CARTHAGE, N.C.–November 20, 2006–Moore County Schools has surged to No. 8 in the latest state rankings for technology in the classroom, according to the latest rankings released by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. By cracking the top ten this year, Moore County School continues its impressive march toward the top of the state’s rankings after placing near the bottom four years ago. The school district, which placed 111th out of 115 school districts in the state in 2002, climbed to 91st place in 2003, 39th place in 2004 and 16th place last year.

“It’s tremendous to reach No. 8 in the latest state rankings,” says James Tagliareni, chief technology officer at Moore County Schools. “Everyone at Moore County Schools deserves credit for infusing technology into our classrooms, from the school district leadership who made technology a top priority four years ago to every school principal and teacher who embraced the computers, high-speed Internet access and technology training that we provided them. Our continued strong showing in the state rankings is proof that we are instilling into our students the technology skills they will need to compete in the 21st Century workforce.”

Moore County Schools, which has purchased more than 5,000 new computers over the past four years, continues to improve the district’s technology infrastructure without increasing its budget. The district, which last year had 2.5 students for each Internet-connected computer, now has 2.29 students per Internet-connected computer. The state average is 3.43 students per computer. In addition, 100 percent of Moore County School’s classrooms are connected with high-speed Internet access, compared to 98.5 percent in the state.
Moore County Schools continued its trend of squeezing the most out of its Information Technology budget. This year, the district’s average cost to install, operate and maintain a network of computers was $66 per pupil, a 22 percent drop from the previous year and less than half the state average of $139 per pupil. Last year, computers cost Moore County Schools $87 per pupil.

Moore County Schools had many technology highlights this past school year, including online technology training for teachers, and additional computers, personal digital assistants and interactive whiteboards in the classroom. Other highlights include:

*The district’s Office of Information Technology dramatically increased the speed of Internet access to every classroom, from 10 megabits per second (mbps) to 100 mbps, while saving the district money in the process. The Office of Information Technology negotiated a new deal with an Internet Service Provider that provides the faster speeds at a lower cost. The deal saves the district $150,000 a year.

*In March, Union Pines High School became one of three schools in the country to win a $250,000 grant from Dell, Microsoft and Intel’s “FutureReady” program, given to schools with the best plans for incorporating technology in the classroom. Microsoft chairman Bill Gates and Dell chairman Michael Dell picked the winners. The grant is providing hardware and software to Union Pines High School.

*Aberdeen Elementary School last fall received a $250,000 grant by the North Carolina Technology Association to purchase new desktop and notebook computers, printers and projectors, as well as educational software and technology training for students and teachers.

*Robbins Elementary received a $14,000 Partners in Education Grant from the IBM Hispanic Diversity Network. The grant provides notebook computers and an LCD projector to enhance the school’s MentorPlace program, in which IBM employees work with students on technology-related activities.

*The district purchased and installed new software that allows teachers to view students’ screens while they work on assignments in school computer labs. Teachers can communicate with each individual student through headphones and take control of students’ computers if they need help. The software also enables teachers to take snapshots of students’ screens, which allows teachers to easily share the students’ work with the class.

*In March, the district partnered with Carthage Police and the County Sheriff’s Office to build a wireless network, allowing first-responders to view school surveillance cameras wirelessly as they respond to 911 calls at Union Pines High School.

“The school district’s dramatic climb in the state rankings is very impressive and shows the dedication and commitment the district has to helping students become better prepared for the future,” says Dr. Larry Upchurch, Deputy Superintendent. “The technology is not only engaging students more in the classrooms, its helping them understand the material better and improving overall learning.”

About Moore County Schools

Moore County Schools educates more than 12,000 students in 22 K-12 schools in Moore County, North Carolina, an economically diverse community whose major industries include agriculture, tourism, health care and education. The school district offers a comprehensive curriculum that includes workforce development, programs for special needs and gifted students and arts education. In addition to Advanced Placement courses at all three high schools, Pinecrest High School offers the International Baccalaureate Program. The district’s 2005 SAT average of 1042 exceeded the national average by 14 points. For more information, visit www.mcs.k12.nc. us

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