Mt. Greylock Technology Plan
The Mount Greylock Regional School District’s mission “is to serve its communities by helping all students progress toward responsible citizenship through an educationally challenging environment.” Four graduation proficiencies exemplify how students will meet this mission. Students will become creative and practical problem solvers who can identify a problem, develop a strategy for resolution and evaluate the solution. Students will become thoughtful and effective communicators who express ideas clearly and accurately to a variety of audiences utilizing multiple modes of expression. Students will become collaborative and responsible community participants who work to identify and achieve group goals, demonstrate effective interpersonal skills, and contribute to the well-being of the group or community. Students will become self-directed learners who demonstrate an awareness of their own thinking, push the limits of their own knowledge and evaluate the effectiveness of their own actions. The effective and creative use of technology significantly impacts the ways students acquire and demonstrate each of the intended proficiencies.
We are committed to providing a quality educational environment that recognizes diversity in student backgrounds, individual learning styles, and varying abilities. It is the responsibility of the school community to provide a positive learning environment that is fostered through mutual respect and dignity. The use of technology by teachers helps meet individualized learning needs of students. Students can also effectively demonstrate what they have learned when taught a variety of technological skills.
The Massachusetts Department of Education issued benchmarks so that each district’s technology plan would develop a series of goals and action steps in response to the following:
- Commitment to a Clear Vision and Mission Statement
- Technology Integration
- Technology Professional Development
- Accessibility of Technology
- Infrastructure for Connectivity
- Access to the Internet outside the School Day
Our plan responds to each of these benchmarks with a major emphasis placed on the need to continue and expand professional development opportunities for staff so that they can effectively enhance student learning by integrating technology into the curriculum. Today our teachers are being asked to address twenty-first century international competition with far too many teaching, learning and management tools designed for industrial age schools. The new "basic skills" for the 21st century will require students to have the ability to access, analyze and communicate information obtained from media enriched sources effectively. These 21st century information processing skills will enable our students to assume a productive role in an information age that is integral to our global economy. Our ability to provide opportunities that will allow for a new vision of how students and staff learn, how teachers teach, and how technology facilitates both will contribute to the future success of our school system.
In an attempt to keep our technology plan as a viable working document we have used our School Council and SIP process in key sections to set goals with corresponding action steps so that we can monitor and evaluate our progress. The technology plan’s goals in the areas of Curriculum Integration, Professional Development, Accessibility and Infrastructure will be revisited regularly as part of our assessment and evaluation process.
After evaluation the status of each goal will be determined as completed, on-going or in need of revision. Technology planning is an on-going process that will require us to set new goals during the life of the plan as we evaluate our progress and as technology and funding opportunities change.
To achieve significant progress toward building tomorrow’s school, a systemic approach must be used to integrate and simultaneously address three concepts -- active learning, schools as learning communities, and integrated technology. If technology is to have a substantial and lasting impact, it must be used in ways that reflect an important new understanding of learning. Educators and cognitive psychologists have developed this new view during the past two decades. We must view learning as the active construction of meaning and understanding by the learner rather than a passive assimilation of information. Teachers need to emphasize the importance of intrinsic curiosity, social interaction and the pursuit of complex projects and genuine problems in the learning environment.
In addition to new concepts of learning, new models of school organization have evolved in recent years. These seek to establish schools as learning communities. Since Mount Greylock contains grades 7-12, we operate both a middle school and high school in the same building. The scheduling and efficient staffing requires the assistance of new management software applications. The business office of a school district also has new and more demanding auditing requirements which only newer software can effectively handle. These new models stress the importance of interaction among students, teachers, parents, and the community as they work dynamically together for the benefit of the entire community. New patterns of organizing people, more flexible space, and flexible schedules will enable us to use technology to its fullest potential for student learning. New administrative software databases facilitate scheduling and parental communications about attendance and achievement. A school website and e-mail services are essential tools for effective staff, parent, and community communications.
Information technology is essential to creating new models of schooling. It must be transparent to the user as well as integrated as a tool into a wide range of learning activities. It must be used in the classroom where students and teachers have immediate access when necessary. New electronic devices will transform our learning and teaching practices far beyond those that have been utilized to date. With them, schools will provide learning experiences which are active and stress cooperative team-work, involve complex levels of thinking, focus on solving real world problems, increase interaction with people in other parts of the world, and approach learning in an interdisciplinary holistic manner.
Mount Greylock has several on-going committees following-up on different aspects of our Strategic Plan to keep a vision of what the school district ought to achieve over the next three to five years. Strategic Planning Committees deal with facilities, curriculum, professional development and the future of technology as it relates to teaching and learning. The Building Committee has completed a feasibility study for the future renovation and construction of the infrastructure. This project will address learning space design and technological upgrades. The SBNA has recently approved emergency repair funds for projects totaling $2,000,000. The Long-Range Financial Planning Sub-committee is looking into the financial sustainability of rigorous academic programs. The School Council has made technology upgrade recommendations a priority in our most recent School Improvement Plan. By coordinating the work of these various committees, the Mount Greylock faculty, administration, and parents should have a clear picture of the role technology should play in the ongoing life of the district.
DOE Benchmark Standard 1: – Commitment to a Clear Vision and Mission Statement
The district’s technology plan contains realistic and clearly stated goals and strategies that align with the school improvement plan; it is committed to achieving its vision by the end of the school year 2017-2018.
A. Mount Greylock continues to upgrade the technological hardware in our classrooms and integrate the use of essential software across the curriculum to better meet instructional needs. We purchased several wireless mobile laptop carts to assist teachers differentiate classroom instruction. There is also a commitment to improve parent communications with a new website and teacher web-pages. The administration has also implemented new management software to open our data on scheduling, attendance, and grading to our parents from their home computers. The PTO continues to partner with the district to fund new initiatives and seek grants from identified sources to insure that we reach our objectives. Professional development has also been targeted to go along with the hardware and software acquisitions to insure that students in all programs benefit from this focus on technology.
B. Mount Greylock has several faculty, parents, and students serving on technology focused sub-committees. Because the district relies on funds from parents and local grants, several stakeholders play a meaningful role in addressing hardware, software and other technology purchases. These committees meet monthly to address technology objectives and develop plans to address ways to meet the skill acquisition needs of staff and students. The district’s technology projected budget is established based on anticipated federal and state appropriations, grants, E-Rate, and the parent group’s fund-raising efforts for the coming school year. As monies become available the projected budget is reassessed and reprioritized based on new technological developments and opportunities as they arise. Using grant resources in addition to budget monies, we are updating classroom LCD projectors, monitors, teacher workstations that are used in association with smart boards and LCD projectors to further enhance the learning environment. We continue to partner with Williams College to secure high quality recycled computers and technology.
C. Mount Greylock has a locally funded budget for technology updates and acquisitions. It is revisited yearly with stakeholders and the School Committee to consider recommendations to meet the ever-changing technology needs of the district. The district funds an IT Specialist and an audio-visual media specialist. The local budget will support hardware upgrades and software license renewals. The local budget will also help fund infrastructure upgrades, professional development, and website, webmaster, and administrative software purchases. The PTO continues to partner on additional expansion efforts.
D. Mount Greylock uses the local budget and additional funding resources to support hardware, software and software site-license purchases. Grant resources are utilized by all departments at Mount Greylock to supplement the local budget. The use of all local budget and grant funds are coordinated to achieve common goals. All curriculum leaders made a common presentation about technology needs to the School Committee during the early stages of the budget process. The result was the acquisition of LCD projectors, technology lab expansions and hardware upgrades.
DOE Benchmark Standard 2:- Technology Integration
A. Teacher and Student Use of Technology
- All teachers (100%) use technology every day to access e-mail, correspond with other faculty and/ or share lesson plans, enter attendance into our SIS, and to communicate with parents through email. In addition, this year all of the teachers will be trained to use PowerSchool for daily attendance and our networked grading program. Parents will be given passwords during the year to access data on their child’s grades and attendance.
- A majority of our teachers (90%) use technology with students in the following areas weekly: research, multimedia presentations, simulations, data interpretation, communication and collaboration.
- A majority of our students (98%) reach technical proficiency by the 10th grade as a result of lab and course opportunities.
- Our teachers are working towards meeting higher technology proficiency levels by the end of the school year.
- Mount Greylock has an Acceptable Use Policy that is posted on own school website and distributed annually to all students in grades 7-12 who must sign and return it before they are allowed access to the school network.
- Each year we survey the departments for technological needs for the upcoming school year. Each department submits a prioritized list of their requests for equipment, training and software. A technology advisory committee composed of curriculum leaders and administrators then prioritizes the lists school wide to develop a technology plan for that year.
- Mount Greylock has a full-time IT Specialist who maintains the district’s computer infrastructure and assists with in-house, EPIMS and SIMS data management responsibilities. New software upgrades and firewall and security protections are coordinated through this person.
- Mount Greylock has 2 FTE instructional technology teachers offering instruction as part of the business and computer departments.
- Mount Greylock has an IT Specialist working as network administrator and assists with all other delegated aspects of the EPIMS, SIMS, and Data Warehouse data management and assessment responsibilities.
DOE Benchmark Standard 3: Technology Professional Development
A. The staff at Mount Greylock has participated in many different technology professional development programs. We have been successful in bringing high quality technology integration professional development to faculty across all academic areas. Technology training has also included Web page building and design, messaging, Smart Board, E-beam, ELMO use, Geo-sketch board, hand-held calculator use, PowerSchool scheduling, attendance and grading features and the use of the Data Warehouse for MCAS data analysis.
B. Mount Greylock offers PD in Smart Board usage, web page design, TurnItIn.com writing software and PowerSchool grade and attendance management, E-beam, ELMO, and Data Warehouse MCAS assessment. Training and curriculum integration is an ongoing process. Grant requests have been sent to Williams College to use their Howard Hughes science education funds to help bring scientific probe-ware into model science lab situations for students. Continued professional development is crucial to the success of technology integration and advancement for our school.
C. Mount Greylock will continue to assess our teacher’s needs for professional development. We will use the results of the MSAT survey to determine the direction of future Technological Professional Development training. The Professional Development Committee also assesses software and hardware needs for each department based on the Curriculum Frameworks.
DOE Benchmark Standard 4: Accessibility of Technology
A. Students per Instructional Computer
- Mount Greylock has been successful in achieving a ratio of @ 2.7:1 student to computer ratio. We have met the DOE standards for fully functioning Internet enabled computers as defined by the Department of Education. The need to continually upgrade our technology poses a real challenge to our small district.
- We currently make use of eight wireless mobile laptop labs on carts. Teachers sign the labs out for specific projects and time periods. We extensively utilize handheld graphing calculators as deemed appropriate to support the mathematics curriculum.
- We will continue to advocate for local funds, seek grants and accept quality donations in order to reach our replacement cycle goal of 20% each year.
- Local budget, grant funds and E-Rate monies are used to upgrade computers and purchase educational software. The district has a plan for a replacement cycle but the reality of the past few budget years has put us significantly behind schedule.
B. Technical Support
- Mount Greylock has a full time IT Specialist with network management responsibilities along with tech. support.
- Additional part-time support staff are brought in during the summer period to clean, upgrade, and re-image all the computers in the school prior to the start of the new academic year.
- Mount Greylock uses the part-time adult audio-visual media specialistfor support. Budget funds have not been sufficient to hire a dedicated technical support staff person.
DOE Benchmark Standard 5: Infrastructure for Connectivity
A. Internet Access
- · Mount Greylock provides a 25Mb fiber-optic line as connectivity to the Internet in all classrooms.
B. Networking LAN/ WAN
- All computers meet or exceed the minimum requirement of 100/1000 MB cat 5 switched accesses.
- Mount Greylock provides services for file sharing, backups, scheduling, email, and a web based SIS system, and updating of our school website for all staff.
- Parents can now remotely access our PowerSchool database to access their child’s grades, attendance and faculty comments.
C. E-Learning Environment
- Mount Greylock is partnering with Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and Berkshire Community College to explore possible on-line course opportunities.
- All Mount Greylock Juniors take the UMASS student placement ACCUPLACER exam on-line to guide Senior scheduling and college planning.
- The district has a license agreement with Streaming Video Services to bring supplementary video connections into instructional settings. The district has a satellite disk for video conferencing, though the system has been down for almost a year and requires funding to become active again.
- Faculty is beginning to utilize e-learning opportunities in a limited number of courses. More needs to be done in this area.
DOE Benchmark Standard 6: Access to the Internet outside of the School Day
A. Mount Greylock put on-line a website that is more easily maintained and updated daily. Every educator has an Internet account with the capability of sending e-mail documents to the site for easy posting. Teachers also have the capability of maintaining individual web pages for better communication with students and parents. Currently, all postings require knowledge of word processing which enhances the use of web communication. The new web software gives all staff easy options for posting and up-dating personal course information.
B. Mount Greylock opens its library to our students for after-school work. Additionally, the local libraries and Williams College grant our students use of their library and lab facilities.
C. The district’s website contains several links to academic tools and / research information needed to more effectively communicate instructional expectations to students and their parents.
D. Parents can access their child’s attendance data, grades, and homework assignments on-line from home. Access to data is password protected.
- Continue to evaluate hardware and software needs and try to accelerate the current computer replacement plan.
- Upgrade and revise administrative PowerSchool software needed for in-house scheduling, attendance and report cards as well as remote parent access.
- Continue acquisition of LCD projectors, Geo-sketch pads, ELMO devices, and smart boards. Acquisition needs to come with planned training for end users.
- Upgrade our business software program to interface with DOE and DOR requirements.
- Continue to utilize on-line access to UMASS testing and placement programs.
- Upgrade and expand instructional software in our new Pathways course options for students interested in web-applications and business programs to be able to access post-secondary course options.
- Provide training for our new web based software to expedite student and parent communications and make available to the public on-going highlights concerning the district’s educational progress.
- Continue to administer the TSAT to accurately assess all the instructional needs of the faculty.
- Upgrade server hardware.
- Phase out old printing technologies and replace with new-generation multi-function laser printers and/or direct copier connections.
- Provide training for Web based access for Students and parents in order to access student information, such as homework assignments and recommended readings.
- Expand training and resources to faculty for the creation of teacher websites.