North Carolina district brings education technology to Title I pre-K classrooms

Wake County Public School System (WCPSS) has partnered with Hatch® to bring education technology solutions that aim to improve math and literacy outcomes to the WCPSS Title I Pre-K Program. The school system installed 24 TeachSmart® interactive whiteboard learning systems and 39 iStartSmart® all-in-one, touch screen computers in its Title I Pre-K classrooms.

“Our goal is to constantly seek tools to improve the academic performance of our students and to help those students who need additional academic support, or at risk of falling behind, to accelerate their proficiency levels,” said Beckie McGee, senior administrator for Wake County Public School Systems Title I Program. “The Hatch technology systems provide standards-based activities and progress monitoring capabilities that enable us to individualize learning so that we can ensure proficiency at each level and are able to know where each child is in their progress at any given time.”

Approximately 65 percent of WCPSS Title I Pre-K students have limited English proficiency. The Hatch education technology systems contain research-based activities, tied to North Carolina standards, that help improve literacy and build the crucial language skills these students need to be ready for kindergarten.

“In the few months that we have had the Hatch educational technology systems in place, we can already tell a difference in our students’ comprehension and language acquisition including expressive and receptive language skills – and this is a huge step,” said Kim Jackson, a teacher with WCPSS Title I Pre-K Project Enlightenment. “Each student has their own login and this allows us to track their individual IEP goals and language development, as well as monitor their progress toward state standards.”

A login designed for pre-readers allows children to independently access the iStartSmart Computer Learning System. The system provides more than 500 interactive activities that develop proficiency in 18 skill areas that early childhood research shows is key for kindergarten readiness. iStartSmart identifies the skills students have mastered and where they need more help, automatically moving them to the next level. Individualized performance reports are tied to each child’s login and provide automated, standards-based progress monitoring for every student in the class.

The TeachSmart Learning System contains more than 1,100 research-based lesson plan activities for early learners, pre-loaded onto a Hatch computer with a SMART™ Board interactive whiteboard that correlate with state and national standards. Recently released, the first research study to evaluate the effectiveness of interactive whiteboard technology in preschools suggests that the TeachSmart can significantly improve math and early literacy learning outcomes.