RCS hosts superintendent tour

Educators from across the state visit RCS to learn about its Going G.LO.B.A.L. Initiative.
Sep. 19, 2013 @ 10:33 AM

"This is awesome. We love visitors and it's good to know that people across the state want to model what we are doing," Brad Teague, principal of East Rutherford High School (ERHS) said Wednesday.

The school opened its doors to superintendents, chief academic officers and instructional technology facilitators from across North Carolina as part of a Superintendent Study Tour on Wednesday. The tour was sponsored by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) and the theme was "Keeping Teaching and Learning at the Forefront of Your Technology Initiatives."

Rutherford County Schools (RCS) was chosen to be a part of the tour series because of its Going G.L.O.B.A.L. (Growing Learning Opportunities Beyond All Limits) Initiative.

The personnel that attended were given a tour by student ambassadors and had the opportunity to learn more about the initiative through classroom visits, discussions with students, teachers and leadership.

"I hope they see the good instruction that is taking place everyday in our schools during this visit," RCS Superintendent Janet Mason said. "We have great things happening in our classrooms and we want them to see those things and want to implement it in their districts."

According to NCDPI, the tours will provide the opportunity to explore strategies for leading digital teaching and learning initiatives with a focus on curriculum and instruction.

"We think technology has the ability to open up more rigorous learning for all kids. We recognize that with the technology, students are more active learners," said Rebecca Garland, chief academic officer for NCDPI, as she was touring ERHS. "The technology is wonderful here and we wish more local communities could figure out a way to make it happen."

RCS began working on the Going G.L.O.B.A.L. Initiative in 2008 with a goal to eventually supply all teachers and students in grades 6-12 with their own laptops. It was first implemented on a small scale at Rutherford Early College High School in 2009 and today all of the schools are using the technology.

"We are pursuing a one-to-one initiative in Burke County with our middle and high schools. I came on the tour today to see what it looked like in action," said Debbie Dale, instructional technology facilitator with Burke County Schools. "I think technology transfers student learning. These 21st century kids expect to have this technology and we have to provide it to them."

Once the tour of ERHS was complete, the group headed to the Cool Springs Administrative Building for lunch and an informational panel made up of Renee Collins, director of secondary education; Donna Hensley, instructional technology facilitator; Sonja Smith, director of instructional technology; Benny Hendrix, chief operating officer; John-Mark Bennett, chair of RCS Board of Education; David Sutton, assistant superintendent, Mason and Teague. Members of the panel talked about how the one-to-one initiative was successfully implemented in Rutherford County and answered questions from the audience.

"I visited here when the system was first starting their program. Now it's great to come back and see the amazing progress," said Glenn Kleiman of the William and Ida Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at North Carolina State University. "They've done a great job and it's very good to see how engaged the students are."