Back Office Business

Back Office Business

Time for a telecomm upgrade in Alabama

Challenge: Like many other districts, Madison County School System (MCSS) in Huntsville, Alabama, was challenged with finding an affordable advanced communications infrastructure so that it could increase the communications capabilities for its central facilities and schools.

Solution: For Madison County, the choice was ADTRAN’s NetVanta Unified Communications solution. During the first phase of deployment, MCSS will offer unified messaging for administrators and teachers, a Find-me/Follow-me feature for superintendents and administrators, a conference server to host system-wide school official calls, and overhead and handset paging integrated into existing systems at each campus. Later, MCSS will implement capabilities that will simplify data collection and distribution, reduce human error, and mitigate liability with real-time parent communications.

Interactive whiteboards for elementary students

Challenge: Winslow Township (NJ) School District wanted to add more technology to its elementary schools so that teachers could integrate more technology into their lessons.

Solution: This summer, more than 100 MimioBoard devices were installed in elementary schools. The MimioBoard is a fixed installation, but its interactive whiteboard (IWB) component—the MimioTeach bar—can be detached from the whiteboard and transferred to other classrooms, to turn any whiteboard into an interactive whiteboard. “No other product that we piloted offered the full package of affordability and ease of use,” says Darryl Scott, supervisor of educational technology.

Utah expands 1:1 program throughout state

Challenge: The Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) wanted to continue deploying whole-school technology in its public schools, so the office had to decide whether or not to expand its Smart School Technology Pilot Program. This program provides 1:1 tablet deployment on any platform, security wherever the tablet is used, access even when wireless and Internet may not be available, and software that integrates testing, assignments, learning management systems, analytics, instant messaging, textbooks, and collaboration.

Solution: The GOED selected iSchool Campus to continue deploying whole-school technology in Utah’s public schools. “One of Utah’s four key objectives in economic development is ‘to prioritize education to develop the workforce of the future’ and the Smart School program is an important element in achieving success,” says Spencer Eccles, GOED executive director. Since his initial pilot program deployment last December, the principal of Dixon Middle School in Provo reported increases in both student engagement and achievement.

Affordable PD comes to Texas

Challenge: Ector Independent School District (ISD)—a large, rural district in Odessa, Texas—needed to find an affordable way to deliver professional development to its staff members at 40 different campuses spread across 906 square miles.

Solution: The district found SAFARI Montage Live-5! (SML5), an interactive videoconferencing tool that allows teachers to receive face-to-face training affordably. Using SML5, instructional services gives teachers a week of technology PD every summer. Teachers can attend sessions from home or school at their convenience. “After reviewing other products, SML5 stood out as the most cost-effective solution for our PD needs, with the added benefits of the Learning Object Repository and video content,” says Damon Jackson, CTO of Ector County ISD.

Teacher evaluation + PD is the right choice for Butler County

Challenge: In its effort to improve teaching effectiveness, the Butler County (AL) School District explored various technology solutions. Administrators wanted one that used video as part of its professional development process.

Solution: The district is implementing Teachscape’s Effectiveness Platform in a multi-phased approach for its teacher evaluation and professional learning initiatives. Teachscape and Charlotte Danielson’s Framework for Teaching will assist the district in conducting its ongoing observation, coaching, and self-assessment processes. “Teachscape’s tools will streamline our evaluation process,” says Litta Norris, a program director for the district. “From observer training and assessment to observations tied to professional development, our administrators and teachers will be able to easily manage this process online.”