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Technology is the key to the future for Washington County students

Jessica Fuller • Apr 10, 2018 at 9:36 AM

For educators, attention is always focused on the future. 

It’s no different for officials in Washington County. Now in her third year as director of schools for the county, Kimber Halliburton said that her department is always looking for ways to give students an edge in a world that is constantly being molded by the evolution of technology. 

“People used to say, ‘We don’t even know what careers will be out there 50 years from now,’” Halliburton said. “I would say today we don’t even know what careers are going to be out there 10 years from now as a result of technology.

“We’re providing an education today for jobs that might not even be here today and we don’t even know what those look like.” 

While the department celebrated being marked as an exemplary school district last year and has seen a steady increase in critical standardized test scores over the past few years, Halliburton said there are still some big goals the department hopes to reach moving forward. Some of those goals include improving reading scores for third and fourth grades, ACT scores and graduation scores. 

A key that will help achieve those goals moving forward, Halliburton said, is technology. Through her Washington Way vision, Halliburton said she and the school board have worked to improve technology in classrooms across the county by increasing the student-to-device ratio and introducing auditory enhancement technology in all K-5 classrooms, more recently extending the upgrade to sixth- and seventh-grade classrooms in the county. 

Washington County looks to the International Society for Technology in Education standards for guidance in equipping students with technology and the knowledge to use it. With new apps and programs introduced to the digital world every day, those standards help guide educators equip their students with that knowledge.

“It’s a really fast-changing world and we have to equip our students to be ready for it,” Halliburton said. “Students need to be able to when they approach a problem they need to know what device is going to get them to the answer and garner the best results.”

In addition to preparing students for the future, technology also aids teachers to be able to cater to each student’s learning speed. Instead of turning a math book to one page and having the whole class work from that page, programs on laptops and tablets allow students to work closer to their own pace. 

“I really believe in a variety of instructional approaches,” she said. “We don’t ever want to be guilty of putting students in front of a screen all day, no one takes the place of a quality teacher. At the same time the technology gives us one more approach.” 

Washington County student success rates grades 3-5, Annual Measurable Objectives 

Student Groups  On track/mastered prior —2017 On track/mastered 2018 target
All students 46.3 percent 49.7 percent
Economically disadvantaged 34.8 percent 38.9 percent
Students with disabilities  20.6 percent 25.6 percent
Black/Hispanic/Native American 33.2 percent 37.4 percent

Washington County student success rates grades 6-8, Annual Measurable Objectives

 

Student Groups On track/mastered – 2017  On track/mastered 2018 target
All students 58.0 percent 60.6 percent
Economically disadvantaged 43.7 percent 47.2 percent
Students with disabilities 17.2 percent 22.4 percent
Black/Hispanic/Native American 45.0 percent 48.4 percent

 

 

 

Email Jessica Fuller at jfuller@johnsoncitypress.com. Follow Jessica on Twitter @fullerjf91. Like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jfullerJCP.





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