Public Smart School Program Expands
Utah Speaker of the House Becky Lockhart, Governor’s Office of Economic Development, Educators and State Legislators Gather to Launch Whole School Technology
Speaker of the House Becky Lockhart and Utah Senator Jerry Stevenson along with representatives from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED), principal Jarod Sites from Dixon Middle School in Provo, Utah, and iSchool Campus executives, today launched the third of three pilot Smart Schools in Utah. The pilot was authorized by the legislature during last year’s legislative session.
The Smart School Technology Program encourages the deployment of whole-school technology in Utah’s public schools. During today’s event, each student and teacher at Dixon Middle School received an iPad to facilitate 21st century learning. The technology program will help the students develop the critical digital and technology skills needed to compete and thrive in a global digitally driven economy. The completion of the Dixon Middle School deployment marks one of the first of its kind in a public school setting nationwide.
Based on SB 248, sponsored by Senator Jerry Stevenson and Representative Stephen Handy, the Smart School Technology Program provides the following deployment features in each school: comprehensive wireless infrastructure, an Apple iPad for every student and teacher, flat screen TVs with device mirroring technology, MacBook computers in every classroom, internet security, software and professional development for teachers, administrators and school technology offices. Of the 40 schools that applied, three were selected through an application process conducted by the Utah State Office of Education. The schools selected for the pilot program are Dixon Middle School, North Sevier High School and Gunnison Valley Elementary.
“We need to break the old mold we’re using to teach our children. We need our kids to be able to access the world of possibilities around them in a way that makes sense to them, and in ways in which they excel; the Smart School approach provides that,” Speaker Lockhart said. “Not only will our students have what they need, but teachers will be provided with additional tools and resources to engage students in the learning process. It is only when students, teachers and parents move forward together that we see amazing things happen. Utahns know how to work hard. This will be a way for us to work smarter.”
“The legislature has shown great vision in bringing together partners in government, education and the private sector to provide our teachers and students with access to the best technology,” said Christopher M. Conabee, GOED managing director of business services. “Students win and Utah wins when our students finish school with technology based job skills. Our future workforce, in today’s classrooms, will be more innovative and technology literate than any previous generation in history.”
Currently the State and private sector and the education community have set an ambitious goal with its Prosperity 2020 initiative to have 66 percent of Utah’s workforce holding an advanced degree or certificate of training. Students who are prepared in K-12 with high-level training will be better prepared to advance their education and work skills.
“The Smart School deployment has generated enormous enthusiasm among teachers, parents and students in our school,” stated Jarod Sites principal at Dixon Middle School. “Our students are extremely passionate about this program, and have already begun to facilitate individual learning and to collaborate in unique and creative ways. We feel students do best when they are engaged in the learning process, and Smart School technology definitely brings that concept to life.”
Through a Request for Proposal (RFP) process, local technology company iSchool Campus was selected as the vendor to provide and implement the comprehensive technology. iSchool CEO William Nixon stated, “An educated workforce is crucial for a prosperous economy. We are thrilled to be part of this exciting initiative to provide students and teachers with the opportunity to learn through innovative and imaginative methods. The Smart School approach allows Utah students to develop the critical learning skills they will need to be competitive when they enter college and the workforce.”
The Smart School Technology Program also includes professional development and ongoing support for teachers, robust wireless infrastructure, safe and secure web filtering so students can work with their devices at home, and proprietary software to connect students and teachers.
About the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED)http://www.business.utah.gov/
The Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) charter is based on Governor Gary Herbert’s commitment to economic development statewide. Utah’s economic development vision is that Utah will lead the nation as the best performing economy and be recognized as a premier global business destination. The mandate for this office is to provide rich business resources for the creation, growth and recruitment of companies to Utah and to increase tourism and film production in the state. GOED accomplishes this mission through the administration of programs that are based around targeted industries or “economic clusters” that demonstrate the best potential for development. GOED utilizes state resources and private sector contracts to fulfill its mission. For more information please contact: Michael Sullivan, 801-538-8811 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About iSchool Campus
iSchool Campus is a next generation “Smart School” provider, with offices in Utah and Washington D.C., that focuses on the individual student while empowering the inspiring teacher. Founded in early 2011, iSchool enhances K-12 student engagement and learning by providing a complete Smart School system that integrates one-to-one mobile devices, such as the iPad, and a variety of other technology-based teaching tools. iSchool designs and builds collaborative whole-school learning environments and integrates them with 21st century technology to promote innovation and foster imagination in the classroom. iSchool is committed to being ahead of the curve and remaining at the cutting edge of learning technology and educator support.