Casey Wardynski
Huntsville City Schools
Alabama

Under Wardynski’s leadership, Huntsville City Schools launched a collaborative, district-wide effort to better prepare students for college and careers by moving to one-to-one learning.

When Wardynski arrived, Huntsville faced a major budget shortfall that threatened the future of the public school system. Under his bold plan, the district challenged conventional school reform with a giant leap to transform the education experience.

Heavy textbooks were swapped out for interactive, digital curriculum on laptops and iPads, schools were connected with robust internet networks, and Wi-Fi was installed in school buses and expanded in public areas throughout the city. Huntsville educators now use interactive texts, videos, animations, and other tools from rigorous, digital instructional programs in their lessons to make them more engaging and personalized for each student, while assessment tools help determine in real time each student’s level of performance. Teacher reports and school records already show Huntsville students more engaged and interested in learning after the one-to-one learning initiative launched this school year, with suspensions down 56 percent from last year—a big improvement in student behavior.

At the beginning of the 2012-13 school year, all students received laptop computers, netbooks, or access to iPads, and all classroom teachers received laptops. Extensive staff development took place prior to the start of classes, and this continues throughout the year. The school district is dedicated to providing free, 24-7 access to the curriculum for all students, regardless of their family’s financial situation.