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Carroll County Schools second in national digital school districts

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The Carroll County School District has been recognized nationally for the second consecutive year for ranking among the top school districts in the 2012 Digital School Districts Survey.

The National School Boards Association announced April 13 at its conference in San Diego, Calif., that the Carroll County School District has received second place in the nation in the Small Student Population Category (fewer than 3,000 students). The district ranked fifth in the 2011 survey.

NSBA has conducted this survey in conjunction with the Center for Digital Education for the past nine years to showcase how school boards are effectively using technology to communicate with students, parents, and the community, and to improve district operations.

“We are honored by all of the hard work that our district has done to improve our use of technology, said Lisa James, Ed.D, superintendent of the Carroll County School District. “Moving up from fifth to second nationally is outstanding; it has taken our whole staff focusing on using appropriate technology tools and other 21st century learning skills to maximize student achievement.”

District representatives received the award at the National School Boards Association’s Annual Conference April 13-15, 2013. Technology Director Cindy Johann and Jonica Ray, assistant principal at Cartmell Elementary School, accepted the award on behalf of the Carroll County Board of Education.

“NSBA has recognized us not just for using technology, but for applying it in useful and practical ways to improve student learning and overall efficiency in the way we operate,” said Johann.

Johann said that the Carroll County School District is moving closer to meeting the needs of next generation learners through technology integration by using a variety of mobile computing devices to match the learner with the most appropriate and affordable device.

Technology Director Cindy Johann, who prepared the prize winning entry along with Public Relations Director Jeffery Fremin, said that supporting an increasing number of wireless mobile devices has required building a solid infrastructure, including new cables, routers, and switches throughout the district. Johann said that the income surveys parents completed at the beginning of the year have helped the district receive a higher rate of reimbursement from the federal E-Rate grant program, which has funded up to 90 percent of the infrastructure.

“If you think of the data that computers exchange over the Internet as cars on a highway, then adding new wires, switches, and routers to increase our bandwidth is like widening the highway from two lanes to 16,”  said Zachary Dean, the network systems administrator for the Carroll County School District. “It helps the data to move more quickly, and makes it much easier for students and teachers to use technology.”

Johann said that answering the 34 questions as part of the Digital School Districts Survey helped the district realize not only what it was doing well, but what areas still needed more improvement.

The Digital School Districts Survey examines and documents school boards and districts’ online presence, technology applications that allow the public to interact with school board members, administrators, and teachers (as well as their access to information such as school board calendars and district policies), and technology use in the district and classrooms.

Participation in the survey was open to all U.S. public school districts which were placed in three categories based on size of enrollment. Those districts which demonstrated the most comprehensive use of digital standards were chosen as the top-ten-ranking districts. The Carroll County School District was the only Kentucky district to place in the Digital School  District Survey this year.

James said district and school leaders are further developing plans to take the district to the next level of technology integration.

“We want to increase the number of students and teachers applying technology in new and innovative ways,” said James.

James said that technology is just one component of the overall “Vision 2021,” the district’s efforts to help students develop the 21st Century Learning Skills needed so that all high school graduates are ready for college, career, and citizenship by 2021.

 

Jeff Fremin is director of public relations for Carroll County Public Schools.