DCSD completes one-to-one initiative

Students at St. John’s Elementary School hold their new iPads that they will use in their daily schoolwork and to complete special projects throughout the year. Photo by Melissa Rollins

By Melissa Rollins, Editor, editor@newsandpress.net

Technology is the future and Darlington County School District is preparing their students early to grab that future and run with it; as of Nov. 30 the entire school district is one-to-one, meaning that every student has access to an electronic device, such as a computer or tablet.

Acting Superintendent Dr. Bill Boyd said that district administration was happy to be giving out the last device and completing the initiative that has been several years in the making.

“We are absolutely excited to have our district one-to-one,” Boyd said. “I think this is great on the part of the board to have a vision for our children and this certainly gives them an opportunity to access the world and gives them an opportunity to learn in different ways. This is not a way of replacing the teachers but it is a resource for them.”

With a teacher shortage across the country, Boyd said that the technology initiative allows the district to be competitive in recruiting.

“A lot of teachers who come to our schools, they have been exposed to technology, ways of planning and so on,” Boyd said. “This will certainly give them a better opportunity for their instruction but will also help us with our recruitment.”

DCSD saw a drop in test scores this year, which has been partially attributed to students being unfamiliar with taking the tests with something other than paper and pencil. Boyd said that he hopes having more devices available to use in instruction will get students familiar with them and will take off some of the burden of testing.

“When students are not ready from a technological standpoint, to use the iPads, computers or whatever, it puts them at a disadvantage,” Boyd said. “Being used to using these technology pieces on a day-to-day basis, when it comes to testing they won’t be intimidated. I think its great.”

School Board member Connell Delaine said that he appreciates the support of the school community as well as the community-at-large for the multi-million dollar project.

“I want to thank the Darlington County School District administration for having the foresight to see this through,” Delaine said. “We have went through some changes lately but we are continuously moving forward in our curriculum and technology situation.”

Delaine said that technology is all around and students need to be familiar with it.

“In this world there is nowhere to hide from technology,” Delaine said. “I think our students are going to do a good job with our technology; they are excited. They got a good Christmas present and I think we’re going to see great things from our students with our technology system.”

DCSD Director of Technology, Diane Sigmon, said that the district and the school board have done more than just talk: they have put their money where their mouth is.

“It is such an honor to work in a place where you have a school board that leads with vision and they allow you to take that vision and put it into action,” Sigmon said. “We are fortunate that we have instructional staff that is working to build the capacity of teachers to take advantage of these tools in their classrooms. We are excited about the opportunities for personalized learning and engaging our students in preparing them to take the online assessment. That is a big shift for them and we know that nationwide that has had a negative impact on test scores. We want to be sure that our children are prepared and given as much opportunity to compete as possible.”

District Staff were on hand Nov. 30 as iPads were handed out to students at St. John’s Elementary School, completing the Darlington County School District one-to-one initiative.
Photo by Melissa Rollins

Author: Duane Childers

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