Six-Year Technology Plan for Smyth County Schools

2010-2011 Through 2015-2016

With 2016-2018 Addendum

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

Table of Contents

Vision | Mission | Overview | Evaluation | Duration & Implementation Responsibility | Collaborations & Partners | Goals, Objectives, & Strategies | Fiscal Analysis | Appendices

Students using light pens to manipulate projected image of three-dimensional solid.

Vision

The vision of Smyth County Schools is to prepare students to be responsible global citizens by creating a supportive and challenging educational environment.

Mission

The mission of Smyth County Schools is to ensure a quality education so that students succeed to their maximum potential. This will be achieved through the collective effort of students, staff, families, and community.

Overview

The Six-Year Technology Plan for Smyth County Schools maps the path we will follow to use technology to improve teaching and learning. Our Technology Plan follows the five focus areas identified in the Educational Technology Plan for Virginia: 2009-15.

The Six-Year Technology Plan for Smyth County Schools for 2010-2016 was developed by the school division's Technology Advisory Committee, which consists of teachers, administrators, students, and members of the public. The Technology Advisory Committee developed the plan during face-to-face meetings and by using a wiki-based collaborative tool. After the Technology Advisory Committee developed the final draft of the plan, it was made available to the entire school system and the public on the School Board's website, along with an online form that reviewers could use to submit comments or questions. After responding to all the online comments and suggestons, the Technology Advisory Committee presented the final draft of the plan to the School Board for consideration at its May 2010 board meeting. The Board adopted the plan at that meeting.

The two-year 2016-2018 Addendum to the Technology Plan was developed in the fall of 2015 with additional input from the various stakeholders identified in the 2010-2016 Plan. The addendum is incorporated into the current plan and can be identified by its bold typeface and different background, as seen in this paragraph.

Evaluation

Each of the five focus areas in our technology plan includes a series of specific evaluation measures that will enable us to chart the progress we are making toward meeting both statewide and local priorities. In addition, we will deliver a Technology Implementation and Progress Survey in the spring of each year to administrators, staff, students, parents, and other stakeholders. The survey will provide us with data on the implementation of specific technology initiatives, and give stakeholders a method of providing feedback and suggestions regarding technology implementation. The Technology Advisory Committee will use the results of this survey, along with the focus area evaluation measures, to evaluate our progress and prioritize the coming year's technology initiatives.

Duration & Implementation Responsibility

This plan covers the period from 2010-2016. Each year we will add a set of Action Items to track our progress toward meeting the goals of the Technology Plan.

2010-2011 | 2011-2012 | 2012-2013 | 2013-2014 | 2014-2015 | 2015-2016

2010-2011
Action Items Implementation Responsibility Status
Evaluate feasibility of using netbooks or other mobile computing devices in place of traditional laptops or desktops. Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Instruction Department, IT Department Complete. (Determined that netbooks offer limited usefulness. They are not suited for SOL testing at the elementary level due to small display size.)
Continue classroom and computer lab replacement cycles. IT Department Complete.
Explore possibility of using Google Gmail or other hosted email service as replacement for in-house email system. IT Department Complete. Completed transition to Google Apps during 2010-2011 school year.
Deploy Google Apps Education Edition. IT Department, individual schools Complete.
Upgrade networks at elementary schools to provide additional connectivity for instructional software. IT Department Complete. Upgraded networks at Rich Valley Elementary School and Sugar Grove Combined School from T1 circuits to multi-megabits/second fiber connections. Added wireless LAN to Saltville Elementary School.
Upgrade wide area connections to schools in Rich Valley and Sugar Grove. IT Department Complete.
Adopt paperless solution for board meetings (BoardDocs LT) Division Superintendent, School Board members, Director of Technology, Administrative Assistant to Superintendent Complete.
Develop method of tracking K-3 student mastery of reading and mathematics SOLs in PowerSchool student information system Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Director of Technology, individual schools. Complete.
2011-2012
Action Items Implementation Responsibility Status
Deploy virtualized server array and Storage Area Network (SAN). IT Department Complete
Upgrade student information system to PowerSchool 7.0. IT Department Complete
Upgrade personnel database capabilities to support Master Schedule Collection requirements. Director of Personnel, Director of Technology Complete
Develop and deploy data warehouse to support Longitudinal Data System. Data warehousing project team Complete
Deploy CanDo database for tracking student mastery of Career & Technical Education competencies. Director of Technology, Director of Career & Technical Education, CTE teachers Complete
Deploy projectors and document cameras in approximately 50 percent of all classrooms. IT Department, Maintenance Department Complete.
Increase Wide Area Network bandwidth from minimum of 5Mbps (megabits/second) to minimum of 10Mbps at all schools. IT Department Complete
Expand wireless Local Area Networks. IT Department Complete at Atkins Elementary, Chilhowie Elementary, Chilhowie High, Marion Middle, Marion Senior High, Rich Valley Elementary, and Saltville Elementary
Deploy two additional H.323 distance learning classrooms (Chilhowie High School, Northwood High School). IT Department, Maintenance Department Complete
Continue classroom and computer lab replacement cycles. IT Department Complete
2012-2013
Action Items Implementation Responsibility Status
Deploy off-site backup array for data center, virtual servers, and Storage Area Network (SAN). IT Department Complete
Deploy data warehouse to support Longitudinal Data System. Data warehousing project team, third-party vendor (Interactive Achievement) Completed through adoption of TRACbook system.
Identify instructional technology equipment and professional development needs. Technology Vision group In progress. ITRTs developed and delivered several professional development workshops during 2011-2012 and will continue those efforts in 2012-2013. IT Department set up a Moodle server in spring 2012 and is working with various Central Office staff to create self-paced professional development courses for our staff.
Increase Internet bandwidth to minimum of 10 megabits/second at all schools. IT Department Complete
Increase Internet bandwidth to 100 megabits/second. IT Department Complete
Expand wireless Local Area Networks to Chilhowie Middle, Marion Primary, Northwood High, Northwood Middle, and Smyth Career & Technology Center. IT Department Complete
Continue classroom and computer lab replacement cycles. IT Department Complete
Install LAN cabling and other infrastructure in Smyth County new and renovated elementary schools. IT Department, Construction Projector Manager, third-party contractors Complete.
Upgrade and consolidate three existing VOIP phone systems into a single hosted VOIP solution. IT Department, third-party vendor Complete
Deploy web-based teacher evaluation software. IT Department, Central Office staff, School staff Complete
Use Moodle to deliver supplementary web-based content for some classes. IT Department, teachers Complete
Convert curriculum maps to Web-based delivery, using Moodle. IT Department, teachers Complete
Collaborate with other school divisions in our region to deliver a regional technology training event (Tech Splash 2012). ITRTs, personnel from other school divisions and UVa-Wise Complete
2013-2014
Action Items Implementation Responsibility Status
Install and configure network infrastructure, computer labs, and other instructional/administrative technology in new Oak Point Elementary School prior to its opening in August 2013. IT Department Complete
Install and configure network infrastructure, computer labs, and other instructional/administrative technology in renovated Marion Elementary School prior to its opening in August 2013. IT Department Complete
Develop a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy. Director of Operations and Finance, Director of Technology, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, building principals and teachers Complete
Collaborate with other school divisions in our region to deliver a regional technology training event (Tech Splash 2013). ITRTs, personnel from other school divisions and UVa-Wise Complete
Identify effective mobile learning apps for iPads and other devices, and provide professional development to instructional staff on their usage. Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Director of Technology, ITRTs, classroom teachers Complete
Update high school technology curriculum (Computer Applications, Advanced Computer Applications, Multimedia and Advanced Web Technologies courses) by incorporating instructional resources from Microsoft IT Academy and other sources. Encourage students in these courses to take Microsoft Office Specialist and other technology certification assessments. Director of Curriculum and Instruction, CTE Coordinator, Director of Technology, CTE teachers Complete
Identify opportunities to improve student/staff safety and security through the enhanced use of technology, both at school and on the bus. Develop a plan to fund and implement the identified opportunities. Director of Pupil Personnel Services, Director of Transportation, Director of Operations and Finance, Director of Technology, Building Principals Complete
Provide professional development workshop in summer of 2013 for teachers of distance learning courses. Southwest Virginia Education & Training Network (SVETN), Director of Technology Complete
Identify digital learning resources, mobile device alternatives, and network infrastructure upgrades required to support a one-to-one initiative for high school students, in anticipation of applying for an e-Learning Backpack Initiative Grant. Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Director of Technology, ITRTs, building principal and classroom teachers Complete
Improve instructional data warehouse (TRACbook) by updating data every 24 hours and providing additional professional development to end users. Director of Technology, ITRTs, data warehouse partner (Interactive Achievement) Complete
Increase the use of Student Performance by Question (SPBQ) data by developing software to present this data in a more user-friendly fashion to principals and teachers. Director of Technology, building principals and teachers Complete
Reduce time to deploy new software applications and updates. Director of Technology, IT Department staff Complete (deployed Specops management software)
Reduce energy costs by deploying more energy-efficient computers and other technology equipment. Director of Operations and Finance, Director of Technology, IT Department staff Complete (deployed and tested one lab of Xi3 energy-efficient computers at Oak Point Elementary School)
2014-2015
Action Items Implementation Responsibility Status
Begin 1:1 initiative at Northwood High School using eLearning Backpack Initiative funds. IT Department, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, Northwood High faculty and staff Complete
Continue transition to all IP-based security camera systems. IT Department Complete at Chilhowie High, Marion Elementary, Oak Point Elementary, and Saltville Elementary. Will do 2-3 additional schools based on available funds.
Identify tablet- and Chromebook-compatible alternatives to Java-based instructional software and provide professional development to faculty on use. IT Department, Central Office and school-based instructional staff Complete
Replace network infrastructure at Saltville Elementary School. IT Department Complete
Procure and configure dedicated Internet circuit for interconnected VOIP phone system in order to improve call quality. IT Department Increased overall Internet bandwidth instead of procuring dedicated VOIP circuit.
Increase Internet bandwidth from 100 to 150 megabits/second to accommodate increased network traffic. IT Department Increased bandwidth to 200 megabits/second
Explore methods of making youtube educational videos, such as those used by Khan Academy, available to students without opening up entire youtube.com site to students. IT Department Complete
Pilot a Chromebook-based cart at one or more elementary schools. IT Department Complete
2015-2016
Action Items Implementation Responsibility Status
Continue 1:1 initiative at Northwood High School using eLearning Backpack Initiative funds. IT Department, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, Northwood High faculty and staff Complete
Continue transition to all IP-based security camera systems. IT Department Completed Northwood High School and Atkins Elementary School.
Upgrade network infrastructure at all schools to switches with 1Gb speed to all endpoints and 10Gb backbone between switches. IT Department Received E-Rate Category 2 funding. Project is underway.
Have a pilot test group complete Google Educator Fundamentals and Advanced Training courses, to evaluate possibility of offering this training to all teachers. Director of Curriculum and Instruction, ITRTs, Director of Technology, Pilot Group In progress
Deploy additional wireless access points toward goal of achieving 1.2:1 WAP-to-classroom ratio. IT Department Received E-Rate Category 2 funding for 158 additional 802.11ac access points. Deployment is in progress.

Collaborations & Partners

Smyth County Schools rely on and are happy to participate in regional cooperative efforts to further instructional goals. These include:

Goals, Objectives, & Strategies

Our goals, objectives, and strategies are grouped into five categories derived from the 2009-2015 Educational Technology Plan for Virginia.

Appropriately and Adequately Designed Environment

Schools need to consider physical and virtual environments in new and innovative ways to support learning activities.

—Educational Technology Plan for Virginia: 2009-2015

Goals

  1. Provide a safe, flexible, and effective learning environment for all students.

Objectives

  1. Deliver appropriate and challenging curricula through real, blended, and virtual learning environments.
  2. Provide the technical and human infrastructure necessary to support real, blended, and virtual learning environments.
  3. Provide high-quality professional development to help educators create, maintain, and work in a variety of learner-centered environments.

Strategies

  1. Make students and staff aware of distance learning courses offered through the A. Linwood Holton Governor's School, Virtual Virginia, SVETN's Elite Learning program, and other online educational organizations.
  2. Provide support for staff who work in distance learning settings by providing them with adequate professional development, support, and equipment.
  3. Determine if the Wide Area Network (WAN) and Local Area Network (LAN) bandwidth of each school are adequate to support the school's instructional program and administrative needs.
  4. Determine if wireless LAN is a suitable solution for each school's instructional and administrative needs.
  5. Provide web-based content and collaborative tools to supplement face-to-face instruction.
  6. Evaluate tools that encourage collaboration, such as wikis, the Moodle learning management system, Google Apps, and social networking software.
  7. Provide opportunities and incentives for staff to master ISTE's NETS (National Educational Technology Standards) for teachers and administrators.
  8. Provide opportunities and incentives for staff to master subsets of ISTE's NETS (National Educational Technology Standards) for teachers and administrators. Because full NETS·T and NETS·A certification requires a considerable investment of time, more teachers are likely to master a subset of the standards identified by their school.
  9. Obtain a list of websites, software, and other resources used in Virtual Virginia, SVETN Elite Learning, and other distance learning courses. Ensure that these resources are tested and available for use prior to the courses' start dates.
  10. Equip schools with security cameras, digital video recorders, and access control systems and train administrators, staff, and teachers how to use this equipment.
  11. Perform an annual network penetration/security assessment.
  12. Adopt a computer password policy that mandates strong passwords and appropriate password security measures.
  13. Encrypt sensitive information that is sent by email.
  14. Identify critical network components and points of failure and provide redundancy or next-day maintenance contracts to limit downtime caused by network equipment failures.
  15. Use cell phones, school Web pages, intranets, and other notification methods to improve communications capabilities among administrators, teachers, students, parents, and the public.
  16. Maintain and expand the centralized Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) phone system.
  17. Expand our Internet bandwidth to a minimum of 1 Gbps by July 1, 2017; or achieve SETDA bandwidth goals by 2017-2018 (approximately 5 Gbps).
  18. Expand WAN bandwidth to all schools to a minimum of 100 Mbps by July 1, 2017.
  19. Attain the state-recommended goal of 1.2 wireless access points per classroom, with all access points being capable of at least 802.11ac connectivity.
  20. Upgrade all network switches to 1Gbps to end user devices, with 10 Gbps backbone.
  21. Continue to equip schools with IP-based security cameras and recording devices.
  22. Replacing aging video-conference equipment used for sharing classes between Chilhowie and Northwood High Schools with Google Hangouts system.

Needs Assessment

Evaluation Measures

Stimulating Engagement

Educators must employ multiple ways to engage students in learning through technology. This engagement should reflect student learning styles, cultural backgrounds, and personal interests.

—Educational Technology Plan for Virginia: 2009-2015

Goals

  1. Engage students in meaningful curricular content through the purposeful and effective use of technology.

Objectives

  1. Support innovative professional development practices that promote strategic growth for all educators and collaboration with other educators, content experts, and students.
  2. Identify and promote practices that use technology to increase student engagement.
  3. Actualize the ability of technology to individualize learning and provide equitable opportunities for all learners.
  4. Facilitate the implementation of high-quality Internet safety programs in schools.

Strategies

  1. Collaborate with regional consortia such as the Southwest Virginia Public Education Consortium and the Southwest Virginia Education & Training Network to provide regional professional development workshops on technology integration. Explore the possibility of delivering these workshops through distance learning channels, such as web-based workshops or SVETN's H.323 network.
  2. Provide teachers with opportunities and incentives to use web-based collaboration tools, such as wikis and Google Apps, to develop instructional content and planning materials such as curriculum maps.
  3. Develop and publish a collection of technology integration best practices that increase student engagement, such as libraries of online images and videos, "PowerPoint Jeopardy," interactive whiteboards, and digital storytelling. Provide professional development workshops on these practices.
  4. Provide tools that enable students to collaborate online. For example, allow students to respond to discussion questions by using a web-based discussion board.
  5. Weigh the pros and cons of using social networking tools to supplement instruction.
  6. Identify and disseminate best practices and resources to promote the integration of Internet safety and security throughout the curricula.
  7. Explore the use of gaming to increase student engagement.
  8. Use Google Hangouts to make live instruction available to students who are absent from class, and for virtual field trips and special guest speakers.
  9. Expand blended instructional offerings through Google Classroom.
  10. Encourage schools to participate in the annual Hour of Code to expose more students to careers in computer science and to develop students' problem solving skills.
  11. Evaluate the effectiveness of Google's Professional Development for Educators offerings by having a focus group of teachers complete the Google Educator Fundamentals and Advanced Training courses. If feedback is positive, make that training available to all teachers, with opportunities to earn professional development recertification points and become Google Certified Educators.

Needs Assessment

Evaluation Measures

Note: Due to the strong similarities between the following two focus areas, the Strategies and Needs Assessment for them were combined.

Purposeful Application of Tools for Learning

Students need to understand the proper application of technology tools, i.e., choosing and applying the most appropriate technology for communicating and problem solving and to be creative and innovative.

—Educational Technology Plan for Virginia: 2009-2015

Goals

  1. Provide students with opportunities to apply technology effectively to gain knowledge, develop skills, and create and distribute artifacts that reflect their understandings.

Objectives

  1. Provide and support professional development that increases the capacity of teachers to design and facilitate meaningful learning experiences, thereby encouraging students to create, solve problems, communicate, collaborate, and use real-world skills by applying technology purposefully.
  2. Ensure that students, teachers, and administrators are ICT (Information and Communications Technologies) literate.
  3. Implement technology-based formative assessments that produce further growth in content knowledge and skills development.

Use of Authentic Technology Tools to Extend Learning Capabilities

Students should not use technology tools just to replicate paper-and-pencil activities. Tools should extend student capabilities to perform functions that would be difficult, if not impossible, without technology. Tools should be authentic; that is, tools that students will encounter in the nonschool environment.

—Educational Technology Plan for Virginia: 2009-2015

Goals

  1. Provide students with access to authentic and appropriate tools to gain knowledge, develop skills, extend capabilities, and create and disseminate artifacts that demonstrate their understandings.

Objectives

  1. Provide resources and support to ensure that every student has access to a personal computing device.
  2. Provide technical and pedagogical support to ensure that students, teachers, and administrators can effectively access and use technology tools.
  3. Identify and disseminate information and resources that assist educators in selecting authentic and appropriate tools for all grade levels and curricular areas.

Strategies

Note: These strategies and the accompanying needs assessment cover Focus Areas 3 and 4.

  1. Charge Smyth County Schools' Technology Advisory Committee with the task of creating a document that defines ICT literacy. ICT literacy is a moving target, so the committee will revisit its document at least once a year. The committee will use the ISTE National Educational Technology Standards, the Virginia Computer/Technology Standards of Learning, and the experiences of its own members as the basis for its definition.
  2. Identify the level of ICT literacy among administrators, teachers, and students.
  3. Close the "ICT Gap" by providing professional development opportunities for teachers and administrators and instructional opportunities for students.
  4. Have students use appropriate technology tools in elementary school and integrate that process into the rest of the curriculum, by reviewing curriculum maps to identify opportunities for technology integration. (Example: introduce elementary students to spreadsheet concepts by having them use spreadsheets to solve math word problems.)
  5. Explore methods of introducing students to computational thinking, which draws on concepts from computer science, education, sociology, and psychology to improve education.
    Computational thinking is a way of solving problems, designing systems, and understanding human behavior that draws on concepts fundamental to computer science. To flourish in today's world, computational thinking has to be a fundamental part of the way people think and understand the world. Computational thinking means creating and making use of different levels of abstraction, to understand and solve problems more effectively. Computational thinking means thinking algorithmically and with the ability to apply mathematical concepts such as induction to develop more efficient, fair, and secure solutions. Computational thinking means understanding the consequences of scale, not only for reasons of efficiency but also for economic and social reasons.

    —Carnegie Mellon University's Center for Computational Thinking

  6. Encourage teachers and students to expand their concept of how traditional learning opportunities such as science projects and research papers are created and delivered. For example, students could submit a science project as a web mashup instead of the traditional trifold cardboard panel.
  7. Use tools such as iStation, Interactive Achievement, and classroom response systems to provide technology-based formative and summative assessments.
  8. Provide professional development for administrators and teachers on how to use technology to analyze assessment data.
  9. Marion Senior High School students installing Linux on Beowulf cluster

    In Smyth County Schools, club-based activities have provided students with the opportunity to tackle real-world problems with authentic technology tools. For example, members of the Marion Senior High School S.A.V.E Club developed a digital signage project for their school employing the Raspberry Pi computer and a custom web page. They are pictured here working on another project: repurposing some surplus computers as a Beowulf cluster that will run the Hadoop "big data" processing software.

  10. Provide opportunities for students to learn and apply ICT skills in local and community settings using a variety of authentic tools, for example:
    • Developing partnerships between schools and community organizations in which students learn the importance of ICT skills to local organizations and progress to the point of providing ICT services, such as print/web design or database development, to community groups and organizations
    • Fielding teams in the regional SkillsUSA ICT competitions (3D Visualization & Design, Web Design, Internetworking)
  11. Identify and disseminate information about new and emerging technologies.
  12. Design and implement pilot projects to evaluate a variety of personal computing devices and software, including open-source software.
  13. Encourage teachers to help students gain knowledge, develop their skills, extend their capabilities, and create and disseminate artifacts that demonstrate their understandings through the use of project-based learning.
  14. Encourage teachers to model ICT skills for students.
  15. Promote club-based and other informal activities such as the annual Smyth County Schools Coding Challenge to encourage more students to consider STEM careers and to develop their critical thinking and problem solving skills.
  16. Encourage teachers to provide more project-based learning opportunities for students.
  17. Expand 1:1 Chromebook initiative to all high school students.
  18. Evaluate possibility of expanding 1:1 initiative to middle school students.
  19. Provide ongoing professional development to high school and middle school teachers best instructional technology practices utilizing Chromebooks. Topics include Google Apps for Education, Google Classroom, and subject-specific Chrome apps, such as Geogebra, and BioDigital Human.
  20. Redeploy surplus computers as school or classroom-based WordPress servers. These servers will enable students to publish web-based multimedia projects, using the same software that drives thousands of public web servers (Linux OS, Apache web server, MySQL relational database, PHP programming language, and WordPress content management system).
  21. Identify students in middle and high schools who are interested in technology careers and enable them to earn classroom credit by administering the WordPress servers.
  22. Obtain funding from Google RISE program or other sources to implement annual summer computer science camps. In these camps, students will be able to experience coding, microcontroller programming using Arduino kits, and 3D design and printing. One focus of the camps will be to attract more girls and minorities into computer science.

Needs Assessment

Evaluation Measures

Authentic and Intelligent Assessments

Results are not just a matter of meeting accountability requirements but using data, including real-time assessments, to inform instruction. Teachers addressing 21st century skills and knowledge must employ intelligent assessments.

—Educational Technology Plan for Virginia: 2009-2015

Goals

  1. Use technology to support a culture of data-driven decision making that relies upon data to assess and improve teaching and learning.

Objectives

  1. Use data to inform and adjust technical, pedagogical, and financial support.
  2. Provide support to help teachers disaggregate, interpret, and use data to plan, improve, and differentiate instruction.
  3. Promote the use of technology to inform the design and implementation of next-generation standardized assessments.

Strategies

  1. Use online assessment tools, such as Interactive Achievement and iStation for formative assessments.
  2. Use Classroom Response Systems ("clickers") and other tools that provide teachers with real-time feedback on student understanding.
  3. Load SOL assessment data–both overall scaled scores and reporting category scores–for all grades into the student information system, so that teachers can view their students' performance on past assessments.
  4. Develop methods to make all the data available from student assessments available to teachers and administrators in user-friendly formats.
  5. Provide students with opportunities to demonstrate their knowledge and skills by creating digital content; for example, using WordPress to publish or collaborate on papers, or Google Fusion Tables to visualize geographic data.

Needs Assessment

Evaluation Measures

Current Technology Budget

2015-2016 Expenditures

Personnel Costs (Salary and Fringe Benefits for IT Department Staff and ITRTs) $642,234
Travel $7,332
Professional Development $19,400
Software Licenses, Materials & Supplies $75,800
New and Replacement Hardware $458,800
Telecommunications (Network Connectivity & Internet Access) Costs $140,909

Appendices

Glossary of Technology Terms

Smyth County Internet Safety/Technology Usage Policy