional time, and there are less distractions for students because everything is so integrated."

Pull Quote from Massapequa

According to Jenny, for domain administrators, it helps that both platforms are so user friendly: "The management is a breeze because you can do it all from one Google Apps console, manage the devices, manage Chrome browser, and you don’t need to be a systems engineer. Both are so user friendly you don’t have to be so highly trained to do it. And there’s no server upkeep! Everything’s done in the cloud!"

The Haiku Learning-GAFE integration also gives administrators like Jenny and Vickie more time to be strategic because they’re not spending time “fixing” things.

“We’re starting to have some discussions with our technical team, we’re sitting and making decisions together. 'What’s best for all users? How do we accommodate everyone’s needs?' Because we’re not spending time fixing, fixing, fixing, we can spend more time making strategic decisions."

For Haiku Learning customers: What are you doing to streamline teaching and learning, improve collaboration, and develop 21st century skills? Let us know in our Community Forum!