2009-2010 Technology Plan for Smyth County Public Schools

121 Bagley Circle, Suite 300
Marion, VA 24354
276-783-3791
www.scsb.org
Webmaster@scsb.org

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Executive Summary | Needs | Duration & Implementation Responsibility | Collaborations & Partners | Goals, Objectives, & Strategies | Fiscal Analysis | Appendices

Executive Summary

The Technology Plan for Smyth County Public Schools maps the path we will follow to use technology to improve teaching and learning. The foundation of the plan is our four-part vision of the instructional use of technology:

  1. We believe that technology is a powerful means of improving teaching and learning.
  2. We will prepare our graduates for the demands of 21st Century society by providing them with technology skills. This is especially critical in Smyth County, where the economy has been extremely stressed by the loss of several thousand traditional manufacturing jobs in woodworking and textiles.
  3. We will provide equitable access to technology resources for all students and staff members.
  4. We will constantly remind ourselves and our stakeholders that technology literacy and effective integration of technology are moving targets. We can take pride in how far we have come, but we can never rest.

The Smyth County Technology Plan identifies goals, objectives, and strategies in six areas:

  1. Integration
  2. Professional Development
  3. Connectivity
  4. Educational Applications
  5. Accountability
  6. Administrative Services

The Technology Plan for Smyth County Public Schools was approved by the Smyth County School Board after being developed by the school division's Technology Advisory Committee, which consists of:

Drafts of the plan were published on the School Board's Website and public input was accepted through an online discussion board and a public hearing.

In addition to goals, objectives, and strategies, the Technology Plan includes an analysis of technology-related needs, fiscal analysis, and a timeline for implementing specific technology-related action items.

Note Regarding Technology Life Cycles

K-12 schools have traditionally had much longer computer life cycles than higher education and private-sector organizations. To use technology effectively, schools and the government bodies that fund them must find ways of keeping their computer systems, software, and infrastructure up-to-date. In the document that follows, when we refer to computers, we mean a system that has sufficient memory, disk space, and processor speed to run the required instructional and administrative applications. These computers should also be capable of:

  1. Running an operating system that is no more than two generations behind the current release;
  2. Being networked to a 100- or 1,000-megabit-per-second switched network;
  3. Displaying at least 16-bit color;
  4. Stereo sound output through speakers or headphones;
  5. Connection to a multimedia projector or other large display device.

While there are uses for computers that do not meet these requirements, we should not count these older computers in calculating Virginia’s recommended 5-to-1 pupil to computer ratio.

Needs

We have identified the following major technology-related needs:

  1. Funding to increase the number of computers and other technology-related equipment at the elementary and middle school levels, and to maintain our existing levels of equipment at the secondary level.
  2. Funding to replace classroom computers used by teachers.
  3. Funding to provide one projector per classroom.
  4. An ongoing professional development program to enable teachers and administrators to effectively integrate technology into instruction.
  5. A means of encouraging our students to develop more substantial technology skills; i.e., to see the importance of learning spreadsheets, databases, CAD/CAM, network administration, and programming applications, as opposed to using computers just for Internet browsing, communications, and entertainment purposes.
  6. An ongoing program to enable support staff to make more effective use of technology.
  7. Increasing student access to technology at the middle and elementary school levels. Lack of space for computer labs is a barrier to improving the student-to-computer ratio at these schools.
2009-2010 Technology Initiatives
Action Items Implementation Responsibility Status
Provide training for all staff on new student information system (PowerSchool). IT Department In Progress.
Evaluate feasibility of using netbooks in place of traditional laptops or desktops. Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Instruction Department, IT Department In Progress.
Continue classroom and computer lab replacement cycles. IT Department In Progress.
Provide additional professional development in use of data for decision making. Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Instruction Department In Progress.
Provide professional development for instructional staff on new capabilities within Interactive Achievement student assessment system. Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Instruction Department, IT Department, ITRTs In Progress.
Implement interactive student response systems ("classroom clickers"). Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Instruction Department, ITRTs, IT Department In Progress.
Upgrade mail server and improve anti-spam capabilities. IT Department In Progress.
Upgrade wireless networks at elementary schools. IT Department In Progress.
Evaluate Wiimote Interactive Whiteboard system as an alternative to commercial interactive whiteboards. Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Instructional Department, IT Department, ITRTs In Progress.

Collaborations & Partners

The Smyth County School Board relies heavily on regional cooperative efforts to further its instructional goals. These include:

Goals, Objectives, & Strategies

Our goals, objectives, and strategies are grouped into six categories. The first five are derived from the 2003-2009 Educational Technology Plan for Virginia. The sixth category focuses on administrative services.

Integration | Professional Development | Connectivity | Educational Applications | Accountability | Administrative Services

Integration

Goals

  1. Improve teaching and learning through the appropriate use of technology.
  2. Improve equity in the implementation of technology-enhanced teaching and learning.

Objectives

  1. Central office and building-level administrators have a vision and plan for technology use and integration.
  2. Central office and building-level administrators provide support for integration of technology into instruction.
  3. Central office and building-level administrators effectively evaluate instructional uses of educational technology.
  4. Technology integration partnerships are established among educational technology stakeholders.
  5. Teachers effectively integrate instructional technology.
  6. Teachers collaborate to improve and enrich instruction using technology.
  7. Teachers use technology-based intervention strategies to improve student achievement.
  8. Teachers understand and model the acceptable use of technology in teaching and learning.
  9. Students routinely use technology in a variety of learning activities across the curriculum.
  10. Student learning and achievement will be enhanced through the effective integration of technology.
  11. Computer/Technology Standards of Learning (SOL) are fully integrated across all curriculum areas.
  12. Instructional personnel meet Technology Standards for Instructional Personnel (TSIP).
  13. Students meet Computer/Technology Standards of Learning (C/T SOL).
  14. Teachers will incorporate age-appropriate Internet Safety instruction into the curriculum at all grade levels. (2009-2010 Extension)

Strategies

  1. Involve central office and building-level administrators and teachers in developing plans for technology integration.
  2. Require each school to develop and maintain a plan for certifying that its teachers meet the Technology Standards for Instructional Personnel.
  3. Provide at least one desktop or mobile networked, multimedia computer per classroom.
  4. Identify resources that promote interactive staff and student use of technology, such as virtual math manipulatives, interactive whiteboards, and classroom "clicker" systems. (2009-2010 Extension)
  5. Identify and eliminate barriers that are preventing students and staff from using technology effectively; e.g., lack of access to computers and display devices, inability to type accurately and rapidly.
  6. Acquire appropriate numbers of graphing calculators and relevant scientific probes and sensors for the study of mathematics and science.
  7. Provide each school with an annual subscription to an online library of instructional video content, searchable by keyword, subject, grade level, and SOL.
  8. Train special education teachers and other staff in the use of assistive devices for special needs students.
  9. Use H.323 devices to enable virtual field trips.
  10. Collaborate with Blue Ridge Public Television and Southwest Virginia Education & Training Network (SVETN) for the continued delivery of distance education courses, instructional television services, digital video, public information forums, staff development, and engineering expertise.
  11. Collaborate with state plans to convert all state-purchased analog downlinks at high and middle schools to digital, utilizing local cable systems and existing division television networks to expand satellite reception to all schools.

Professional Development & Support Programs

Goals

  1. Establish and support ongoing professional development programs to enhance teaching and learning through the use of educational technologies.
  2. Provide adequate personnel to support the division's technology infrastructure and teacher/administrator use of technology.

Objectives

  1. All teachers and administrators will be proficient in the use of technology to support teaching and learning.
  2. Adequate support staff will be available to support the effective integration of technology.

Strategies

  1. Provide in-depth professional development workshops that focus on integrating technology into specific areas of instruction.
  2. Explore innovative ways to deliver professional development workshops, such as online Web-based workshops.
  3. Provide professional development to enable central office and building-level administrators to recognize effective integration of educational technology.
  4. Provide professional development that will enable central office and building-level administrators to model the effective use of technology.
  5. Provide professional development that will enable teachers to model the effective use of technology.
  6. Offer incentives such as professional day credit to encourage teachers to take professional development workshops offered by SVETN, the Blue Ridge West Consortium, or other organizations.
  7. Collaborate with the DOE and neighboring school divisions to conduct regional summer institutes on educational technology applications for the lead technology teachers.
  8. Collaborate with neighboring divisions, regional consortia such as SVETN and the Southwest Virginia Public Education Consortium, and the DOE to offer summer technology workshops for teachers and administrators (annual Southwest Virginia Technology Splash, National Teacher Training Institute workshops).
  9. Collaborate with community colleges and universities to offer effective, affordable, high quality technology training for all teachers and administrators.
  10. Participate in the annual Virginia leadership training conference on technology and regional drive-in symposia for lead teachers and technology specialists.
  11. Collaborate with neighboring divisions to apply for regional grants for in-service training to be locally coordinated and conducted.
  12. Take advantage of on-site technology consultation and training offered by DOE staff and/or contracted services.
  13. Provide local technology workshops on the use of instructional software and hardware and productivity software.
  14. Review technology support staffing levels each budget cycle

Connectivity

Goals

  1. Provide at least one networked computer for every five students.
  2. Upgrade and replace networked computers on a four-year cycle.
  3. Connect every instructional and administrative area to the school LAN.
  4. Provide high-speed local and wide area network access to each school in Smyth County.
  5. Provide a centralized, shared Internet connection of at least DS3 speed.
  6. Provide sufficient support staff to maintain, secure, and expand LAN/WAN.
  7. Leverage network resources to provide additional capabilities, such as video-on-demand and VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol).
  8. Manage network and computers in most efficient manner possible.

Objectives

  1. Provide sufficient network connections and bandwidth to support instructional and administrative needs.
  2. Secure the network against intrusion, viruses, denial of service attacks, and other threats.
  3. Provide ongoing training for support staff.
  4. Maintain an Internet Safety and Acceptable Use Policy.
  5. Implement IP telephony systems in all schools by end of 2008-2009 school year.

Strategies

  1. Provide at least one networked computer per classroom.
  2. Provide a minimum of five network drops in all new or renovated classrooms.
  3. Retrofit older classrooms with additional network drops.
  4. Standardize on one vendor for switching and routing hardware.
  5. Deploy a centralized network monitoring application.
  6. Use remote access, scripting, and automated software installation technologies.
  7. Use fiber optic or wireless broadband links to connect outlying buildings, such as agricultural shops, to each school network.
  8. Identify and eliminate single points of failure on the network, or maintain backup equipment.
  9. Work with division's Maintenance Department to provide air conditioning in computer labs to prolong life of equipment.
  10. Create fixed or mobile computer labs to lower the ratio of students to computers to at least 5:1.
  11. Provide at least five networked computers in each media center.
  12. Use filtering software and Acceptable Use Policy to prevent access to inappropriate Web sites.
  13. Use filtering software and Acceptable Use Policy to prevent access to sites that expose the school division's network to harm or expose the school division to liability for illegal activities, such as peer-to-peer music sharing.
  14. Work with neighboring school divisions to provide specialized training for support staff on network operating systems, security, hardware, filtering, and other issues.

Educational Applications

Goals

  1. Improve teaching and learning through the appropriate use of network-accessible educational applications.
  2. Promote and develop Web-based applications, services, and resources.
  3. Offer digital learning opportunities for staff and students.

Objectives

  1. Develop a set of criteria for evaluating and adopting a standardized suite of educational applications, giving priority to Web-based applications.
  2. Identify and roll out educational applications that support the Virginia Standards of Learning.
  3. Give priority to applications that promote a constructivist approach to learning.
  4. Use Web-based applications, such as discussion boards and learning management systems, to supplement regular classroom instruction.

Strategies

  1. Train a group of teachers and administrators to evaluate educational software. This group will form a district-wide educational software adoption committee.
  2. Train administrators and teachers in the use of Web-based diagnostic and review applications, such as ARDT, ePAT, EIMS, and Princeton Review.
  3. Provide ongoing professional development to maximize usage of the educational applications already adopted by the division.
  4. Train at least five teachers and administrators to develop and facilitate online professional development workshops and courses.
  5. Offer online professional development workshops to all teachers.
  6. Work with educators in Region 7 to develop a library of online professional develop workshops for teachers and administrators.
  7. Work with educators in Region 7 to develop a Web-based database of lesson plans, searchable by keyword, subject, grade level, and SOL.
  8. Develop a library of educational applications that can be used with interactive whiteboards. (2009-2010 Extension)

Accountability

Goals

  1. Assess the value that information technology (IT) adds to teaching and learning.
  2. Assess information technology literacy among staff and students.
  3. Ensure that the Smyth County Technology Plan is consistent with the Virginia Technology Plan.

Objectives

  1. Identify elements of technology integration that benefit teaching and learning.
  2. Identify elements of technology integration that hamper teaching and learning.
  3. All students display a level of technology literacy appropriate to their age and abilities.
  4. All teachers, administrators, and support staff display a level of technology literacy appropriate to their assignments.
  5. Evaluate the Smyth County Technology Plan each year to ensure its consistency with the Virginia Technology Plan and the school division's overall mission.
  6. Update the Smyth County Technology Plan each year to reflect progress toward goals and objectives.

Strategies

  1. Director of Technology will meet at least once each school year with representatives of each school (principal, lead technology teacher, selected teachers) to discuss and evaluate that school's specific technology integration initiatives.
  2. The Director of Technology and the division's Technology Advisory Committee will prepare an annual report to the School Board, detailing the benefits of specific technology integration initiatives, the progress made toward achieving the Technology Plan's goals and objectives, and recommendations for Technology Plan updates.
  3. Review the division Technology Plan each year to ensure its consistency with the Virginia Technology Plan.
  4. Train administrators to recognize effective and ineffective integration of technology during classroom observations.
  5. Revise technology curriculum at all grade levels, to ensure that up-to-date technology skills and best practices are being modeled and taught.

Administrative Services

Goals

  1. Administrators and teachers will have access to technologies that provide for the maintenance, reporting, communication, and analysis of student and administrative data.
  2. Schools will use technology to help maintain a safe and secure learning environment. (2009-2010 Extension)

Objectives

  1. Provide administrators and teachers with training on the use of spreadsheets, databases, and other computerized data analysis tools.
  2. Provide administrators and teachers with access to assessment results and other data that will enable them to make informed decisions regarding student learning.
  3. Provide administrators with training and software to more efficiently manage financial information, inventory, and other division assets.
  4. Identify appropriate technologies to support a safe and secure learning environment. (2009-2010 Extension)

Strategies

  1. Adopt and maintain a comprehensive, standardized software package to support student and administrative data management, analysis, and reporting.
  2. Provide ongoing training for administrative, teaching, and clerical staff in the use of student and administrative data management software and productivity software.
  3. Develop or adopt a database for storing and analyzing student assessment data, including standardized test results.
  4. Consolidate all payroll services at central office by end of 2004-2005 school year.
  5. Use cell phones, school Web pages, intranets, and automated calling systems to improve communications capabilities among administrators, teachers, students, and the public.
  6. Equip schools with security cameras, digital video recorders, and access control systems and train administrators, staff, and teachers how to use this equipment. (2009-2010 Extension)

Current Technology Budget

2009-2010 Expenditures

Personnel Costs $696,628
Travel $7,332
Maintenance Contracts and Other Purchased Services $41,793
Software Licenses, Materials & Supplies $52,679
New and Replacement Hardware $591,733
Telecommunications (Network Connectivity & Internet Access) Costs $170,152
Totals: $1,560,317

Appendices

Glossary of Technology Terms

Smyth County Internet Safety/Technology Usage Policy