DeKalb County School District wins 2014-2015 digital survey award for cutting-edge technology

PRESS RELEASE >>

BrantleyDEKALB COUNTY, GA (April 2, 2015)— DeKalb County School District was amongst the top ten-ranking winners of the 2014-2015 Digital School Districts Survey Award. The District received 9th place in the Center for Digital Education’s and National School Boards Association’s 10th anniversary Digital School Districts Survey for the use of innovative technologies and fully implementing technology benchmarks in the evolution of digital education.

All U.S. public school districts were eligible to participate in the Digital School Districts Survey. DeKalb County School District has been a leader in technology and digital communication, and utilizes cutting-edge tools such as BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), STEM curriculum, flipped classroom instruction, and the Mobile App. The Mobile App, free to all stakeholders, launched in January 2014, and enables parents to stay up-to-date on District news, calendars, weather alerts, lunch menus, social media updates, Infinite Campus (parent portal) and more. Providing students with digital resources to enhance personal learning is a priority for DeKalb County School District.

Currently, all DeKalb schools are 100% wireless and continue to improve digital communication with students, parents and community, and improve the learning environment and district operations.

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Teachers, please let us know how these technologies are improving learning in your classrooms – we would love to hear some stories about these technologies: Bring your own device; STEM, flipped classroom instructin, etc. And parents, let us know how the Infinite Campus is going – we’ve heard it’s much better than the previous systems.

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Hosting a dialogue among parents, educators and community members focused on improving our schools and providing a quality, equitable education for each of our nearly 100,000 students. ~ "ipsa scientia potestas est" ~ "Knowledge itself is power"
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33 Responses to DeKalb County School District wins 2014-2015 digital survey award for cutting-edge technology

  1. http://www.centerdigitaled.com/awards/digital-districts/Top-Digital-School-Districts-2014-15.html

    “The survey recognizes exemplary school boards’ and districts’ use of technology to govern their district, communicate with students, parents and community and improve the learning environment and district operations.”

  2. Bucky Rogers says:

    “BYOD” is impossible when the wireless in the school buildings is off-limits to any device not owned by DCSD. I am actually somewhat taken aback at the suggestion that DCSD has been anything but hostile to the entire concept of BYOD. It would be especially helpful to have BYOD policies at non-Title-I schools where there aren’t even remotely enough DCSD-owned devices to go around, but because of the lockdown on wireless access, teachers and students there must pretend as if it’s 1994 all the time. In fairness, a lot of teachers recoil from the idea of BYOD anyway because they still see technology as something to ban instead of integrate. DCSD tacitly supports this approach because it means they don’t have to find a way to support a true integrated technology program.

    As far as “flipped classroom instruction” goes, for teachers to truly be able to regularly and easily record video lessons for their students, they would need access to laptops with cameras and microphones. (Shared equipment that has to be set up/taken down, checked out, synced, etc. is unrealistic for a teacher working with limited time.) The Lenovo desktop systems to which teachers are tied do not come equipped with cameras or microphones. Teachers who “flip” their classrooms have to do it at home with their own equipment, connected to their own wireless service, because they can’t even bring their own laptops into work.

    Meanwhile, let’s talk about the hideous joke that is the “eSchoolView” platform that teachers are supposed to use to create their class websites now that FirstClass is being phased out on April 30. eSchoolView is awkward, difficult to use, with extremely limited functionality, and teachers are expected to endure training for the system on their own time. If DCSD were out in front of ANYTHING as far as classroom tech goes, making an integrated online presence for each classroom would be a priority.

    If this is a legitimate award, what it tells me is I guess what we already knew: there are radical inequalities in our county. If any of the details of this award are true, there must be protected “nests” where students and teachers have real access to 2015-era tech, but I am unaware of where those nests might be.

  3. nannerpuddin39 says:

    This award is a joke…..

  4. Teachermom says:

    What Bucky said. Not even teachers have access to the wifi password in our school so we cannot upload apps without going through the overloaded media specialist. Computers take forever to boot up. Broken computers in computer lab, etc. this cannot be a legitimate award. If it is it may be based on “untruths.”

  5. brother dekalb says:

    So, is this award given due to the answers Brantley gave to the “Survey”? Lemme Guess: He is gunning to be named the next superintendent. LOL

  6. Counting the days says:

    Yes, we’re wireless, but with a small number of laptops available to check out for student use, why?

    Infinite Campus is a good system, but the implementation is flawed. I am one of 3 teacher/trainers in my building and I try to help teachers with their many questions, but my primary job is to be teaching students. I can’t just leave my class to troubleshoot when posting time rolls around!

    We have a number of students and parents who still can’t get IDs that work and one single person in our building that we are supposed to refer them all to.

  7. This and That says:

    At the first PTA meeting this year the parents were suppose to use the school tablets. But the tablets would not connect to the internet! So, yes, DCSD may have school-wide wireless internet. But if no one is given the password then we can’t use it.

  8. concerned citizen says:

    This “award” is pure nonsense! It is also very stupid to ask the teachers and parents of this pathetic school system to believe this “award” is real? Who is buying into this? Who is that in the picture, anyway?

  9. September says:

    How many classes can be reasonably expected to share one computer lab? How many iPad carts does a school need? Does an overcrowded classroom have enough space for three or four desktop computers? Are teachers getting adequate training? The decision makers in the IT department need to visit the schools to see how their decisions are working.

    Teachers should be able to log in a personal tablet or phone using their eid # and password. This doesn’t work on personal computers.

  10. Around the Water Cooler says:

    This article had to have come from “The Onion.” Or maybe, only nine school districts participated in the survey.

  11. Darren Smith says:

    Lets be fair folks. The technology 4 years ago was terrible. I do believe we are in a much better place. I work in portables and I can say that we now have working active boards and laptops. I do see positive change. I actually like what is going on within the technology department. Its not perfect but its a lot better. Infinite campus is great!

  12. Ronald says:

    The technology in my school is great. We love our ctss and the county has equipped us with tools we need. It’s a lot better. Oh we love infinite campus as well!

  13. kitteridgeschoolteacher says:

    We are one of the schools that has agreed to perform a pilot on BYOD. its going really well. the district office came out and worked with our staff. The students were all able to logon with their own devices. It has been pretty good so far. I am not sure about the award or what it was for but I can say I see a major difference as @Darren stated.

  14. September says:

    @ronald. We lost our CTSS when the school system moved the elementary CTSS staff out of the school buildings three years ago. When technology breaks or someone forgets their password we have to call the help desk or use the red telephone icon on the computer. A CTSS usually comes out that day or the next, but if the help desk phone is busy, you could wait quite a long time. Anyone want explain what BYOD is? How soon will the rest of us see it in our schools?

  15. How do portables have Wi-Fi unless the signal extends outside the physical building which means it isn’t very secure. Just sayin’!

  16. @ September
    BYOD is “bring your own device.”

  17. Weary Worker says:

    And Beverly Hall was named Superintendent of the Year, these awards are meaningless. Google “Teacher of the year and arrested” if you want a good laugh.

  18. frustrated says:

    Shocked that the administration allowed the Teacher of the Year ballot to include this individual when according to rumors this was not the first allegation. Somehow this has managed to stay out of the press.

  19. frustrateddekalbparent says:

    Is this a joke????? As others have said, no one has access to wifi in the schools my children attend unless you use a school issued device. In contrast, I recently attended an academic competition at a Fulton County school with one of my children and the principal of the school welcomed us to the school and gave the wi-fi password we could use as guests while in the building.

    One of my children has an accommodation to take the upcoming GA milestone test on a computer. I recently received an email from the school informing me that they expect widespread network outages and malfunctioning of the computers during the testing, and did I still want my child to take the test on the computer. What a mockery of this supposed award!

  20. former dekalb parent says:

    I just threw up a little…..

  21. Teachermom says:

    Yes there has been improvement. And no blame intended to the tech support folks. However, we came from awful to inconsistently mediocre. This award smells like PR for Thurmond and I am getting tired of hearing about his “accomplishments when so many problems and real issues lay unsolved and untouched. We all know what those are. Especially the teachers, and in turn the students they teach.

  22. Teacherleader says:

    I think their has been great improvement! Way to go DCSD!! I hope we continue to see things rolling in the right direction.

  23. So we are getting the feeling that ‘some’ schools are experiencing an improvement in technology, while others still wallow in inferior equipment and service. This is the story of DeKalb – inequity all around – and the continued focus on the successes of the ‘haves’ while virtually ignoring the have-nots, saying that have less because they do not advocate for their needs and their parents need to get more involved. Not true. Schools other than highly visible, successful ones like Kittredge are entitled to all the same classroom materials and support.

  24. kirklunde says:

    Teacherleader’s incorrect use of the word “their” reveals that person is a member of the F&F crowd. I’m guessing either Dr. Beasley or Mrs. Tyson.

    The award is not based on the realities of the classrooms in DeKalb. Obviously, someone believed what the administration responded in the survey without verification.

  25. Teacherleader says:

    @Lunde and we know this site is biased! The same suspects comment. 24 comments? Even if 50 comments were posted this still represents .000000000000001% of DeKalb county. You like to talk about reality? I think thats the reality.

  26. Actually, we get similar comment activity as the Get Schooled blog at the AJC. But you are right, teacherleader, very few people in this county are paying attention – or care. That’s how the corruption spreads. It’s essentially unchecked.

  27. Educationiskey says:

    We see improvement at Columbia high. We also think Infinite Campus is fantastic. I would like to add that technology will not improve learning. Technology is a tool to enhance and help engage. I saw this is the original post.

  28. Marc Rob says:

    Hi Everyone! The term CTSS was eliminated 3-4 years ago and the new title for tech support personnel is ITT (Information Technology Technician). No, BYOD is not live in Dekalb at this time but I hear it is on the horizon. The ITT at our high school does an excellent job with keeping the equipment up and running. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for the upcoming GA Milestone tests.

  29. dsw2contributor says:

    The survey was done by the Center for Digital Education (CDE) is a “division” of e.Republic (according to the link I posted above).

    e.Republic has a real diversity problem. Check out e.Republic’s “Executive Team” at this link:

    http://www.erepublic.com/about/#executive

    Click on the “Executive Team” tab and you will see that e.Republic is run by fourteen White People.

  30. I’ve found a Quid Pro Quo between e.republic and Gary Brantley, Chief Information Officer, Dekalb County School District.

    The picture above shows Mr. Brantley accepting the award from e.republic’s Alan Cox. According to e.republic’s website, Alan Cox “is Senior Vice President of Events for e.Republic, where he oversees the annual production of more than 200 events for Government Technology, Public CIO, Emergency Management, the Center for Digital Government, and the Center for Digital Education. Held regionally in state capitols and large metropolitan areas, the events address key strategy and policy issues surrounding the use of information technology in state and local government and education. ”

    On August 25, 2015, e.republic will be holding one of these events that Mr. Alan Cox oversees. The event is called the “Center for Digital Education Market Briefing: Georgia 2015” and will be held at the Westin Atlanta Perimeter North (7 Concourse Parkway NE). e.republic is charging a $99 registration fee for “Digital Education Navigator Members” and $125 for Non-members. This registration fee can only be paid by credit card; e.republic will not bill attendees.

    The event sponsors are NetApp, Presidio, Citrix, Cisco, Samsung, and Sprint-Business.

    The August 25, 2015 event “will allow participants to:
    • Hear directly from CIOs and technology leaders from area school districts
    • Network with fellow industry leaders in the region
    • Learn about the hot issues in the education IT market”

    Gary Brantley, Chief Information Officer, Dekalb County School District will be one of four panelists on the “District Leadership Panel”, scheduled to run from 1:10 PM to 2:30 PM.

    The Quid Pro Quo: e.republic/Alan Cox gives award that recognizes Gary Brantley’s IT department. Gary Brantley agrees to be a panelist at e.republic’s/Alan Cox’s event. The purpose of the e.republic/Alan Cox event is to explain how to sell IT products to DCSS (and other surrounding school districts).

  31. @ frustrated Dekalb parent, I have learned a tip, that even if you can not afford Private school, you can still take advantage of them for some of the Standardized tests. For example, the SSAT, SAT, ACT, allows any parent to select from all site providers. If you are a site provider you open your site to all. Especially, if you have a child who you have gotten the computer, time or private room accommodation for you want to select a Private school.

    The Walker School in Marietta is absolutely, the best and most nurturing place to have your child take any of these above mentioned tests. Why? They even provide the children with health snacks and drinks at the breaks, which they know helps with test taking. They also have a wonderful library / lounge area that parents can wait for their children. My child took the SSAT There, I tried to get her into sessions for the ACT and SAT but they did not have the sessions we needed. So we went to Westminster, next.

    After, Walker my daughter was spoiled as they had no free snacks. She had not taken any money, luckily she found a friend from Catholic Elementary school to borrow money for a snack and drink. That girl’s mother asked me if I had also gotten my daughter the ADHD accommodation of a private room and extra time. I said no, mine was fine as long as their were no distractions, aka the common public school rapping on the desk, etc., or shouting out cuss words when they don’t know the answers.

    My daughter’s friends that took the SAT at her public school the same week said that first they were locked out, then there were tempetature problems with the room. Then to top it off on the same( day the idiot principal had decided to start scheduling Saturday detention for over 300 students who had exceeded the 5 min , ( reduced from 7 min ) change time the previous week. So the school was full of all these angry noisy students sitting for the same 4 hrs in the cafe. A disaster.

    All of the top end Private schools pride themselves on their facilities and computer network and facilities. The only think you have to look out for some like PACE is only a MAC campus, so you might want to make sure the school uses the type of computers your child is familiar with ( if you have a computer accommodation. ( I just helped my friends son obtain the computer accommodation at St. Francis. You as a parent tell the school guidance counselor who has to do some of the requesting for the accommodation that you want it at x, y, z private school. Your child does not have to take the SAT or ACT at their public school or home school.) if you are eligible for a fee waiver, you are eligible at any location.

    The one thing you can do is on a couple of Saturday Mornings is drive your child out of your way, so they have the best environment to take the test. That they and you don’t have to worry about computer issues. A good testing environment is worth points on your child’s score.

  32. Counting the days says:

    We sent home a letter today with information about the new Georgia Milestones test, including the news that all our students will take the online version. Actually only students with accomodations will take the online version at our school, but we are pleased that with borrowing from other schools, there will be enough calculators.

  33. Dekalbteacher1999 says:

    @another comment:
    I usually ignore the elitist, anti-public school subtext of your messages, but FYI:

    I have proctored the SAT at Cross Keys for the past 3 years. Students taking the exam come from public and private schools. Not once have I witnessed “common public school rapping on the desk” or students “shouting out cuss words when they don’t know the answer.”

    No, we don’t give out free snacks. But most students know to bring their own snacks or money.

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