Kathy Spencer
Onslow County Schools
North Carolina

Armed with her bright purple laptop, Spencer routinely can be found attending Professional Learning Communities, principal meetings, community focus groups, schools, and classrooms. Her peers view her as a leader who truly portrays the need for technology integration in every classroom within the 37 school sites in Onslow County.

The district was chosen among a large number of applicants to participate in Project K-Nect, a research program funded through Qualcomm’s Wireless Reach Program that gives students access to mobile devices with instructional software and tools to support secondary mathematics.  The project began with two ninth-grade Algebra I classes, and its success enabled Onslow County to raise more than $2.5 million to replicate the program across all high school Algebra I classes. Participating students have achieved an average of 20 percent better on the state’s Algebra I year-end exam compared with non-participating students.

Spencer created a task force to provide teachers with the tools to increase teacher productivity. In October 2007, the first of more than 1,600 laptops were deployed to licensed staff across the district. To date, 1,000 interactive whiteboards, document cameras, and LCD projectors help teachers provide engaging instruction that fosters student participation within classrooms. What’s more, registration for all professional development opportunities is automated and tracked to make sure all staff are kept abreast of licensure requirements.

Technology also is evident in the district’s use of a parent emergency notification system, automated work order facility maintenance, and a web-based prepayment system for student meals—and Spencer is keenly aware of the need to ensure that technology is used to increase student learning.