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Part 1 Introduction The Technology Plan updated in this paper was derived from the Cobb County School District located in northwest Atlanta, Georgia. It’s a suburban school district with 127 schools and administration sites. Cobb County’s Technology Plan is linked from their district website under the Instructional Technology Section. http://www.cobbk12.org/centraloffice/InstructionalTechnology/TechPlan/2009_2012%20 CCSD%20District%20Technology%20Plan.pdf
Strengths and Weaknesses Cobb County’s Technology Plan has many strong components within the plan. However, there are some notable weaknesses that when corrected will create a wellorganized plan that does not lack any necessary components according to Dr. Paul Allen’s Analysis Rubric. Positive aspects of Cobb County’s technology plan are well-detailed vision statements for students, teachers and administrators. After reading the vision statements for Cobb County’s technology plan readers realize the importance of technology use in the county for students, teachers and the administration. Cobb County’s technology goals are far reaching within the community. Eight goals are written in the technology plan. The goals encompass strategies for instruction, students, administrators, Internet safety, parents and the community. One of Cobb County’s existing sections of the current plan organizes data concerning current technology use in the county. The “Current Reality” section is extremely through. The plan provides a wealth of detailed of information
regarding many aspects of technology. Information ranges from access to technology, teacher readiness and willingness to accept technology use in their classrooms, district averages of technology use and other factors that determine the current reality situation. Data includes survey information, charts, tables, and narratives, which provide the reader with a genuine sense of how technology is being used at all levels in the county. By revising some of the weaknesses of Cobb County’s technology plan a more reader friendly version of the plan will exist and some essential components of a well thought out technology plan will be included. By adding an Executive Summary including a table of contents at the beginning of the document information will be much easier to find. An accurate, up to date timeline with corresponding projects, budgets and goals will improve the plan. A clear plan for improving staff development and how it relates to the overall vision statement is also lacking in the plan. Other essential information missing from the technology plan is a Technology and Learning Statement that summarizes how technology is used in instruction, conclusions about the plan and recommendations are also lacking. Despite an overall impressive technology plan,
Cobb County could improve the effectiveness of the plan while providing some vital information regarding their technology plan.
Changes Dr. Paul Allen’s Components of Technology Analysis Rubric recommends the following changes that should be made to the Cobb County Technology Plan.
I. Executive Summary A. Problem- Cobb County’s Technology Plan lacked an Executive Summary. Many of the components of an Executive Summary such as the vision and mission statements for the plan were included at the beginning of the document but an official Executive summary as well as other essential information were not included. B. Changes-The Executive summary will include the vision and mission statements,
goals, objectives, conclusions and recommendations of the technology plan. C. Why Necessary-The changes will make it much more efficient to locate useful
information or to know what critical information is included in the report. Readers can glance over the Executive Summary for information instead of searching the entire document for bits and pieces of information haphazardly. II. Objectives A. Problems-No objectives are included in the Cobb County Technology Plan. B. Changes- The added objectives will be measurable, delineated from the goals and
clearly define the steps needed to achieve the goals. C. Why Necessary- Objectives help define success and clarify the specifics of the
vision statement. III. General Issues A. Problems- There is not a specific area in the document for general issues, which include staff development, technical support, technology standards, needs of students with disabilities, etc. Cobb County covers many of the aspects but lacks a general area that makes finding information easy for the reader.
Changes- A section for general issues that are more reader friendly instead of
having to search for general issues presented throughout the document. C. Why Necessary- A general issue section will make the document much more reader friendly. IV. Conclusions and Recommendations A. Problems-In the Gap Analysis portion of the document there are conclusions made from the current usage data. However, steps to be taken to achieve the concerns are missing. B. Changes-When rewriting the plan clear steps for reaching the concerns identified
in the conclusions must be identified. C. Why Necessary- Conclusions identify the most important needs and challenges and recommends the steps needed to achieve the vision statement. V. Technology and Learning Statement A. Problems- Cobb County’s technology plan does not have a technology and learning statement. There are aspects of how technology is currently used in learning but lacks the ways it will be used for instructional purposes in detail. B. Changes- The plan will include a technology and learning statement that
encompasses how technology will enhance the curriculum in detail. C. Why Necessary- This statement gives clarity of how technology is currently used in learning environments and how it will be used to achieve learning outcomes. VI. Staff Development A. Problems- The plan’s staff development section lacked how the plan takes teachers to the appropriate technology levels for successful teaching with technology.
Changes-The plan will describe how teachers and other staff members go from
their current usage of technology to the required level needed to fulfil the technology vision. C. Why Necessary-The County must have a plan in place that allows teachers to advance their technology skills so that they can meet the technology needs of their students and the county’s overall vision for technology use. VII. Projects Budgets and Timelines A. Problems- This technology plan does not have a sufficient timeline in place. Budgets are included in the goal information but an overall timeline of meeting the goals is lacking. It also does not include a prioritized list of major technology projects or tasks. B. Changes-When rewriting this technology plan it should include a clear timeline
labeled with projects to be achieved and appropriate corresponding budgets. C. Why Necessary- The county should have an overall timeline to guide decision making in reference to time and budget issues. Questions can be answered about being on the right track with quick references to timelines and project budgets when they coincide.
Improvements By accommodating the proposed changes, Cobb County’s new updated plan will be more functional, efficient, and informative. Goals, objectives, recommendations and conclusions of the plan will be easily obtainable for the reader. An Executive Summary will give the reader details as to what is included in the report. A timeline will help determine if outcomes are on track with the proposed guidelines set forth in the objectives and goals. Cobb County has high expectations for technology use. By making
their plan more efficient and informative I hope to have the plan coincide with the overall high goals and standards they set forth for their learners.
Part 2 - Update of Cobb County’s Technology Plan Executive Summary (original, added to fit with my evaluation of the tech plan) Cobb County’s technology plan covers pertinent and necessary information regarding technology use in the county for students, teachers, administrators, parents and the community. Basics of the vision, mission, goals, objectives, and conclusions are provided in this Executive Summary. Topics are elaborated on within the technology plan. Mission: (not original material of the Executive Summary) We believe that our primary purpose is to prepare students to succeed in their world. This preparation is not simply a transfer of knowledge, but a formation of essential skills, habits of mind, and character traits that will serve them throughout their lives. Vision: Students will be deeply engaged in quality learning experiences every day, applying higher-order thinking skills to solve authentic problems that are relevant to their lives and technology will serve as a catalyst for these learning experiences. Goals: • Increase student engagement through higher order thinking experiences using digital tools and resources in exploring real world issues and solving authentic problems. • Increase student engagement through learning experiences using digital tools and resources to achieve content standards, explore real world issues and solve authentic problems. • Increase teachers’ use of technology to promote collaboration, to support and clarify conceptual understanding, to provide multiple and varied formative and summative assessments, and to differentiate the teaching and learning process. • Increase e-learning (virtual learning) opportunities and access for students at all levels to high quality supplemental or full courses of instruction personalized to student needs. • Students and staff will safely and ethically use the Internet to access educationally appropriate materials and engage in Internet enabled learning activities. • Increase effective administrative uses of technology to monitor and increase student achievement and to manage business operations.
Improve meaningful, multidirectional communication between school, home, and community that consistently supports student learning.
Increase staff competency to implement a variety of online instructional strategies. Reduce the information and technology literacy gap between schools and improve student performance on the technology literacy assessment.
Conclusions • The committee agreed that student engagement in technology use for learning was lacking. Members noted that while students often use technology to achieve a high level of engagement in social activities, the data did not reflect a similar pattern in their learning activities. The data indicated that although technology resources were often available and were often used in the classroom, they were not necessarily used by students and were not necessarily used in a way that enhanced student engagement. • The data also suggested that educational technology was not being used to its full potential in enhancing teachers’ instructional practices. The data suggested that technology could be used much more to implement instructional best practices such as collaboration, balanced assessment, and differentiation. • Although the use of online learning tools has increased, the committee agreed that all teachers are not aware of virtual learning opportunities for students and as a district we have not yet realized the full instructional potential of online and blended learning opportunities. • The committee also agreed that without sustained effort, teachers and students will be less and less able to use the digital resources safely and ethically. As the internet changes and new technologies emerge, existing competencies in these areas will become outdated. In order to prevent a gap in this area, teacher professional development and student learning experiences must address these skills. Recommendations (original) • Schools must set up programs to meet the needs of teachers and students in accessing and learning about technology. Creating an after school Technology Club for students would help not only the students but some of the teachers guide their instruction as to what students know and want to know.
Faculty meetings should encompass a time for teachers to share ideas with each other about technology use in the classroom. Rotating schedules for grade levels to present ideas at meetings should be set up by the administration. By getting excited about using technology in the classroom, fellow teachers may get inspired or at the least gain ideas. Computer Lab teachers should promote the idea of a sharing technology information and ideas on school blogs.
Table of Contents (original, added to fit with my evaluation of the tech plan) Executive Summary-----------------------------------------------------------p. 8-9 Table of Contents--------------------------------------------------------------p. 9-10 Broad Based Support----------------------------------------------------------p. 10 Needs Assessment-------------------------------------------------------------p. 10-23 Mission--------------------------------------------------------------------------p. 24 Vision----------------------------------------------------------------------------p. 24-25 Technology and Learning Statement-----------------------------------------p. 25 Goals and Objectives-----------------------------------------------------------p. 24-32 Action Plan/ Multi-year Planning---------------------------------------------p. 33 Program Evaluation------------------------------------------------------------- p. 33 Curriculum Integration----------------------------------------------------------p. 34 Evaluation-------------------------------------------------------------------------p. 34-37 Conclusions and Recommendations-------------------------------------------p. 38 Standards--------------------------------------------------------------------------p. 39 Funding Alternatives-------------------------------------------------------------p. 40 School Pilot Project/ Educational Research-----------------------------------p. 40-42 Model Classroom Configurations----------------------------------------------p. 43 Facilities---------------------------------------------------------------------------p. 43 Maintenance / Support-----------------------------------------------------------p. 44 Software Agreements------------------------------------------------------------p. 45 Copyright / Acceptable Use Policy---------------------------------------------p. 45-52 Gifts and Disposal----------------------------------------------------------------p. 53 Staff Development----------------------------------------------------------------p. 53-56
Broad-Based Support On October 28 & 29 2008, the technology planning committee met to evaluate the district’s current status with regard to educational technology and to determine what gaps exist between our vision and our current reality. Erika Adams, e-Rate and Documentation Specialist Beverly Addison, Supervisor Professional Learning Abner Breban, Human Resources Technology Analyst
Joseph Crawford, Instructional Technology Project Manager Tanya Ditty, Technology Integration Specialist Diane Hart, Supervisor K-12 Curriculum Margaret Mckenzie, ESOL Consultant Linda Morrell, Director Instructional Technology, Instructional Resources, Library Media Education, Cobb Virtual High Kathy Platt, Supervisor Instructional Technology Chris Ragsdale, Chief Technology Officer Cheryl Rowley, Distance Learning Specialist Melinda Salley, Director Technology Funding and Special Projects Andy Spinks, Supervisor Library Media Education Helen Upshaw, Assistive Technology Coordinator Georganne Young, Principal Durham Middle School
Needs Assessment In February of 2008, the Technology Services department constructed an initial draft and evaluated needs based on existing services that support the current use of educational technology as well as evaluating future needs for technology services to support future initiatives. Current Instructional Uses of Technology The following data sources were used to determine the current instructional uses of technology in CCSD. 1. Levels of Technology Implementation (LoTi) and DETAILS questionnaire 2. GAPSS Teacher Survey Questions 3. GAPSS Observation Items 4. Classroom Observations 5. Parent, Staff, Student SIP Survey Items 6. Eighth grade Technology Literacy Assessment Scores 7. Usage data: SkillsTutor, netTrekker, CVL resources, Blackboard, Atomic Learning, Achievement Series Data is presented in the following pages. 1. Levels of Technology Implementation (LoTi) and DETAILS questionnaire This questionnaire is administered annually and used by the Department of Instructional Technology, Technology Integration Specialists, local school leadership, and teachers to
plan for professional learning. The longitudinal data below indicate that while teachers have experienced an overall increase in skills for using computers for personal and professional activities, there has been no sustained collective increase for implementing technology through effective instructional practices.
The 2007-2008 LoTi questionnaire data below reveal teachers use computers more frequently than students and teachers continue to report the greatest obstacle to further using technology in the instructional setting is time to learn, practice, and plan.
The data below indicate the highest professional development priority area for Cobb County teachers is for using technology for complex thinking projects followed by locating resources and/or assistance to increase existing classroom technology use. The lowest priority is for acquiring proficiency with technology.
2. 2007-2008 GAPSS Teacher Survey Questions Cobb County School District is using the Georgia Assessment of Performance on School Standards (GAPSS) to measure progress toward meeting standards in all schools. The following data reflects a sample of teacher responses to one item on the GAPSS survey related to technology use and observer records of student and teacher technology use during instruction. The data reveals that while teacher perception of effective use of technology to maximize student learning is high observation of technology use during instruction is much lower. With the exception of one school, teacher and student use of technology was observed more frequently in the seven 21st Century Classroom Pilot schools. The pilot schools are equipped with ceiling mounted projectors, interactive white boards, and student response systems.
4. Instructional Technology Program Evaluation Classroom Observations (Unannounced and Announced): As part of the Division of Curriculum and Instruction, the Department of Instructional Technology is required to participate in the five year program evaluation cycle. The following data reflects classroom observations conducted and student survey responses for the department’s 2007-2008 program evaluation data collection. The following observation data show… • When teachers implemented a technology infused lesson students were often highly engaged. • • • technology was embedded within the context of the curriculum. technology was often essential to learning. technology was sometimes used to enable students to engage in problem solving and higher order thinking. • Technology use was evident during unannounced observations and higher percentages of technology use were observed at the elementary and high school levels. Student survey data suggest a high agreement of student comfort in using basic technology tools to complete school related projects and activities.
5. 2008 SIP Survey Data Cobb County School District administers an annual School Improvement Survey. This survey has recently been aligned with GAPSS. The following information reflects responses from teachers, parents, and students aligned to the GAPSS Use of Technology standard. The survey data suggest: • • Students and teachers are comfortable using digital technologies. Teachers need to implement technology enriched projects that involve complex thinking skills. • Overall, parents agree that their student has adequate opportunities to use technology in school. • Middle and high school students need increased opportunities to use technology as a tool for learning
6. Technology Literacy Assessment Data The Technology Literacy Assessment from Learning.Com was selected in 2007 to assess all eight grade students’ level of technology literacy proficiency. Reasons for choosing this assessment are administration within one class period, nationally normed, and inclusion of at least 50% performance based questions. The assessment was administered twice in 2007-08 and once in 2008-09 due to budget constraints. Interventions have been implemented in schools where proficiency levels are low. Results are reported to the GaDOE yearly as required on the Annual School Technology Inventory Survey. The following Technology Literacy Assessment Data reveals: • 64% of CCSD eighth graders are proficient or higher on the Technology Literacy Assessment • 10 of 24 schools fall below the proficiency standard • Schools with lower TLA scores tend to be school with higher levels of free and reduced lunch and diverse student populations
7. Usage Data: Atomic Learning Atomic Learning is a web-based software and curriculum resource on 110 applications that students and educators use daily. Included in the service are thousands of short tutorials that can be used a part of a professional learning course or program, or serve as a just-in-time approach to answer common questions staff have when learning popular software packages. The district provides licenses to all Cobb County employees and their families. Students are not included in the licensing. Usage data suggests that Atomic Learning is being accessed more frequently during the months when professional learning classes and seminars are in session. Many classes have Atomic Learning tutorials embedded in the course work and therefore the increases in usage during those times.
Cobb County School District provides the SkillsTutor program to all middle and high school students. This web based program provides students with access to prescriptive skill and thinking tutorial lessons aligned to GPS. The following information reflects August – December 2008 school usage of SkillsTutor.
Usage data indicates that more middle school students are using SkillsTutor than High School students. Some schools have much higher usage than others. Some schools have very little usage. Usage does not appear to be related to location or SES.
Cobb County School District has purchased our schools/sites an annual subscription to netTrekker for all employees to access. NetTrekker is an Internet search engine that is a safe tool to use for all levels of students (helping CCSD meet CIPA requirements), and it provides resources that have been pre-selected by educators to include relevant search results for our students and teachers. Data reveals a consistent high level of use.
Achievement Series / Performance Series Achievement Series is a powerful web-based district wide assessment solution that allows K-12 educators to develop and administer online and paper-based tests, capture immediate results, and produce standards-based reports. Used for all grade levels and subject areas, this district-wide solution gives administrators and teachers the data they need to monitor student progress and guide instruction. Data reveals a consistent high level of use.
Mission Student/Teacher uses of Technology We believe that our primary purpose is to prepare students to succeed in their world. This preparation is not simply a transfer of knowledge, but a formation of essential skills, habits of mind, and character traits that will serve them throughout their lives. We recognize that technology is the core platform for learning, working, and living in the twenty-first century. To prepare students for this world, we must embrace technology, not incrementally, as a novelty or a supplement to traditional education, but as the foundation for wholly different way of teaching and learning. Technology in the classroom has to change from an add-on to a central part of curriculum and instruction. Administrative Uses of Technology CCSD will use computers, software, network resources, and the Internet for administrative functions to increase efficiency in the support of our employees/schools/students. Implementation of a district academic portal will streamline access to information and enable administrators to easily run queries that allow them to see relationships and make connections not available through current independent information systems. CCSD administrative services provided via the Internet/Intranet will continue to increase. Staff, community, parents, and students will find critical curriculum, assessment, human resource, financial and other information through the online portal. The improvement and centralization of employment and payroll systems will also be essential as it will improve the accuracy and expedite the performance of these crucial support areas. Vision 1. Students will be deeply engaged in quality learning experiences every day, applying higher-order thinking skills to solve authentic problems that are relevant to their lives and technology will serve as a catalyst for these learning experiences. 2. As they learn, students will develop and practice information literacy. They will use technology and critical thinking to efficiently seek out information, critically evaluate the
information they find, and use information effectively to solve problems and generate new knowledge. 3. Students will use an array of district-provided tools to power their learning, including research databases, email, online file storage, and access to rich audio and video digital content. 4. Student learning will be further enhanced through open access to other online communication tools and information resources, including engaging, participatory tools such as wikis, blogs, and social networking. 5. All Cobb students will have equitable access to technology tools and will be technology literate. 6. Students and teachers will use technology to extend learning beyond the classroom and the school day, including consistent, reliable access to learning tools throughout their day—at home, in class, and everywhere in between. 7. Students will learn through collaboration, both with their classmates and with others around the world. 8. Students, teachers, and educational leaders will use technology to assess, monitor, analyze, and report student performance. They will use this data to ensure that each student achieves at the highest possible level and receives the personalized educational services they need to succeed. 9. Students will use online learning opportunities including courses in Cobb Virtual Academy and Georgia Virtual School and through blended learning in classrooms to reach higher levels of achievement than they could in traditional classroom environments. 10. Technology will improve communication between district stakeholders, ensuring that students, parents, teachers, administrators, support personnel, board members, and community members receive targeted information and professional development based on their needs. 11. Teachers will use technology tools to maximize their professional learning. 12. School and district staff will leverage technology to increase student engagement with the outside world while ensuring their emotional and physical safety.
13. Federal funding sources will be maximized to provide professional learning on the integration of technology into curriculum and instruction to improve and support teaching, learning, and technology literacy.
Technology & Learning Statement (original)
Cobb County believes an interactive, innovative technology driven environment is essential for all learners to be productive life long learners in the new digital age in which we live. Our teachers, students and administrators will be given access to technology and the opportunity to use technology to develop the necessary skills and attitudes to flourish in our society.
Goals followed by Objectives (Objectives were “borrowed”)
Objectives were “borrowed” from Calvert County Public Schools located in Prince Fredrick, MD.
Calvert County Public Schools. (2009) Retrieved from Calvert County Public School’s website http://www.calvertnet.k12.md.us/departments/diit/documents/FullTechPlan.pdf
Objectives of Technology Plan
Learning Objective 1: To improve student learning through technology. Targets: • • • • • • Digital content will be available before, during, and after school. Digital content will be integrated into all instruction as appropriate. Students and staff will have expanded access to curricula and support related to local and state standards. All students will have access to instructional resources that incorporate universal design Cobb County Public Schools’ website will provide coordinated access to information and resources. All students will demonstrate mastery of technology literacy.
Actions: • Acquire digital content/applications that are accessible to both students and teachers. • Incorporate digital content into instruction to decrease the dependency on print materials. • Work with teachers to design instruction, which includes digital content and supports the VSC. • Ensure appropriate inclusion of strategies for providing instruction across all content areas regarding cybersecurity, cybersafety and cyberethics. • Explore online opportunities for professional development. • Explore before and after school course options. • Identify and utilize effective practices in implementing digital content that accommodates the diverse learning needs of all students.
Provide assistive technology to students whose Individualized Education Programs and 504 plans recommend or require these devices. Continue to work with departments, staff, students, and the community to define need and adjust the website as necessary. Increase opportunities for library media specialists to collaborate with classroom teachers, other educators, and public libraries to provide authentic learning experiences that develop proficiency in information literacy, communication, and technology literacy skills.
Teaching Objective 2: Improve staff's knowledge and skills to integrate technology into instruction. Targets: • All teachers and library media specialists will meet state-established technology standards. • All administrators at the school and district levels will meet state-established technology standards. • Instructional technology integration specialists will be available to assist with technology support in classrooms. Actions: • • Increase professional development opportunities for teachers and staff in the use of technology. Technology Literacy Standards for Students into professional development programs at the district and school level by following the Georgia Performance Standards. Professional development courses and workshops for teachers and library media specialists will use the Georgia Performance Standards. Seek funding and other strategic partnerships to provide opportunities for local professional development programs. Consider ways to recognize teachers that have achieved proficiency on meeting the Standards. Consider the incorporation of teacher technology standards into observation forms to evaluate an instructional staff member’s competency related to the Standards. Develop high-quality professional development hybrid and online courses to provide anytime, anywhere course opportunities for administrators. Use the online technology toolkit for administrators to assess the knowledge and skills of administrators and assist them in creating professional development plans for meeting the Standards.
• • • •
Action Plan/ Multi-year Planning (original) Three-Year Technology Plan July 1, 2009 – June 30, 2012
Specific information regarding goals, evaluation method of goals and funding to reach goals is located in the goal section of this technology plan. July 2010 the Technology Planning Team will meet to update the existing plan. Goal Instructional Uses Goal #1: Increase student engagement through higher order thinking experiences using digital tools and resources in exploring real world issues and solving authentic problems. Instructional Uses Goal #2: Increase teachers’ use of technology to promote collaboration, to support and clarify conceptual understanding, to provide multiple and varied formative and summative assessments, and to differentiate the teaching and learning process. Instructional Uses Goal #3: Increase e-learning (virtual learning) opportunities and access for students at all levels to high quality supplemental or full courses of instruction personalized to student needs. Internet Safety Goal: Students and staff will safely and ethically use the Internet to access educationally appropriate materials and engage in Internet enabled learning activities. Administrative Uses Goal #1: Increase effective administrative uses of technology to monitor and increase student achievement and to manage business operations. Parent and Community Uses Goal #1: Improve meaningful, multidirectional communication between school, home, and community that consistently supports student learning. Student Tech Literacy Goal #1: Reduce the information and technology literacy gap between schools and improve student performance on the technology literacy assessment. System Readiness (Staff Competencies/Attitudes) Goal #1: Increase staff competency to implement a variety of online instructional strategies. Implement By June 30, 2012
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Program Integration Efforts are underway in Curriculum and Instruction to standardize on software aligned to state and national standards. Software included with textbook adoptions is carefully scrutinized to make sure it is aligned to standards in that content area, is of high quality, and works appropriately within our technology infrastructure. Software aligned to
ISTE/NETS-S is purchased and upgraded at the district level to assure all students in the Cobb County School District meet the NCLB standard of technology literacy by grade eight. Instructionally sound, research based software is purchased at the district level to meet student needs for remediation and acceleration. Skills Tutor K-12, Read 180 K-12, Fastt Math K-5, and NovaNET 9-12 for credit recovery are currently used for this purpose. Special Student Services adopts assistive technology software to meet the needs of students with disabilities. Cobb County School District has identified high priority technology standards for students by grade level and curriculum area coinciding with the implementation of Georgia Performance Standards.
Curriculum Integration 8th Grade Technology Literacy • Evidence of the tools and strategies defining technology literacy are clearly outlined. Cobb County School District (CCSD) is currently using learning.com’s Technology Literacy Assessment instrument, which directly measures students’ technology literacy skills and students’ progress toward meeting CCSD Technology Integration Standards. The assessment is administered to all 8th grade students each year. • An estimation of the students’ school based experiences with developing technology skills and technology literacy at all grade levels.
• Evidence of the tools and strategies the LEA is implementing to ensure that all students are technologically literate by end of 8th grade. High priority standards have been identified from the current CCSD Technology Standards and adapted/aligned with the National Educational Technology Standards for students (ISTE NETS). CCSD technology standards are posted in CCSD’s online curriculum portal at http://picasso.cobbk12.org. High priority technology standards are integrated into curriculum units, lessons, and resources. The high priority technology standards can be viewed at
http://www.cobbk12.org/~resources/hpts/. Select high priority technology standards for students have been included on CCSD’s current K-2 report card. Accompanying scoring rubrics and samples of student activities and products have been provided to all K-2 teachers. Technology Integration Specialists provide professional development sessions in the use of these resources to assess student progress toward meeting these standards K-2. Planning and creation of supporting materials is ongoing in preparation for the inclusion of high priority technology standards for students in grades 3-5 and 6-8. As students progress from kindergarten through eighth grade and beyond, they master technology standards within the curriculum standards. Data are collected on the status of the integration of technology standards within the curriculum through a continuous review by the Instructional Technology Department coinciding with the GPS rollout. Several intervention programs to increase student technology literacy were piloted during the 2008-2009 school year including TechYES Science, TechYes, a new CTAE Computer Applications Course, and a blended course through Blackboard. Pilot results will be used to inform the district and create a proposal for the use of these and/or other programs.
Cobb Virtual Library
The district provides access to a number of high-quality online resources through Cobb Virtual Library. Students and staff can access these resources directly while at school, and they may enter a password to access the same set of resources from home or from any other location with internet access.
Evaluation Gap Analysis derived from Needs Improvement Data Collected data is analyzed to determine the gap between what levels of technology access is needed to achieve the vision and what is currently available. Analysis includes trends across sub groups in the school system. Current Reality / Data Analysis Working in small groups, members of the planning committee examined the data, looking for any results related to the district’s fulfillment of its vision for technology
implementation. Gaps were noted when the data suggested that fulfillment of this vision was incomplete or inconsistent. Gap Analysis Results After examining the data in small groups, the members came together to share their observations and discuss the evidence. During this discussion, they compiled a list of areas in which they agreed that the district was falling short of its technology vision.
Conclusions for Instructional Uses •The committee agreed that student engagement in technology use for learning was lacking. Members noted that while students often use technology to achieve a high level of engagement in social activities, the data did not reflect a similar pattern in their learning activities. The data indicated that although technology resources were often available and were often used in the classroom, they were not necessarily used by students and were not necessarily used in a way that enhanced student engagement. •The data also suggested that educational technology was not being used to its full potential in enhancing teachers’ instructional practices. The data suggested that technology could be used much more to implement instructional best practices such as collaboration, balanced assessment, and differentiation. • Although the use of online learning tools has increased, the committee agreed that all teachers are not aware of virtual learning opportunities for students and as a district we have not yet realized the full instructional potential of online and blended learning opportunities. •The committee also agreed that without sustained effort, teachers and students will be less and less able to use the digital resources safely and ethically. As the internet changes and new technologies emerge, existing competencies in these areas will become outdated. In order to prevent a gap in this area, teacher professional development and student learning experiences must address these skills.
Funding Alternatives A SPLOST II funded network refresh project is currently underway and will replace the 10 meg service to elementary and middle schools with 1 gigabit service. It will also replace the 100 meg service to high schools and central offices with 1 gig service. The refresh provides a wireless overlay for all schools. As of October 20, 2008, 19 schools have been completed with the remainder scheduled for completion by fall of 2009. A supplemental internet connection is planned for the 08-09 school year to allow the district the necessary bandwidth to meet usage demands for online resources and content materials for students and staff. It also allows the District to maximize the throughput available with the upgraded WAN service as the DOE provided bandwidth alone does not meet the needs of our district. SPLOST I and II funds have provided a means to establish a hardware refresh cycle for district equipment. All computers, printers, copiers, digital duplicators, and servers are on a 5 year refresh cycle. This includes a computing device for all teachers. SPLOST has also provided for data center and network refresh. SPLOST III has been approved and planning continues for the projects outlined in the Curriculum/Instruction/Technology Summary found in the appendices. Highlights of the SPLOST III Curriculum/Instruction/Technology expenditures include: • Continuing to maintain the existing technology infrastructure, as well as upgrading servers, switches, data center, phone systems and adding capacity for centralized video distribution. • Providing computing devices, printers, and copiers for classrooms and schools, sound systems in the fine arts programs, and graphing calculators for math classes. School Pilot Projects / Educational Research (original) Pilot Project for Ford Elementary and Vaughn Elementary Schools Implementing Enrichment Clusters in the Gifted Programs “Enrichment clusters are non-graded groups of students who share common interests, and who come together during specially designated time blocks during school to work with an adult who shares their interests and who has some degree of advanced knowledge and
expertise in the area. The enrichment clusters usually meet for a block of time weekly during a semester” (Renzulli, 2009).
A pilot project will be conducted using two of our high achieving schools in the county. By allowing gifted students daily access to online activities including Web 2.0 technologies such as the Wiki, social networking sites, blogs, video and photo sharing, discussion forums and podcasting, they will enhance their critical thinking skills and technology skills simultaneously (Siegle, 2005). Differentiation modifications can be easily met using the Internet with gifted students. Gifted students require in-depth study of topics that most school libraries and resources can’t accommodate, which diminishes the learning potentials of gifted students (Siegle, 2005). Enrichment clusters will be established at all gifted classes at all grade levels in both of our pilot schools.
Enrichment Clusters have the following key characteristics. (Eckstein, 2008) • • • • Internet based Multi –grade Interest based groups Focused toward the production of real world products or services
Setting up an Enrichment Cluster (Eckstein, 2008) • • • • • Select a Content Area and Write a Description Find schools/ students to participate Establish a home for the cluster (wiki) Obtain parental permission for students to participate Introductions
The goals of this project (Eckstein, 2009, P. 21) • Students will be able to critically examine the complexity of knowledge and information. • Students will be able to ask and access multifaceted questions in a variety of fields and disciplines.
Students will be able to conduct meaningful research. Students will be able to think creatively and critically to identify and suggest possible solutions to real world problems.
Students will be able to assume leadership and participatory roles in group learning situations. Students will be able to produce a variety of authentic projects using 21st century tools that demonstrates understanding in multiple fields and disciplines.
Students will be able to set and achieve reasonable personal and academic goals.
Educational Resources Eckstein, M. (2009). The gifted kids network: 2008 Pilot. Gifted Child Today, 32(2), 20-28. Eckerstien, M. (2008). Enrichment 2.0 gifted education for the 21st centurypresentation. Retrieved from Slideshare Present Yourself http://www.slideshare.net/gtteacher/enrichment-20-gifted-education-for-the-21stcentury-530600. Renzulli, J. S. & Reis, S. (2009). The schoolwide enrichment model. Retrieved from University of Connecticut Neag Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development. http://www.gifted.uconn.edu/sem/semexec.html Siegle, D. (2005). Six uses of the Internet to develop students’ gifts and talents. Gifted Child Today, 28(2), 30-36.
Model Classroom Configurations (original) Cobb County wants to achieve the best possible environment conducive for learning and the integration of technology. Workstations should be established in each classroom if applicable.
Facilities Access to Technology/Data Sources The District consists of 127 schools and administrative sites. There are 53,000+ workstations and 13,000+ printers/copiers on the local area networks. This includes laptops for teachers and networked printers in each classroom. Each school has one
server serving the school’s network. Schools are connected via single mode fiber to a centralized backbone located at the Kennesaw Data Center to form a wide area network. A SPLOST II funded network refresh project is currently underway and will replace the 10 meg service to elementary and middle schools with 1 gigabit service. It will also replace the 100 meg service to high schools and central offices with 1 gig service. The refresh provides a wireless overlay for all schools. As of October 20, 2008, 19 schools have been completed with the remainder scheduled for completion by fall of 2009. A supplemental internet connection is planned for the 08-09 school year to allow the district the necessary bandwidth to meet usage demands for online resources and content materials for students and staff. It also allows the District to maximize the throughput available with the upgraded WAN service as the DOE provided bandwidth alone does not meet the needs of our district. Currently Novell’s GroupWise is being utilized to provide local and Internet email services for all staff. eSafe is being used for CIPA compliance by providing enabling/blocking security for internet access. It also assists in keeping inappropriate materials inaccessible to students and staff. All media centers, student information, food and nutrition, and financial systems are automated and are accessible through the network. Parents are able to access student grades and attendance data for middle and high school students. Parents can also pay for services such as student lunches K-12 and elementary after school care electronically. eHigh classes and rich curriculum resources are accessible from both home and school. Staff can sign up for and take staff development courses online. Academic portal development continues in response to the expanded need to house and access information vital to the district. Information from the student information systems as well as assessment data is stored and available for reports. Data driven decisions regarding achievement can be made based on student data that is available to every school. In some classrooms, data from student response systems provide teachers and students with immediate feedback on skill mastery. The use of student response systems, whiteboards and projectors enhance learning in every classroom of seven 21st Century Classroom schools and some additional classrooms throughout the District. The Electronic Board Meeting system provides district employees and the public with up to date agendas and archived data. All board meetings are televised to increase public awareness and encourage participation. The district’s web pages are updated with current articles and videos to enhance communication. The use of an automated calling system connects the district to approximately 75,000 families throughout our community. The District’s current telecommunications systems include Nortell, Cisco systems, and 2,900+ phone lines. Schools constructed after 2008 include VOIP systems. The District will need to replace the aging phone system in the near future. A VOIP system is planned to enhance district wide communication and provide cost savings. Implementation of Wi-Fi enabled handheld devices such as cell phones and Blackberry devices are used in local schools and administrative sites to enhance current communication and provide an overlay option for student and staff safety and security. Plans have been made for a telecommunications audit to ensure CCSD is maximizing existing resources. The audit may provide data on ways to modify existing services in an effort to cut costs while still retaining a stable and secure telecommunications network.
Maintenance / Support The automated Customer Care Center receives 66,000+ service requests annually in support of the district’s technology. The Customer Care Center also allows for remote monitoring of servers and immediate dispatch of technicians as needed. Dedicated technicians are located in every middle and high school. Remaining technicians rotate coverage for elementary and administrative sites. Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity planning is in progress. Data center equipment refresh and plans for a disaster recovery site to ensure business continuity in the case of a disaster is essential to safeguard student data, provide uninterrupted payroll services and reduce impact to staff, students, and the community in the event of a catastrophic event.
Software Agreements (Borrowed from NYC Department of Education) Guides for Schools: Software Use Policy (2009). Retrieved from NYC Department of Education http://schools.nyc.gov/Offices/DCP/Publications/nysslanswers2.htm
Duplication of copyrighted software is prohibited except for a single archival copy, which may not be used concurrently with the original. Duplication of documentation is similarly prohibited. The written permission of the publisher must be obtained to use the original and back-up copies simultaneously.
School computers may not be used to illegally duplicate copyrighted software.
The software publisher must be contacted to obtain written permission and procedures for making back-up and multiple copies, other than the single archival back-up (see above). A license from the publisher is required to download or network programs to other microcomputers.
The use of illegally duplicated software, however obtained, is expressly prohibited in all school facilities. All licensing agreements required by the publisher and agreed upon, as a condition for use, must be adhered to, especially those concerning multiple users.
The Software Policy should be posted conspicuously in every computer room and next to computers available to students and staff.
Copyright / Acceptable Use Policy Rationale/Objective The Cobb County School District (District) believes that technology and its utilization enhances the quality and delivery of education and is an important part of preparing children for life in the 21st century. The community of technology users must understand that the Internet is a global, fluid community, which remains largely unregulated. While it is an extremely valuable educational tool, there are sections that are not commensurate with community, school, or family standards. The District believes that the Internet’s advantages far outweigh its disadvantages and will provide an Internet filtering device which blocks access to a large percentage of inappropriate sites. It should not be assumed that users are completely prevented from accessing inappropriate materials or from sending or receiving objectionable communications. Additionally, the District considers access to the Internet and computer resources a privilege, not a right. Therefore, users violating the District’s Administrative Rules may be subject to revocation of these privileges and potential disciplinary action. RULE: A. GENERAL PROVISIONS: 1. Children’s Internet Protection Act of 2000 (CIPA): The District will have the following in continuous operation, with respect to any computers belonging to the District having access to the Internet: a. A qualifying “technology protection measure,” as that term is defined in CIPA; and b. Procedures or guidelines developed by the Curriculum and Instruction Division and the Technology Services Division which provide for monitoring the online activities of users and the use of the chosen technology protection measure to protect against access through such computers to visual depictions that are obscene, pornographic, or harmful to minors, as those terms are defined in CIPA. Such procedures or guidelines will be designed to: (1) Provide for monitoring the online activities of users to prevent, to the extent practicable, access by minors to inappropriate matter on the Internet and the World Wide Web; (2) Promote the safety and security of minors when using electronic mail, chat rooms, and other forms of direct electronic communications; (3) Prevent unauthorized access, including so-called “hacking,” and other unauthorized activities by minors online; (4) Prevent the unauthorized disclosure, use and dissemination of personal identification information regarding minors; and (5) Restrict minors’ access to materials “harmful to minors,” as that term is defined in CIPA. 2. Safety Risks: Teachers and others working with students will endeavor to caution students that they should:
a. Never place personal contact information or a personal photograph on the Internet, email or any on-line communication device. Personal contact information includes full name, address, telephone number, school address, or names of family or friends. b. Never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone you meet online. c. Never open attachments or files from unknown senders. d. Always report to a teacher any inappropriate sites you observe being accessed by another user or that you access accidentally. 3. Internet Searches: Students should be supervised by instructional personnel when accessing network and internet resources and the following guidelines apply: a. Elementary School: Elementary school students may visit sites a teacher has pre-selected for them. Searches should be completed with child friendly Internet search engines (for instance see: www.nettrekker.com) b. Middle School/High School: Middle school and high school students may visit sites a teacher has pre-selected for them. They may use search engines other than child-friendly search engines when directed to do so by their teacher. c. Non-instructional personnel, such as After School Program (ASP) workers, are not permitted to allow students to access technology resources unless it is an instructional activity. 4. Network Security: Maintaining network security is the responsibility of all users. Users should: a. Not leave an unsecured workstation without logging out of the network; b. Not share or disclose passwords; and c. Notify appropriate personnel immediately if a potential security problem is identified. 5. Acceptable Use Agreement: Prior to receiving access to the District’s technology resources, employees and students (Form JICDA-3) should complete an Acceptable Use Agreement indicating they accept and agree to the provisions of Rule IJNDB. 6. Copyright: a. Students and employees should comply with District Administrative Rule EGAD (Intellectual Property), as well as federal, state or local laws governing copyrighted material. b. Students/employees will not: (1) Download or upload files to the District’s technology that might cause copyright infringement; or (2) Install, use, store, distribute or transmit unauthorized copyrighted or trademarked materials on District technology. 7. If students or employees believe that the implementation of this Rule denies access to material that is not prohibited by this Rule, he/she should submit that concern in writing to the school principal or designee or his/her supervisor or designee. The principal, supervisor or designee should report this concern to the appropriate District office within ten (10) school days. B. AUTHORITY:
1. The District: The District provides its students and authorized employees with access to and use of its technology consistent with the District’s vision and strategic goals. Therefore, the District reserves the right to monitor, access, and disclose the contents of any user’s files, activities, or communications to any appropriate authority, including law enforcement. 2. Employees: Principals and Administrators will endeavor to inform students and employees of the responsibilities associated with use of the District's technology. To this end, Rule IJNDB is included in the Parent Information Guide. Any attempts to harm, modify, destroy or otherwise change the District's data and technology should be reported to appropriate District authorities. Staff will refer to District Administrative Rules governing employee and student conduct, including, Rules JICDA-E, -M, and –H (Student Conduct: Codes of Conduct), when addressing inappropriate use or abuse of District technology privileges. 3. Students: Students will adhere to all policies, Rules and regulations issued by the District and their respective school. C. PROHIBITED USES: Students and employees who violate District/school policies, Rules or regulations governing the use of the District’s technology and network resources may have their network privileges suspended or revoked and will be subject to District Administrative Rules applying to employee and student conduct including, for students, the provisions of the appropriate District Code of Conduct (Rules JICDA-E, -M, or –H). Ethical use of District technology prohibits the following activities by all users: 1. Accessing, sending, creating or posting material or communication that is: a. Damaging; b. Abusive; c. Obscene, lewd, profane, offensive, indecent, sexually explicit, or pornographic; d. Threatening or demeaning to another person; or e. Contrary to the District’s Rules on harassment and/or bullying. 2. Posting anonymous or forging electronic communications. 3. Using the network for financial gain, advertising or political lobbying to include student elections. 4. Engaging in any activity that wastes, monopolizes, or compromises the District/school’s technology or other resources. 5. Illegal activity, including but not limited to copying or downloading copyrighted software, music or images, or violations of copyright laws. 6. Using the District network for downloading music or video files or any other files that are not for an educational purpose or, for students, a teacher-directed assignment. 7. Attempting to gain unauthorized access to District/school technology resources whether on or off school property. 8. Using non-educational Internet games, whether individual or multi-user. 9. Participate in any on-line communication that is not for educational purposes or, for students that are not specifically assigned by a teacher. 10. Using voice over IP, internet telephony, video and/or audio communication devices without teacher supervision.
11. Using District/school technology resources to gain unauthorized access to another computer system whether on or off school property (e.g. “hacking”). 12. Attempting to or disrupting District/school technology resources by destroying, altering, or otherwise modifying technology, including but not limited to, files, data, passwords, creating or spreading computer viruses, worms, or Trojan horses; engaging in DOS attacks; or participating in other disruptive activities. 13. Bringing on premises any disk or storage device that contains a software application or utility that could be used to alter the configuration of the operating system or network equipment, scan or probe the network, or provide access to unauthorized areas or data. 14. Attempting/threatening to damage, destroy, vandalize, or steal private/school property while using school technology resources. 15. Bypassing or attempting to circumvent network security, virus protection, network filtering, or policies. 16. Using or attempting to use the password or account of another person, utilizing a computer while logged on under another user’s account, or any attempt to gain unauthorized access to accounts on the network. 17. Connecting to or installing any personal technology computing device or software without prior approval of the District’s Technology Services Division. 18. Attempting to obtain access to restricted sites, servers, files, databases, etc. 19. Exploring the configuration of the computer operating system or network, running programs not on the menu, or attempting to do anything not specifically authorized by District personnel or policies, Rules or regulations. 20. Leaving an unsecured workstation without logging out of the network. D. E-MAIL: E-mail accounts are provided to employees for professional purposes (see Administrative Rule GBDA [Communications System: District’s Inter and Intra Communications]). Students may access their personal e-mail accounts for educational purposes. Where used in the following guidelines, User/Users refers to both employees and students: 1. Persons outside the District may be able to receive information regarding an employee’s communications and use of the network from the District. (See Administrative Rule EHB [Data/Records Retention]). 2. Employees should request permission from the appropriate administrator prior to sending an e-mail message to an entire school staff or District level division. 3. Employee use of e-mail to transmit confidential student information, as defined in Rule JRA (Student Records), or sensitive personnel information is prohibited, except where the confidential information is sent in an e-mail directly to a parent/guardian, the subject of the e-mail, or a school official. 4. When an employee sends e-mail that contains confidential information, the employee should refer to the subject of the e-mail by first name only and should include the following disclaimer: "This e-mail may contain information that is privileged, confidential and exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any unauthorized dissemination, distribution or copying of any information from this e-mail is strictly prohibited. If you receive this email in error, please notify us immediately by collect telephone call at (telephone number) or electronic mail (e-mail).”
5. The District reserves the right to monitor whatever a User does on the network and to make sure the network functions properly. 6. A User has no privacy as to his/her communications or the uses he/she makes of the Internet. 7. Users should not use e-mail for personal gain or personal business activities. 8. Users will not use e-mail to distribute inappropriate material through pictures, text, forwards, attachments, and other forms of information. 9. Users will not send anonymous e-mail, nor will they harass others through e-mail. E. WEB SITE PUBLISHING: 1. Publication of student information, work and pictures is governed by Administrative Rule CFIA (Monitoring-Recording Staff and Students). 2. Web pages or blogs hosted on or linked from Cobb County School District’s Web server will not: a. Include any information that indicates the physical location of a student at a given time, other than attendance at a particular school or participation in school activities where appropriate consent has been received. b. Display personal information, photographs, videos, streaming video, or audio clips of any identifiable student without a prior written permission slip (Form CFIA-1 ([Permission to Display Student Photograph]) if a parent/guardian has “opted out” of the release of directory information as stated in the Directory Information Statement in the Parent InformationGuide. 3. Prior to placing a student's material on the Internet, the student should sign Form IJNDB-1 (Permission to Display Student Work). For students under the age of 18, the permission slip should also be signed by the student’s parent/guardian. 4. Students may retain the copyright on the material they create that is subsequently displayed or performed on the District's Web site or individual school Web pages or blogs. F. EMPLOYEE CREATED WEB PAGES AND/OR BLOGS: The District assumes no responsibility for schools or individual employees who do not comply with the following provisions: 1. Employees may create or link to individual Web pages and/or blogs on an external site provided these external sites meet the District’s definition of “educational purposes” as stated in Section G below. Any links to external sites that fail to meet that definition will be removed. 2. Each employee will be responsible for maintaining his/her Web pages or blogs in cooperation with the school Web Publisher. Specifically, all material originating from the employee and placed on the employee Web pages/blogs will be consistent with the Web Page Publishing and Compliance Guidelines (Form IJNDB-5) and approved through the compliance process established by the District Web Publisher (Web Master). 3. The District Web site and individual employee Web pages/blogs will not: a. Contain public message boards or chat-room areas. However, employees may allow two-way communication on blogs or private message boards as a part of the classroom curriculum as long as the employee previews (moderates) and approves all blog comments before they are posted on the Internet.
b. Allow the display of unsolicited comments from the general public. Any solicited public feedback should be reviewed by the employee before posting. Any questionable or inappropriate content will immediately be removed by the employee, the School Web Publisher or by the District Web Publisher (Web Master) with no notification. G. DEFINITIONS: As used in District Administrative Rule IJNDB (Use of Technology Resources in Instruction), the following definitions apply: “Blogs” (short for Web Logs) means dynamic web sites consisting of regularly updated entries displayed in reverse chronological order. They read like a diary or journal, but with the most recent entry at the top. Blogs can allow for open comments meaning other individuals can respond to a posted entry. Open comments is an optional feature for most blog Web sites. “Chat Rooms” means a Web site, part of a Web site, or part of an online service, that provides a venue for communities of users with a common interest to communicate in real time. "Cookies" means messages that may include personally identifiable information, which are stored in a text file and used to identify visitors and possibly prepare customized Web pages for them. "DoS attack" means a denial-of-service attack designed to overload an electronic network with useless traffic and messages. "Educational purposes" means it relates to curriculum and instruction, research, career or professional development, or administrative purposes. "E-mail" means an electronic message generated using the District's e-mail and/or Web based e-mail. It is also used generically to mean either the District's e-mail system or a Webbased e-mail system. "External site" means Web sites and materials not hosted on the District's Web server. "Hacking" means the illegal activity of breaking into a computer system or electronic network, regardless of intent to cause harm. "Inappropriate material" means material that does not serve an instructional or educational purpose and that includes, but is not limited, to material that: (i) is profane, vulgar, lewd, obscene, offensive, indecent, sexually explicit, or threatening; (ii) advocates illegal or dangerous acts; (iii) causes disruption to Cobb County School District, its employees or students; (iv) advocates violence; or (v) contains knowingly false, recklessly false, or defamatory information. “Instructional activity” means a classroom activity that focuses on appropriate and specific learning goals and objectives. “Message board” means a virtual bulletin board, where people post and view messages. "Mirroring" means the creation of other Web sites that replicate or duplicate an existing Web site in order to reduce network traffic or improve performance and availability of the original Web site. “Teacher directed” means that the teacher gives to the students’ specific instructions for activities and assignments.
“Teacher supervised” means that a staff member will oversee the activities of the students. “Technology” means but is not limited to electronic media systems such as computers, computing devices, peripheral devices, telecommunication equipment, electronic networks, messaging, and Web site publishing, and the associated hardware and software programs Gifts and Disposal
Staff Development Effective staff development ideas were borrowed from Tech Forum to give clearer guidelines of how teachers can meet the technology goals set forth in the vision.
Jakes, D. (2004, April 29). Effective staff development in technology – not necessarily an oxymoron. Retrieved from Tech Forum’s Strategies, Solutions and Innovations for Technology Leaders website:
Effective staff development in technology is characterized by the following elements: • Effective technology staff development is focused on teaching and learning first, and technology second. • Effective technology staff development is based upon a combination of measurable district technology, learning and teaching standards. These standards apply to teachers, students and administrators. • Effective technology staff development begins with system- wide administrative and leadership support.
Effective technology staff development includes not only the actual instructional event, but the development of an implementation plan, the development of an assessment plan, and the completion of both to evaluate the imp act of the staff development.
Effective technology staff development results in a change in teacher behavior and this should result in an increase in student achievement.
Effective technology staff development is embedded within the school day. Effective technology staff development focuses on the number of students potentially impacted rather than the number of teachers “trained.”
Effective technology staff development begins by actively recruiting individuals to participate, rather than simply offering a class and hope that someone attends.
Effective technology staff development, in most cases, should be led by school district staff that understands the climate and culture of the school district.
Effective technology staff development addresses limitations of time, access, and technology reliability prior to the actual event and includes strategies for dealing with these issues.
Effective technology staff development begins with a pilot program first, and then enlarges to be available for all staff. This pilot is designed to first serve teacher leaders of varying age, experience, and technological capability, with the intent of developing a program that works on all levels (delivery of instruction, technology, assessment, etc.) and can address issues relative to the preceding bullet point.
Effective technology staff development results in the ability to deliver an instructional process whose value are compelling and truly beneficial to the educational process. The value of the result of this instruction (and often the student product produced by such instruction) is also compelling and is nonnegotiable.
Cobb County Content • Professional Development programs are clearly outlined. • The Cobb County School District (CCSD) has a department of Professional Learning, which works in collaboration with the division of Curriculum and Instruction and with the division of Special Student Services to provide
professional learning opportunities for constituents within the district. These departments/divisions are responsible for managing the programs under Title I, II, III, IV, V, VI, Perkins, and IDEA. Funds are allocated to the department and divisions identified above for the purpose of professional growth of staff in best practices, including the integration of technology into the curriculum and instructional program. • Professional Learning Unit (PLU) credit is coordinated through the Professional Learning Department. Courses approved for PLU credit include a syllabus that describes the desired learner outcomes, research for the identified strategies, and components of the evaluation. Courses offered through the district catalog are open to all employees within the district. • The department of Professional Learning coordinates the state certification requirement for technology. As such, the department provides a variety of state approved opportunities for administrators and teachers to demonstrate technology literacy.
• Funding sources of professional development are provided.
Professional development funds are provided to the district through Georgia Department of Education funds and the Title IIA program. State funds are distributed for professional learning through CCSD’s department of Curriculum and Instruction and directly to local schools. Title IIA funds primarily provide for district professional learning initiatives and supplement those initiatives at the school level. State funds suffered a nearly 50% cut FY 2008 creating serious challenges in CCSD’s ability to provide funding for professional development.
• Local staff development programs are consistent with nationally established criteria for quality professional development, with such characteristics as incentives, self-directed learning, and authentic connections to actual work.
Through the department of Professional Learning, CCSD provides resources and training to district employees on the 12 National Staff Development Council Standards for Professional Learning. Resources provided include national, state, and local expertise, qualified trainers, and funding for release time for staff to participate in professional development to identify and implement best practices that will improve student learning.
The Professional Learning department coordinates five professional learning in-service days annually for school based and central office administrators, teacher leaders, and special education support staff. Plans for the 2008-2009 in-service days are centered on performance based learning, backwards design lesson planning, classroom walk-through to monitor instructional effectiveness, assessment, differentiated instruction, and implementation and evaluation of the Georgia School Keys.
Additionally, CCSD routinely brings in nationally recognized educational leaders who are known for their work in the filed of research. These national researchers include experts in the areas of instructional best practices and technology. Their research is reviewed to inform decisions within the district.
The Professional Learning department ensures that all staff development is linked to scientifically and/or evidenced based practice through the application process for funding. All courses (including local school and district level) must provide evidence of research to support the proposed training prior to the release of funding as part of the written application. Additionally, at the conclusion of instruction, the course must be evaluated and must include evidence of learning.
Courses developed to support technology integration to impact student learning adhere to the same requirements and must link research to the instruction. Any technology purchased for instruction will also be linked to the same instruction research and is done through CCSD’s state approved purchasing department.
47 Personnel from the district routinely participate in and present at state and national conferences that allow for the exchange of best practices in what
works to improve student achievement. The district is also an active member of both state and national organizations that continue to research and provide training in best practices for instruction. • During the 2008-2009 school year, the department of Professional Learning and the department of Curriculum and Instruction are also providing peercoaching training for all instructional support staff.
• Professional development programs promote research-supported instructional practices that actively engage students in their own learning.
Each school receives a professional development budget to fund training. The principal works with the Area Lead Teacher, teacher leaders, TISs, and/or other department of Curriculum and Instruction Support Staff to plan for professional learning to support best practices that actively engage students. The department of Professional Learning reviews these plans.
• Professional development programs help teachers target their instructional practices toward student achievement of GPS/QCC standards.
The Professional Learning department ensures that all staff development helps teachers target their instructional practices toward student achievement of GPS/QCC standards through the application process for funding. All courses (including local school and district level) must provide evidence of application in teaching GPS/QCC standards as part of the written application.
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