Clayton County Public Schools, Jonesboro, GA Clayton County Public Schools Launches Complete Digital Classroom Refresh Project
When school districts invest in technology, the tools they buy must be user-friendly, integrated, and ready to use to support instruction—not something that creates an additional burden for teachers. That’s the foundation that Clayton County Public Schools (CCPS) in Jonesboro, GA used in 2018 when it was time to refresh digital classroom tools.
Ready for a refresh, the district’s instructional and operational technology teams developed a comprehensive RFP that yielded a number of different bids and submissions. Boxlight quickly surfaced as a top contender. “They had everything we needed, including interactive flat panels, a student response system, document cameras, slates, and a software suite to run it all,” says Smith.
Even better, the vendor listened to CCPS’ challenges and offered good solutions. “We’ve worked with technology vendors in the past who didn’t have our best interest at heart,” says Smith, “and who were more interested in selling versus helping us figure out how to meet our district’s needs.”
April Mayo - Ed.S., Director of Instructional Technology Addressing Needs
A Smooth Transition
“Teachers have created a lot of content using other systems and platforms,” says Mayo, “and don’t want to lose this work just because their district invests in new technology.”
“With the MimioStudio™ software, they don’t have to.” says Mayo. “Teachers can take content they’ve created in other applications (i.e., a PowerPoint, IWB apps, etc.), insert those files right into MimioStudio, and then use the rest of the Boxlight tools on top of it.” For example, teachers who had previously used a different manufacturer’s whiteboard in their classroom can now easily convert those files to MimioStudio Notebook, thus preserving the work they’d assembled over the years. Additionally, schools have an assigned Digital Learning Specialist (DLS) to provide ongoing training and support to teachers for the entire Boxlight suite of tools.
With this in mind, the CCPS team placed a premium on finding a partner that could deliver the professional training to ensure teacher success with the technology. “We definitely don’t expect our teachers to become technology gurus,” says Smith, “but we’re responsible for taxpayer dollars to the tune of $18 million for this rollout, so we also need to ensure high adoption rates.”
To track those rates, Mayo’s team developed a survey that’s sent to teachers and media specialists three times per year, with the resultant data being used to determine how many teachers are utilizing classroom technology and at what level. The data has been very positive and shown increases over previously installed equipment.
“Prior to a school’s installation, DLSs provided a ‘kick-off’ event to ensure teachers would be able to immediately begin using the IFP once installed,” says Mayo. “Immediately following a school’s install, the DLSs went from classroom to classroom to make sure all teachers could log in to and begin using their new IFPs on day one. Our teachers felt supported right away,” says Mayo. To keep enthusiasm levels high and give teachers the support required to see utilization rise, the DLSs remain available to work with teachers in various settings, including shoulder-toshoulder, in the classroom.
April Mayo - Ed.S., Director of Instructional Technology High Adoption Rates
“You can walk up and down our halls at any point and I guarantee that the IFPs (interactive flat panels) are turned on, being used to display content, and supporting instruction,” says Smith. “That’s better than what we were doing previously, and that’s good for teachers, students, and our taxpayers.”