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Four Districts Take NSBA Ed-Tech Honors

Districts in Arizona, Kentucky, Georgia, and Illinois were honored last week by the National School Boards Association's Technology Leadership Network for their technological progress.

Dysart Unified School District (Surprise, Ariz.), Jefferson County (Ky.) Public Schools, and the Liberty County (Ga.) school system were named first-time "Salute Districts" for their use of classroom technology, and Township High School District 214 (Arlington Heights, Ill.) was named a "Trailblazer District" for its continuing commitment to technology integration 10 years after first being honored as a Salute District.

The Salute Districts
• The 24,000-student Dysart district in suburban Phoenix boasts a recently modernized Internet network, an extensive 60-hour professional development program on technology integration that more than 300 district teachers have completed, and an iPAL assessment tool suite that helps direct instruction toward individual student needs.
• In 98,000-student Jefferson County, which includes Louisville, has distributed tablet PCs to all 6,000 teachers and administrators and developed virtual learning space JCPS Online, which now has 145,000 users. It also drew attention in a March Associated Press story about districts that have embraced social media as learning tools.
• And at 10,200-student Liberty County in southeastern Georgia, the creation of a technology advisory board has brought about measurable increases in two-way Web communication with parents, classroom technology initiatives, and student participation in the Georgia Media Festival.

The Trailblazer District
• Township High School District 214 has made several technological evolutions since its first recognition in 2000, particularly focused on closing the achievement gap. Currently, it uses a digital-learning lab to accelerate the progress of English-language learners. Its technology department also tracks all students' grades and sends automated phone calls and letters to notify parents when their children are struggling.

What do you make of the awards? Were these school districts deserving? Which of their ideas would you most like to see in your district?

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