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The Carroll County School District placed fourth nationally in this year’s Digital School Districts Survey. The survey is given each year by the National School Boards Association’s Technology Leadership Network and the Center for Digital Education.
“The survey showcases exemplary school boards’ and districts’ use of technology to govern the district, communicate with students, parents and the community, and improve district operations,” according to a Center for Digital Education (CDE) news release.
The CDE recognized school districts for launching and expanding district-wide technology initiatives that also have an impact in the classroom. All public school districts in the United States are eligible to take the survey. Districts are placed in one of three categories for the competition based on the number of students in the district: fewer than 3,000, between 3,000 and 12,000, and 12,000 or more. Carroll County competed in the category with fewer than 3,000 students.
“Schools and school districts are embracing technology and it is really exciting not only to see the innovative ways they implement technology, but how they are using technology effectively to teach and advance education,” said Alan Cox, senior vice president for the Center for Digital Education, in the release.“These education leaders serve as an inspiration to other school districts nationwide for their creative efforts to provide an outstanding education for today’s students. Congratulations to this year’s winners!”
The Center for Digital Education is a national research and advisory institute specializing in K-12 and higher education technology trends, according to the release. The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is an advocate for public education and supports equity and excellence in public education through school board leadership.
“Technology innovations enable local school boards to connect with their communities and support students and teachers in ways that were unimaginable even a decade ago,” NSBA’s Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel said in the release. “The 2014 Digital School District Survey offers powerful examples of technology’s role in the transformation of public education.”
The survey highlights many areas of technology use; however, a focus is on the use of technology to make district decisions and meetings more transparent to the public. For example, the Carroll County School District uploads all school board meeting agendas, minutes and supporting documents to its website for easy access and review by the public. Additionally, the district’s strategic plan, annual academic progress and test scores are available online as well.
“We want the public to be involved and informed,” Superintendent Lisa James, Ed.D., said. “When the community is engaged with the school district, students are more successful. We do our best to leverage technology to keep our community informed.”
Another facet of the survey is having policies in place to regulate the use of technology within the school district.
“There is a lot of work that happens behind the scenes to ensure that students and employees have the best tools at hand to communicate effectively,” District Technology Coordinator Cindy Johann said. “We are constantly updating our policies to keep up with the rapid pace of change.”
Carl Roberts is director of public relations for Carroll County Public Schools.