Friday, April 20, 2012

Kentucky Is Committed to Education Technology

Since coming to Kentucky in 2009, I have been very impressed with the commitment to technology that is apparent throughout the commonwealth’s schools. I believe this commitment originates at the state level with a great plan and support from the General Assembly. Kentucky is certainly a leader among states with regard to state solutions for software and 21st-century classrooms.

Kentucky has a distinct advantage with the uniform student information system (Infinite Campus). This tool allows parent, student and educator access through a variety of platforms. Also, Kentucky has a strong advantage with the live@edu product from Microsoft. Kentucky was the first state in the nation to use cloud services for e-mail and storage. This was made possible by having a statewide active directory for e-mail addresses for educators and students. This active directory also has opened many other software solutions.

The Continuous Instructional Improvement Technology System (CIITS) is a powerful tool for educators across Kentucky. This tool provides educators with access to resources to support the implementation of the common core standards and teacher/principal evaluation systems.

The ASSIST software is another exciting tool for Kentucky educators. This tool will provide a single source for the development, implementation and monitoring of comprehensive school and district improvement plans. Schools and districts will not have to complete separate improvement plans for a variety of funding sources, and the plans will not have to be submitted in paper format. Also, schools and districts will submit Program Reviews required by 2009’s Senate Bill 1 through the ASSIST software.

MUNIS is our statewide solution for school finance. Over the past few months, we have been moving school districts to the MUNIS cloud solution. To date, we have over 100 of the 174 districts on the cloud. The cloud solution helped those districts impacted by recent storms meet payroll and financial obligations.

Individual Learning Plans (ILPs) are available for every student in Kentucky starting in 6th grade. During our recent Operation Preparation focus, we were able to increase the use of the ILPs by over 50 percent for parents of 8th-grade students. The ILP is an excellent way for parents to have conversations about long-range education plans for their children.

iTunes U is another great source for educators, students and parents. The resources from Kentucky educators, colleges and other sources are growing exponentially through this free and easy-to-access tool.

These are just a few of the great tools available to Kentucky educators, students and parents. Kentucky is certainly a 21st-century state when it comes to the use of technology. Again, this is due to strong financial support from the General Assembly; however, the FY 13 and 14 budget has taken a step back from this commitment. While we understand the short-range revenue shortfall, it is certainly our hope that the General Assembly will renew the commitment to education technology as soon as possible. I hope educators will let legislators know what a great impact technology has on the students, classrooms, schools and districts across Kentucky.

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