Wilson wins national technology honors

Xavier Smith • Updated Mar 24, 2017 at 9:00 AM

Wilson County Schools recently received recognition for its investment in next-generation digital education and encouragement of innovative tools from the Center for Digital Education.

The system was one of several school districts that earned top rankings in the annual Digital School District Survey for their investment in tools for next-generation digital learners; launching STEM academies; and encouraging the innovative use of drones, solar panels and robotics clubs and camps. 

The Digital School District Survey Awards, now in its 13th year, recognize exemplary use of technology by school boards and districts. The awards are presented by the Center for Digital Education at the National School Boards Association’s annual conference each spring.

Wilson County Schools took home second in the large student population – systems with 12,000 or more students – district category. Houston County School System in Georgia won the top award in the category. 

Wilson County was one of three districts in the state to receive recognition, as Lenoir City Schools and Greeneville City Schools received recognition in the small student population district category. 

Wright discussed the recognition during Monday’s Wilson County Commission meeting. 

“It comes from a lot of hard work that our educators have provided, but also cutting edge technology and giving students access and opportunity,” she said.

“It has changed the landscape on how we provide instruction in this district. When you look at some of those districts, you’re talking about places like Charlotte-Mecklenburg, which has over 110,000 kids in their district and a lot of resources.”

“Technology is an essential tool for the transformation of education in our country,” said Dr. Kecia Ray, executive director for the Center for Digital Education. “The Digital School Districts Survey helps districts measure progress toward transformation and I’m proud to recognize these districts and the work that is represented in their award. Congratulations to all of the award winners and great thanks to all who participated in the survey.”
“The school boards in these districts are recognized for utilizing technology solutions to make their work as a board more transparent and their district operations more efficient,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, executive director and CEO of the National School Boards Association. “Their accomplishments demonstrate that innovative approaches can be embraced by any district, regardless of its size or location.”

The survey looked at different aspects of the district, including school board use of technology, the role it plays in communication with parents and guardians, its use in classrooms and schools, as well as funding for technology. 

Wilson County received high marks for its Skyward system, oversight and discipline on technology tools, training on new tools, access for students outside of schools, security and more. 

Digital curriculum content the district has already implemented and highlighted in the survey included 3-D programs such as Sensavis, zSpace Virtual Reality and Google Expeditions Augmented Reality; FANUC Robotic Systems and certification programs; Tennessee Virtual Online School, which provides an alternative to lace-to-face instruction; digital resources such as Discovery Ed, Study Island and Compass; and more.

“Wilson County is committed to preparing young people for the world that awaits them. It is our responsibility to equip them with the technological and academic skills and knowledge to thrive as contributing members of society. We have made it a key objective to embrace innovative and cutting-edge technology and provide it to our district educators as a tool to reach our young people,” district leaders said.

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