NSBA honors districts for technology use

The National School Boards Association‘s (NSBA) Technology Leadership Network (TLN) has named three school districts as Salute Districts in recognition of their focus on technology to promote student achievement. A previous Salute District, Township High School District 214 (Arlington Heights, Ill.), was named a TLN Trailblazer District for its ongoing commitment to technology in the classroom.

Dysart Unified School District (Surprise, Ariz.) – This rapidly growing 24,000-student district, just outside of Phoenix, invested in network modernization and created a culture that emphasized using technology to transform instruction and administrative operations. More than 300 Dysart teachers have completed the district’s E3 Academy, an intensive 60-hour program on using technology in the classroom. Teachers use a suite of assessment tools called iPAL to home in on individual strengths and weaknesses for each student, directing instruction to areas of need.

Jefferson County Public Schools (Ky.) – Kentucky’s largest district has provided all 6,000 teachers and administrators with Tablet PCs to support its vision of using technology to enhance instruction and change administrative practices. From the district's use of professional learning communities to the development of JCPS Online, a virtual learning space for all students and staff that has grown to 145,000 active users, technology is embedded in all phases of district operations. NSBA will be hosting one of its 2011 TLN Site visits in partnership with the Jefferson County Public Schools, May 11-13.

Liberty County School System (Ga.)– The 10,200-student Southeast Georgia school district recognized the importance of collaboration between building leaders and the district’s technology staff to ensure technology investments are being maximized. Since the creation of their Technology Advisory Board, the district has seen increases in the use of the Web for two-way communication with parents; in the variety of classroom technology initiatives; and student participation in the Georgia Media Festival.

Township High School District 214 – Township High School District 214, a 2000 TLN Salute honoree, has shown a long-term commitment to using technology.

The district’s recent effort to target technology solutions to address the learning challenges of student groups identified by No Child Left Behind warranted the additional recognition as a Trailblazer. District 214 uses a Digital Learning Lab to accelerate the progress of students who are not fluent in English. The technology department tracks students who earn struggling grades each week, and sends automated phone calls and letters to notify the parents.

"Educators, board members, and school leaders in these four districts understand that technology is not supplemental, but instead must be an integrated component of daily instruction and administrative operations," said Ann Flynn, NSBA's Director of Education Technology. "They have invested not only the money, but also the time and effort in professional development to ensure that technology initiatives are positively impacting student achievement.”

The four districts will be honored at NSBA's 2010 Technology + Learning (T+L) Conference, October 19 to 21 in Phoenix.