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Mercer Island schools' tech plan moves toward data, analysis

Mercer Island School Board members discussed and approved the district’s 2010-2013 Technology Plan on March 11, with fresh ideas for the future.

“Based on an external review completed in 2007 and the implementation of the 2020 Vision, technology needs have grown,” Director of Learning and Technology Services Jennifer Wright wrote in the plan. “We have moved beyond just purchasing equipment to facilitating true technology integration with targeted professional development ... Implementation will allow for technology integration that supports more personalized learning opportunities, more content connections, more cognitive thinking opportunities, more global connections, and create students that are better digital citizens.”

Funds for the plan come from the Capitol Project Levy that was passed in February. Much of the money focuses on technology integration and infrastructure upgrades throughout the district. Increased parent communication through Web-based services, such as the district’s Skyward grade and report card system and e-Connections newsletters, is another benefit of the levy funds.

Wright presented the Board with the hefty three-year technology plan, emphasizing where the district will place most of its focus in the coming three years.

Among the goals that Wright has set forth are: providing opportunities for students — predominantly high-school-aged — to take online courses “hosted externally by services such as the State Digital Learning Department,” introduce an online curriculum resource sharing system for teachers, provide 23 hours of professional development for all staff, investigate and implement emerging hardware and software technologies to support the 2020 Vision and establish a Gigabit network to support fast Internet service.

“By June of 2013, 80 percent of all teachers, administrators and teacher-librarians will exhibit proficient technology skills,” the plan states. “By the spring of 2013, 100 percent of eighth-grade students will report they have experienced classroom-based projects that require Tier II and Tier III skills.”

Wright admitted, however, that the 2010-2013 plan does not differ much from the district’s technology vision in 2007, the last time it submitted a summary to the state.

“This plan is basically an iteration of the 2007 plan,” Wright told Board members, adding that she and administrative colleague Mike Schiehser have spent hours reviewing the district’s technological plan. “The greatest potential for growth to me is all about data and data analysis.”

A full copy of the 2010-2013 Technology Plan can be downloaded from the district’s Web site: http://www.misd.k12.wa.us.

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