Education is the key to America’s economic growth and prosperity and to our ability to compete in the global economy. It is the path to good jobs and higher earning power for Americans. It is necessary for our democracy to work. It fosters the cross-border, cross-cultural collaboration required to solve the most challenging problems of our time.
Under the Obama administration, education has become an urgent priority driven by two clear goals. By 2020:
- We will raise the proportion of college graduates from where it now stands [39%] so that 60% of our population holds a 2-year or 4-year degree.
- We will close the achievement gaps so that all students – regardless of race, income, or neighborhood – graduate from high school ready to succeed in college careers (emphasis added).
These are aggressive goals and achieving them is a sizable challenge. Add to the challenge the projections of most states and the federal governments reduced revenues for the foreseeable future, and it is clear we need cost-effective and cost-saving strategies that improve learning outcomes and graduation rates for millions of Americans.
Specifically, we must embrace innovation, prompt implementation, regular evaluation, and continuous improvement…1
1Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology, Draft National Educational Technology Plan 2010, Executive Summary, March 5, 2010. Office of Educational Technology, U.S. Department of Education. http://www.ed.gov/sites/default/files/NETP-2010-exec-summary.pdf
Newport News Public Schools is not only aware of this "sizable challenge" but has embraced the call to action as outline in its 2010-2013, Agenda for Public Education. A Strategic Plan for College, Career and Citizen-Ready Graduates.
The power of the plan lies in its clear vision: College, Career and Citizen-Ready Graduates.
To realize the vision of college, career and citizen-ready graduates in NNPS, the Academic Agenda for 2010-2013 includes three benchmarks for student achievement and development:
Achievement - Student success as measured by satisfactory test scores meeting state and national standards.
Advancement - Student success as measured by exemplary academic performance which exceeds state and national standards.
Youth Development - Student success as measured by appropriate behavior and engagement in academics and activities.
Our Goals, Objectives and Strategies
Both the NNPS and DOE Educational Technology Plans are aligned with the NNPS Agenda for Public Education. The NNPS Tech Plan has incorporated DOE’s five stated goals. These goals and the Agenda for Public Education provided the foundation for our work as we developed our technology plan.
Provide a safe, flexible, and effective learning environment for all students. This goal supports all three division benchmarks.
Engage students in meaningful curricular content through the purposeful and effective use of technology. Ensuring that technology is integrated within the curriculum is one of our key objectives (2.1) and supports the Academic Agenda.
Afford students with opportunities to apply technology effectively to gain knowledge, develop skills, and create and distribute artifacts that reflect their understanding. Again, this goal is well aligned with all three benchmarks. As an example, students will communicate and collaborate with their peers within NNPS and around the world (strategy 3.2).
Provide students with access to authentic and appropriate tools to gain knowledge, develop skills, extend capabilities, and create and disseminate artifacts that demonstrate their understandings. NNPS is committed to maintaining a robust infrastructure that provides reliable access to necessary tools. By maintaining this infrastructure, NNPS can remain focused on its three benchmarks.
Use technology to support a culture of data-driven decision-making that relies upon data to assess and improve teaching and learning. NNPS has enterprise level software and hardware systems that can support a data driven organization. Program level reviews will identify what works and therefore what should be scaled up district wide as well as what does not work and therefore what should be eliminated. Since the infrastructure is in place, we can focus on effectively using this data to have a positive impact on teaching and learning, continuous professional development (strategy 5.1.2), as well as financial resiliency.