Quakertown, Southern Lehigh and Salisbury will serve as models for other districts.
Three area school districts are among 20 nationwide selected as leaders in education technology by Project Red, a research effort founded by Intel .
Quakertown Community, Southern Lehigh and Salisbury school districts were chosen from among more than 1,000 surveyed to serve as Signature Districts based on their innovative use of technology in the classroom, the districts said.
Project Red is dedicated to helping school districts increase student achievement while reducing costs through the use of existing and emerging technology. It is sponsored by Intel, The Pearson Foundation and Smart Technologies.
As part of the effort, Project Red conducted a national study of education technology in 2010 to find out how technology impacts student performance and which innovations work better than others, according to the non-profit’s website.
Among the key findings: that a 1:1 ratio of student to computer works best as long as districts are also doing such things as properly training teachers and incorporating technology in core subjects on a weekly basis.
All three area districts have invested in technology, including laptop computers and other devices, to put the tools into students’ hands over the past three years.
Last year, Southern Lehigh implemented a 1:1 Macbook ratio for high school students, and has a 2:1 student-to-computer ratio for the rest of the district, according to Ken Jordan, elementary education and instructional technology director for Southern Lehigh.
Salisbury is in its second year of upgrading technology, including a 1:1 laptop ratio for students, and Quakertown is in its fourth year of rolling out district-wide technology including an in-house cyber program, Virtual High School program and 1:1 laptop initiative at the high school.
“Of the 1,000 districts surveyed, Pearson developed a 1,400-point checklist of items districts should be doing, which is further distilled to 10 key initiatives. We are already doing a lot of those things,” said Tom Murray, director of cyber education and technology for Quakertown Community School District.
As Signature Districts, Salisbury, Southern Lehigh And Quakertown will receive support and guidance from Project Red.
They will be encouraged to align their efforts with research-based strategies developed by Project Red, according to the non-profit’s website.
For three years, each district will publish its findings to the Signature District community and will serve as best-practice models for other districts interested in successful technology planning.
As part of the effort, each district is grouped into “cohorts” based on size and where the districts are in their technology development plans.
Quakertown’s cohort includes districts in Iowa and Idaho, Michigan and Missouri, and Murray said there’s a lot to be learned from those outside the area.
Southern Lehigh and Salisbury are part of a cohort that includes a district in Missouri, according to Randy Ziegenfuss, Salisbury’s assistant superintendent.
Salisbury currently has a 2:1 ratio of laptops at the elementary schools, and 1:1 for secondary students.
“Our current technology plan saves $60,000 a year, which is significant,” Ziegenfuss said.
Area administrators agree being selected by Project Red is an honor, and being part of a network of public educators from across the U.S. has several advantages.
“Much of the contact I have on a daily basis now is with people in Idaho and Iowa, so what we can share and learn from each other is pretty huge. Even five years ago, that would not have been possible,” Murray said.
“We are all working toward the same things, like increasing student achievement and reducing our costs,” Ziegenfuss said.
Murray and Ziegenfuss said the Project Red selection process was rigorous, with a number of elimination rounds.
“For our three districts to be included in this out of 20 from across the country is significant, and I believe it says something about our commitment to student achievement and preparing students for the 21st century here in Pennsylvania,” Ziegenfuss said.
Strategic allies to benefit from Project RED expertise, resources and one another
Mason, MI. September 18, 2012 – As the leader in 1:1 technology implementation research, Project RED has made a commitment to bring its research practices to action. As part of this commitment, the organization has selected 10 districts to become Project RED Signature Districts. Through a competitive application process, these districts were chosen to receive support and guidance for 1:1 education technology implementations.
During the 2012-2013 school year, Project RED will offer the Signature Districts customized guidance and collaboration opportunities to learn from each other. Project RED will review each Signature District’s technology implementation plan and help the districts to align their plans to the research-based strategies of the Project RED Design™, a blueprint for implementing technology-based school reform. Districts will then publish findings to the Signature District community for a period of three years and will become best-practice models for other districts.
“We know that districts are challenged by large-scale project planning,” said Tom Greaves, a member of the Project RED Team. “The Project RED Design™ will provide the entire Community with both tools and a timeline for implementation. The Signature District teams will get extra help with the 1,000-line Gantt chart through our mentoring process.”
The participating districts are:
• East Noble School Corporation, IN
• Ferndale School District, WA
• Kuna School District, ID
• Natick Public Schools, MA
• Owensboro Public Schools, KY
• Reeds Springs, MO
• Richland School District Two, SC
• Salisbury Township Schools, PA
• Southern Lehigh, PA
• Sunnyside School District, AZ
According to Leslie Wilson, Project RED Team Member, “These 10 signature districts have made a definitive commitment to improve student learning and provide personalized instruction through a meaningful integration of technology, ongoing professional development and administrator support. We were impressed with their initial plans and look forward to helping them use outcomes of our research to move their initiatives to the next level.”
The results of the Signature District efforts will be promulgated widely so that other districts may take advantage of the practical research resulting from this unique partnership. In addition, 10 more districts will be selected for this prestigious program. Applications are still being accepted at www.projectred.org.
About Project RED
In 2010, Project RED conducted a survey of technology programs in 1,000 U.S. schools, which is the first and only national research focusing on academic results and the financial implication of education technology. The research shows that, if effectively implemented, technology programs can lead to improved student achievement and significant return on investment. Based on those findings, Project RED has created a replicable design for school districts to make the best possible use of technology in a learning environment, leading to improved student achievement and significant return on investment.
Project RED offers a variety of ways districts can benefit from its research, including in-person Institutes held this year November 15-16, 2012 in Auburn, Alabama and December 3-4, 2012 in River Edge, New Jersey, in addition to a series of 10 implementation webinars, online tools and resources, and its Signature District program. Learn more at www.ProjectRED.org. Most of these resources are offered at low or no cost to educators because of sponsor support.
Intel Corporation is the founding sponsor of Project RED. Lead sponsors for 2012-2013 are Hewlett-Packard and Intel. Additional sponsors include SMART Technologies and the Pearson Foundation.
About the Sponsors
• Intel Corporation
Intel is a world leader in computing innovation and the lead sponsor of Project RED. The company designs and builds the essential technologies that serve as the foundation for the world’s computing devices. Additional information about Intel is available at newsroom.intel.com and blogs.intel.com.
HP creates new possibilities for technology to have a meaningful impact on people, businesses, governments and society. The world’s largest technology company, HP brings together a portfolio that spans printing, personal computing, software, services and IT infrastructure to solve customer problems. More information about HP is available at http://www.hp.com.
• SMART Technologies
SMART Technologies Inc. is a leading provider of collaboration solutions that transform the way the world works and learns. As the global leader in interactive whiteboards, SMART Technologies brings more than two decades of collaboration research and development to a broad range of easy-to-use, integrated solutions. More information is available at http://www.smarttech.com
• Pearson Foundation
The Pearson Foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization that aims to make a difference by promoting literacy, learning and great teaching. The Pearson Foundation collaborates with leading businesses, nonprofits and education experts to share good practice; foster innovation; and find workable solutions to the educational disadvantages facing young people and adults across the globe. More information on the Pearson Foundation can be found at http://www.pearsonfoundation.org.