City schools receive Digital Learning Grant

By Kristy D. Carter -

Clinton City Schools is the recipient of a Digital Learning Initiative Planning Grant that will not only allow for additional professional development for teachers, but the procurement of Chrome devices for students at L.C. Kerr School.

According to John Lowe, director of technology, the grant, in the amount of $44,115.01 will allow the district to increase classroom teacher attendance at technology conferences, have teachers share digital learning knowledge and experience with other staff members and purchase developmentally appropriate devices for student in the kindergarten through first grade levels.

“In the past three years, Clinton City Schools has made great strides improving technology infrastructure and access for students and staff,” Lowe explained in the grant application.

During this drive for a technology revamp, Lowe said the district has been able to procure and deploy more than 1,800 Chromebooks, and used Erate funding to procure and deploy wireless access points in every classroom.

Funds from this grant will allow more teachers to attend professional development opportunities and purchase 32 age and developmentally appropriate devices for kindergarten through first grade, plus a charging and storage cart.

Clinton City Schools has been a Google LEA since 2015, which means all teacher and student storage has been transitioned to Google Drive. In spring 2016, 600 Chromebooks were purchased.

“These devices have served well, as teachers make the transition to digital teaching and learning strategies and content,” Lowe said.

In the summer of 2016, the technology department discarded 36 Dell Dimension series computers that were originally manufactured in 2003 and 2004. By 2019, Clinton City has a goal to have the average age of all digital devices to be six years old or less.

According to Lowe, survey data indicates that a majority of the district’s teachers and students believe that “a Chromebook or laptop for every student to use at school is a tool that would hold great potential for increasing student achievement and success.”

“Although, improved infrastructure and access to digital devices and applications has led to increased teacher and student usage of both devices and digital content, evidence from our teacher walkthrough data, SpeakUP Survey data, and findings in the Report of the External Review Team from AdvancED indicate that, that many of our teachers still tend to use technology for presenting information with few opportunities for students to use technology to enhance their learning,” Lowe said.

The studies and surveys also show that Clinton City Schools has a low percentage of teachers who are reporting they are facilitating greater collaboration between students and spending more time with individual students to help them understand the content as a result of integrating technology within their practice.

“Our walkthrough data currently shows a high percentage of walkthroughs where the indicator ‘Teachers know and use appropriate digital tools and resources for instruction’ is marked as not observed,” Lowe said.

Teachers are also assessing themselves on the low end of the experienced range of the Digital Learning Competency continuum, while some have placed themselves in the novice range.

“Educators in Clinton City Schools will progress in the North Carolina Digital Learning Competencies continuum by attending, delivering, completing, and authoring professional development while implementing appropriately selected digital teaching and learning tools and strategies in their work with students to improve student engagement and learning outcomes,” Lowe indicated.

By Kristy D. Carter

Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.

Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.