Turning COVID challenges into hybrid-learning success

A Texas educator partnered with Cisco to build tech capabilities — and fight inequality.
Sep 16, 2022

When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down schools in 2020, it disrupted learning and social development for millions of students. But while all schools faced unprecedented challenges, some adapted quickly, using technology to help children not just cope, but thrive.  

One such success story was the Canutillo Independent School District in Texas. It was accomplished under the leadership of Dr. Oscar Rico, the district’s executive director of technology — and through a strong partnership with Cisco. Along the way, some stark challenges had to be faced, including income inequality, lack of internet access, and the anxiety that such conditions caused in children.  

“It’s a terrible feeling for any educator to say, because of your socioeconomic status you don’t have the right to this,” Rico said.  

Rico has strong ideas when comes it to choosing a technology partner. “I need somebody who’s going to be adventurous,” he said, “and who’s going to tackle the status quo.” 

Cisco fit the bill. And tech solutions like the Cisco Ultra-Reliable Wireless Backhaul and Cisco Meraki access points helped shore up connectivity gaps, which, in turn, empowered families beyond their children’s education.  

The results speak for themselves. Many schools saw a drop in standardized test scores since the pandemic, but as Rico explained, that was not the case in Canutillo.  

“Our kids not only did not see those dips,” Rico said, “but saw progression. To us that was huge.” 

To learn more, join us in the video above as we speak to Oscar Rico about the learnings from the lockdown and how these are helping the school continue to thrive in the hybrid education era. 


Related content: