Georgia districts expand use of cloud technology

Four school districts in Georgia recently completed a project funded by the Georgia Power Foundation to help them enhance their use of web-based tools to streamline and align processes including the management of meetings, strategic plans, policies, leadership evaluations, and communications. Each of the districts subscribe to eBOARD and had applied for the competitive grant in order to see how they could expand their use of this tool beyond the board level. The service was provided by eBOARDsolutions, a subsidiary of the Georgia School Boards Association. The service included the following:

* A comprehensive review of each eBOARD site resulting in a detailed report on how well they are currently using the individual modules and suggestions for improvement.
* A meeting with the leadership team to discuss the review and agree upon which action steps were needed, who would take them and when they would be taken.
* Professional development for the staff in the areas of improvement in which they want to focus based on the results of the items above.

At the end of this process, the districts involved assembled as a group to discuss the outcomes and share their progress and suggestions with other school systems. This panel discussion tool place at the Georgia School Boards Association and Georgia School Superintendents Annual Conference. The discussion was filmed so that the lessons learned could be shared by other districts that subscribe to eBOARD or similar web-based tools.

The video of this panel discussion can be found here.

Mark Willis, COO of eBOARDsolutions comments, "As district budgets continue to tighten, never before has it been more important to ensure that were are all working as smart and efficient as possible."

The districts involved in the initial project include:

* Barrow County Schools (charter district with about 13,000 students)
* City Schools of Decatur (small urban charter district with about 3,000 students)
* Jeff Davis County Schools (small rural district with about 3,000 students)
* Richmond County Schools (large urban system with about 32,000 students)

Following are comments from the participants in this program:

Dr. Wanda Creel, Superintendent of Barrow County Schools contributes, "eBOARD Solutions has provided Barrow County Schools with a communication and monitoring tool to ensure that our systemic process is aligned at the district level and cascaded to each individual school. eBOARD serves as a resource to house our system and school strategic plans, system and school Balanced Scorecards, meeting agendas and minutes for a wide variety of district, departmental, school, and grade level meetings. Additionally, electronic portfolios containing artifacts and evidence to support the superintendent, district level administrators, and building level principals evaluations are posted through eBOARD."

The eBOARD comprehensive review allowed us to step back from our implementation to really see the power of the tool," comments Superintendent Dr. Phyllis Edwards, City Schools of Decatur. "We made over 20 adjustments - some small, some more substantial - as a direct result of the feedback; all for the continuous improvement of our organization."

Dr. Frank G. Roberson, Superintendent of Richmond County School adds, “We are extremely happy with the efficiency and effectiveness of the eBOARD products and how they have assisted us in our day to day operations. As we continue to move forward, we plan on adding additional components of the program throughout our schools. I would highly recommend eBOARD to any district that is looking to streamline their operations.”

Based on the feedback from this grant, eBOARDsolutions will now be offering this Review Service to all districts at a minimal cost.