Our 10th Annual Tech-Savvy Superintendent Awards
Pamela R. Moran
Albemarle County Public Schools
Pamela Moran is an active Twitterer, blogger, and innovator who advocates the use of technology to help drive continuous school improvement. She has provided a Flip video camera to all principals and members of the district’s leadership team, which they use to record and discuss professional learning communities at work.
Team members also use the cameras to record student learning and look for high levels of Bloom’s taxonomy. In addition, each leadership team member has an iPhone with applications that allow members to report their observations on classroom walkthroughs in real time, submit information for school improvement plans, and interface with teacher performance appraisals.
Albemarle County is in the process of creating an enterprise portal solution to integrate its technology systems and create a unified experience for users, per Moran’s request. She also has led several innovative uses of technology in classrooms, such as a pilot project that uses iPod Touches instead of textbooks, and a Physics Flexbook project: Albemarle County is one of five school systems in the nation partnering with CK12 to roll out an online textbook for physics students, each of whom will access the curriculum on a netbook.
Moran’s ed-tech leadership extends to the state level as well. She currently chairs the DaVinci Design Team, a group of Virginia superintendents who lead for significant transformation of Virginia’s Standards and Assessment of Learning Programs. Under her leadership, the DaVinci Design Team has received a grant from the state Secretary of Technology to develop a scalable, virtual professional learning network for Virginia’s educators. And the team has rallied the Coalition of Virginia’s Educational Organizations to develop a unified position statement on the importance of 21st-century learning, beginning with a position statement written by the DaVinci Design Team and adopted by the Virginia Association of School Superintendents.
Churchill County School District
Initiatives such as paperless school board meetings and access to online courses are no longer unusual in K-12 education, but Carolyn Ross was out in front on these efforts long before they became commonplace.
Several years ago, Ross secured laptops for school board members and began allowing stakeholders to download the agenda and attachments for board meetings from the district’s web site, and board meetings also are recorded and streamed in real time on the site. In fact, such transparency and community outreach are key components of the district’s technology plan: Parents of middle and high school students are encouraged to use the district’s portal to check their children’s grades and connect with teachers, and teachers have been given the tools to create their own class web sites.
Under Ross’s leadership, the Adult Education program began offering online classes to help adults in the community attain credits, and high school students also are encouraged to take online classes. Principals use technology to assess instruction during walkthroughs, and Churchill County was among the first districts in the state to outsource its technology services to IT experts. A web-based help-desk system allows staff members to submit their technical requests online.