Moving forward with Technology

Published 6:57 am Saturday, January 20, 2018

By Rickie R. Harris

In my last editorials I shared West Orange –Cove’s Strategic Plan’s Mission, Vision, Beliefs, and Goals. Our Vision is “Empowering Lives Through Excellence Every Day!” Our Mission is “In partnership with our community, our mission is to transform lives through an exceptional educational experience.” At our core, we believe:

  • That families are an integral part of the education process.
  • In our tradition of excellence.
  • That diversity is valued.
  • That learning should be our highest priority.
  • That faith is the foundation of our community.
  • That teachers are foundational to student success.

Through our strategic goals, West Orange – Cove CISD will:

  1. Promote a positive image.
  2. Maintain a quality staff.
  3. Provide opportunities to increase family involvement.
  4. Upgrade technology throughout the system.
  5. Enhance programs to meet individualized student needs.

Previously, I communicated our progress in the areas of promoting a positive image and maintaining a quality staff. Today I will share our accomplishments and goals associated with updating technology throughout our system.

This year, the district added the position of an Instructional Technology Specialist. It provides one-on-one instructional guidance for teachers to integrate current teaching tools such as Smart Boards, Chromebooks and current software and applications into the curriculum. The position also leads group training for new software and initiatives that involve technology. It also produces professional development videos for staff, students and parents; and, trains parents on the use of district software.

Another technology advancement is that all of our teachers have a laptop to use with mobile technology. These laptops are on a five-year refresh cycle so that they will work with current classroom equipment.

During the last 18 months, WOC placed approximately 500 Chromebooks in our classrooms. Chromebooks are a durable, fast booting, highly manageable laptop-like devices for students to use with on-line learning. These deployments include in classrooms and mobile lab carts.

Technology also replaced all the wireless access points in the district with the latest and fastest version of wireless to support our Chromebook initiative. West Orange – Stark Elementary School received almost 100 access points and all campuses will continue to see an expansion.

Additionally, we upgraded the district’s incoming internet bandwidth from 60 Mbps in 2015-2016, 200 Mbps in 2016-2017, and now 500 Mbps in 2017-2018.

Current on-going technology projects which are scheduled for completion this spring include:

  • Installation of 100+ cameras at the Elementary and North.
  • Replacement of High and Middle School camera servers to accommodate new cameras.
  • Installation of a new High School computer lab.
  • Installation of interactive projectors in five elementary classrooms and interactive touch panels at the High School math department.

Later this year, the technology department will also complete the expansion of wireless access points in high device areas of campuses for improved performance.

Our strategic plan’s upcoming goals include the full implementation of 1:1 technology utilizing Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) as well as school purchased equipment. Our plans are also to place interactive panels in all core classroom areas. Plus, we will also continue to integrate and foster new technology in the classroom.

We believe in John Maxwell’s philosophy that “One is too small a number to achieve greatness.” I look forward to sharing our progress on another strategic goal in my next editorial. In the meantime, we are “Empowering Lives Through Excellence Every Day!”

Go Mustangs!

Rickie R. Harris is the Superintendent at West Orange – Cove CISD.