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Jackson Steele sets technological example

SPECIAL TO THE SIGNAL

Educators in Louisiana are looking to Lowndes County’s Jackson Steele Elementary for direction when it comes to total school transformation.

Superintendents, administrators and teachers gathered Friday, February 25 at Louisiana Delta Community College in West Monroe, LA, for the first annual Superintendent’s Conference.

Presentations focused on school transformation including topics such as: utilizing data, standards-based instruction, technology integration, credit recovery for students and more.

Jackson Steele Principal, Kimberly Washington, inspired and motivated the room of over 50 school officials with Jackson Steele’s transformation story.

Washington shared with attendees her 3 year journey at Jackson Steele and the challenges she has faced during her attempt to better the educational experience for her students.

She explained that the transformation process is more than just adding 21st Century technologies to classrooms.

It is changing instruction, monitoring student achievement and getting all teachers on board to accept and adopt change.

“It was such a great opportunity to be able to share our experiences at Jackson Steele with educators in Louisiana. I hope that someone at the conference was inspired to afford students in their school or school district with a learning experience of a lifetime,” said Washington.

Not only did conference attendees get to hear about the changes Jackson Steele has encountered over the past few years but they also had the opportunity to actually see a JS class in action via Tandberg video conference equipment.

While the students in Mrs. Smith’s third grade class were learning about symmetry in Lowndes Co. Alabama, the attendees at the Superintendents Conference were watching the class live on a SMART Interactive White Board all the way in Louisiana.

Attendees were able to see just how valuable this technology could be to teachers and students.
Other presenters at the conference included Educational Consultants from Information

Transport Solutions, Inc. (ITS), a technology solutions provider based in Wetumpka, AL.

Jackson Steele partnered with ITS after receiving a School Improvement Grant (1003g) in 2010.

ITS and JS have been actively working together in an initiative known as Project C.A.R.E (Caring About Results Everyday).

The three-year program focuses on creating a 21st Century learning environment that truly meets the needs of JS students.

Jackson Steele has recently outfitted every classroom with tools of engagement such as SMART Interactive White Boards, Document Cameras, SMART Response Systems (Clickers), laptop computers and Tandberg Video Conferencing Equipment.

“Kids want to be engaged! Engaged! Engage me, is what they are saying!” said David Shumake, Educational Consultant for ITS and 35-year educator.

Shumake also presented at the conference and had attendees on the edge of their seats as he brought out his old “football coach” voice and talked about the importance of data utilization.

Shumake explained that to truly understand what students know, data must be utilized.

Shumake also discussed the need for more teachers that are enthusiastic about teaching students.

“Somebody has got to have a ‘Whoo! I want to go to work today!’ attitude.”

Jackson Steele and ITS will continue their partnership as they work together to transform Jackson Steele into a 21st Century learning environment.