Emerging Technology Has Positive Impact in Simpson County Schools
As Director of Technology of Simpson County Schools, I welcome you to the upcoming 2016-2017 school year. Our vision is to be a world-class educational system empowering all students to graduate LIFE-READY – academically and socially prepared for college and/or careers. Our mission – to develop each child to their fullest potential and prepare them for the next level of life.
The mission of the Technology Department is to integrate technology into the educational program in order to:
•improve the quality of education by implementing 21st century technology
•support the curriculum delivery to help meet the needs of educators
•provide access to technology for all students and staff to enhance achievement
•provide for student-centered learning
•equip students with employability and life skills to become self-sufficient individuals
•enhance communication between district/school and stakeholders
•promote digital citizenship and the proper use of technology
Our school board members, district administrative staff, support staff, teachers, and students have made it a primary goal to ensure that the technology for Simpson County Schools is the best! For us, to stay ahead and on top of the latest technologies, we must continue to place emphasis on our technology program. Our technology program has enhanced student achievement in many ways. Through the use of Intelligent Classrooms (Smart Boards), software programs, educational websites, wireless networking, mobile laptop labs, iPads, and multimedia, our students have unlimited possibilities in the palm of their hands.
As a district, we’ve applied for assistance, (Universal Service Funding and Erate), for replacing our switches/hubs for the entire district. We received $162,000.00 from this funding. These devices are crucial in the operation of all networking capabilities. During the summer, we have replaced the entire districts infrastructure/network/switches. This upgrade will increase our throughput from 1GB to 10GB providing better efficiency. We’ve also implemented brand new access points on all our campuses increasing bandwidth from 250 Mbps to 500 Mbps pipe to state, as well as upgrading from 75 kbps to 100 kbps per ADA. This upgrade provides faster accessibility in order for more stability in all technology needs.
The Technology Department has started work on a major overhaul in regards to our backend support infrastructure. Currently, we have implemented a remote imaging tool, named FOG that allows us to install custom operation system images to multiple computers at once. The program PDQ Deploy and PDQ Inventory will allow for remote, unattended installation of applications over the network. These tools, along with others to come, will help the Technology Department better service the thousands of devices deployed in Simpson County Schools. As we move forward, the staff and students will see more efficient service and faster response times on smaller or lower priority issues.
In addition to our classrooms, labs, and libraries having computers, we continue to add mobile (laptop) and iPad carts. We have installed approximately two hundred new devices this summer. These devices have been spread out over all our campuses.
Simpson County Schools became only the eleventh district in the state to integrate Google Apps for Education (GAFE). GAFE is a core suite of free productivity tools that promote not only classroom collaboration but that of the school and district in its entirety. Some of the tools include docs, slides, sheets, and classroom. Classroom allows teachers to create, share, and grade assignments with ease and organization. With the overwhelming addition of technology devices district wide, GAFE provides an easy collaboration tool for every student and staff member.
To help keep and maintain safety throughout all campuses, we have added ID/Badge card readers and security cameras at all of our campuses including our sporting facilities as well providing substantial coverage. Sonitrol recently completed the installation of a network based camera system utilizing HD IP cameras with the capability to view live and recorded footage. Approximately sixty-five cameras were installed throughout the entire district. The new IP Sonitrol cameras are capable of zooming in clearly on not only live, but recorded footage and have proved very valuable in even the short time they have been utilized. The system installed is modular and as time and budget allows is capable to upgrade, add additional or replace existing older equipment. Health monitoring and connecting to the existing verified panic systems allows Sonitrol operators to view a potential threat in real time and notify responding law enforcement were features no other competitors could offer.
Our STLP (Student Technology Leadership Program) in Simpson County Schools continues to grow and be a huge success. The Student Technology Leadership Program uses project-based learning to empower students to use technology to learn and achieve. The Mission of STLP is to advance the individual capabilities of students, to motivate all students, and to create leadership opportunities through the use of technology.
STLP focuses on the following:
- Developing activities that enhance the academic, social and emotional growth of the student.
- Providing leadership opportunities for all students.
- Experiencing multi-age collaboration by forming innovative learning partnerships.
- Forming learning partnerships between students with different technology skills.
- Developing activities that benefit communities.
- Developing instructional activities, which integrate technology and benefit the school and support the Kentucky Education Technology System (KETS).
This past fall, students from FSHS, FSMS, LES, SES and FES competed at the Regional Student Technology Leadership Program Fall Showcase at Western Kentucky University. Several of our teams advanced to the State STLP Championship which was held at the University of Kentucky’s Rupp Arena this past spring and received many awards/trophies for their showcases. This is a great opportunity for Simpson County students to participate in project-based learning that builds 21st century technology skills and encourages technology use in the classroom.
The Simpson County Schools hosted our third annual “STEAM” technology showcase April 19th, 2016. STEAM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math. It was a huge success! Students K-12 participated in displays, presentations and projects showcasing 21