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Bulloch County schools garner national ranking
System honored for technology know-how
W Missy Jordan 1
Julia P. Bryant Elementary teacher Missy Jordan uses a SmartBoard in her classroom with a kindergarten student. - photo by Special to the Herald

    The Bulloch County public school system has been named a nationwide leader in implementing technology to service students, parents and teachers, by a recently released national survey.
    An eighth annual Digital School Districts Survey by e.Republic’s Center for Digital Education, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) and ranked Bulloch County Schools as the country’s eighth-best mid-size school district (between 3,000 and 12,000 students) for “exemplary use of technology to govern the district, communicate with students, parents and the community and to improve district operations.”
    The top-10 rankings reflect school boards and districts, among the United States’ nearly 14,000 eligible systems (none are required to submit answers), with the fullest implementation of technology benchmarks based on a series of survey responses, according the Center for Digital Education.
    Leilani Cauthen, vice president of the center — a national research and advisory institute specializing in K-12 and higher education technology trends, policy and funding — explained a basis for the rankings in a release issued to announce the top school systems.
    “New and emerging technologies challenge the process of teaching, learning and the way education is managed,” Cauthen said. “Survey responses reflect innovation in action, and how boards and districts are adapting curriculum, communication and collaboration by embracing digital technologies.”
    The ranking marks the first time Bulloch County Schools has been included among the nation’s top 10 districts for systems its size.
    “We actively invest in the nation’s leading, instructional technology tools,” said Bulloch County Schools Superintendent Lewis Holloway. “According to the district’s three-year technology plan, its mission is to support the advancement of life-long learning in a quality, technology-rich environment where students and staff develop skills to be successful in a global community.”
    A large portion of Bulloch County Schools’ success, according to a release issued by school officials, can be attributed to a concerted effort to incorporate various forms of technology within its classrooms.
    The local school system provides laptop computers for teachers, has installed SmartBoards and projectors in classrooms, issues class sets of iPads and offers computer-based academic and testing resources, according to Hayley Greene, Public Relations and Marketing Specialist for Bulloch County Schools.
    To support the investments, the system has placed technology support liaisons at each school and employed an instructional technology specialist to provide assistance district-wide, Greene said.
    The multiple resources are intended to help teachers infuse technology into the classroom experience.
    “I am extremely grateful to teach in a system that understands the role that technology plays in education,” said Dr. Patia Rountree, a Southeast Bulloch Middle School math teacher. “Bulloch County has done an amazing job of putting the appropriate technology into our hands and providing professional learning so that the technology can be put to use quickly and effectively.”
    Teachers throughout the Bulloch County system are taking advantage of the provided tools in new and creative ways, Greene said.
    “My classes have been integrating a variety of technologies,” said Portal Middle High School Teacher Rob Lindsey, who uses iPads and SmartBoards to help prepare students for CRCT testing. “The use of technology has led to more student-led activities. And what I find amazing is how they take their newly acquired technology skills home and pass them on to parents and grandparents. This shows that the use of technology in the classroom has a great influence on our community.”
    At Statesboro High School, mathematics teacher Jacob Collins uses a digital camera to film lessons to be uploaded to YouTube, where students can access them after class.
    “Technology is critical to my teaching methods,” Collins said. “Using YouTube has forever changed the way that I deliver and access learning. Students are more engaged, more informed and are less likely to be behind after an absence.”
    Jeff Harrison may be reached at (912) 489-9454.

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