15, 261

The Covington News - - LOCAL - DUANE M. FORD dford@cov­news.com

Num­ber of com­puter de­vices that the New­ton County School Sys­tem cur­rently has.

Ac­cord­ing to Adam Phyall, New­ton County School Sys­tem’s (NCSS’s) di­rec­tor of tech­nol­ogy and me­dia ser­vices, 60 per­cent of NCSS’s 15,261 com­puter de­vices are more than four-years old. He pre­sented this fact as well as a fiveyear com­puter re­place­ment and tech­nol­ogy en­hance­ment plan NCSS Board of Ed­u­ca­tion (BOE) at its Aug. 16 meet­ing.

Re­gard­ing com­puter tech­nol­ogy to sup­port learn­ing, Phyall re­ported that NCSS has four goals. These are 1) to use the best in­struc­tional prac­tices with tech­nol­ogy, 2) to know what tech­nol­ogy tools are avail­able and how to use them, 3) to use tech­nol­ogy to im­prove com­mu­ni­ca­tion and 4) to en­sure tech­nol­ogy is avail­able and that it works as ad­ver­tised.

Phyall high­lighted sev­eral strengths of the NCSS’s cur­rent tech­nol­ogy en­vi­ron­ment.

“We have the largest de­ploy­ment of VIEW­path cam­era sys­tems in the coun­try,” Phyall said. The NCSS has 1,366 class­rooms fit­ted with this sys­tem. It al­lows teach­ers to make a video record­ing of class­room ac­tiv­ity for later re­view.

NCSS also has 1,072 in­ter­ac­tive white­boards with pro­jec­tors as well as 194 in­ter­ac­tive pro­jec­tors. With nearly 2,000 wire­less ac­cess points spread around the Sys­tem’s build­ings, ev­ery stu­dent and ev­ery class­room can con­nect to the in­ter­net wire­lessly. Fi­nally, the Sys­tem has up­graded its phone sys­tem.

To ad­dress the prob­lem of an­ti­quated com­put­ers, Phyall out­lined and pro­posed a five-year plan aimed at the fol­low­ing re­sults: one up-to-date lap­top com­puter for ev- ery teacher; enough shared mo­bile de­vices to es­tab­lish and main­tain a 1:2 de­vice to stu­dent ra­tio through­out the NCSS; and ro­bust op­por­tu­nity for stu­dents to bring and use their own de­vices. If adopted old com­put­ers would be phased out and re­placed over five years with 11,050 lap­tops and 368 shared carts. The use of cur­rent com­puter labs would be re­viewed and these would be elim­i­nated or en­hanced as needed to sup­port in­struc­tion.

The cost to fully im­ple­ment the pro­posed plan is es­ti­mated to be $757,150 this aca­demic year and about $1.3 mil­lion each year for the next four years. Over the next four years, two in­struc­tional tech­nol­ogy spe­cial­ists, one op­er­a­tional tech­nol­ogy co­or­di­na­tor and one net­work tech­ni­cian would need to be hired.

Phyall closed by stat­ing that while tech­nol­ogy is not a “sil­ver bul­let” or a guar­an­tee of higher stu­dent achieve­ment, there is a lot of re­search in­di­cat­ing that tech­nol­ogy re­sults in a more en­gaged class­room, a more rig­or­ous class­room and higher at­ten­dance rates.

In other ac­tion, the BOE rec­og­nized AP Schol­ars from East­side High School and New­ton Col­lege and Ca­reer Academy; ac­cepted fed­eral 21st Cen­tury Com­mu­nity Learn­ing Cen­ter Pro­gram grant funds; re­newed a con­tract for af­ter-school pro­grams at the Wash­ing­ton Street Com­mu­nity Cen­ter; ap­proved pur­chase of Fast­bridge Learn­ing soft­ware to sup­port stu­dent as­sess­ment needs and doc­u­men­ta­tion at a cost of $84,000; ap­proved a li­brary and as­set management soft­ware agree­ment with Fol­lett School So­lu­tions (cost­ing $29,425); re­newed a con­tract with In­fin­ity Net­work So­lu­tions for main­te­nance of Aero­hive wire­less ac­cess points ($109,270) and Cicso infrastructure equip­ment ($349,972); ap­proved the dis­posal of sur­plus property; ap­proved a re­quest from the New Rock Bears Foot­ball & Cheer­lead­ing As­so­ci­a­tion for use of fields at New­ton High School for youth foot­ball prac­tice and games; adopted a train­ing plan for BOE mem­bers; and ap­proved a res­o­lu­tion sup­port­ing the “Ge­or­gia Vi­sion Project for Pub­lic Ed­u­ca­tion,” a project of the Ge­or­gia School Su­per­in­ten­dents As­so­ci­a­tion and the Ge­or­gia School Boards As­so­ci­a­tion aimed at im­prov­ing pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion.

Fi­nally, the BOE hired seven new teach­ers, 10 para­pro­fes­sion­als, two school nurses and three staff mem­bers as well as ap­proved four res­ig­na­tions, one sep­a­ra­tion, and one ter­mi­na­tion.

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