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Every Student, Every Day


QTL News & Stories


Equation Adds Up to Success for School's math Scores
October 2009

Alexander County Schools Superintendent credits NCTA technology grant and professional development project for increase in student achievement.

Watch a video about the NCTA Demonstration Project Celebration at Taylorsville Elementary.

TAYLORSVILLE, NC - What do you get when you add one struggling school, one federal grant and a staff skilled in research-based classroom instruction? In the case of Taylorsville Elementary in rural Alexander County, North Carolina, that equation has proven to be the solution to the school's lagging math scores.

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Taylorsville Elementary is the latest in a series of instructional technology demonstration sites that have received federal grant money through the North Carolina Technology Association (NCTA). The grants - totalling $1.75 million so far - were designed to help rural schools fast-track their five-year technology plans in just one year. With the technology funding came the opportunity for comprehensive professional development to help teachers make best use of the new technology and student-focused classroom techniques.

Since the implementation of the Taylorsville grant, third and fifth grade math scores have soared (see graph at right). That puts Taylorsville, where 75% of the student body qualifies for Free and Reduced Lunch, in position to be removed from the state's School Improvement list with another year of like performance.

Taylorsville Principal Susan Campbell is also quick to point out the impact the school's partnership with the Centers for Quality Teaching and Learning (QTL) has had on the effort. Thirty-two Taylorsville Elementary teachers began the QTL professional development process in January and February, focusing on specific teaching strategies and assessment tools based on the schools needs.

"The professional development has been wonderful and given teachers the knowledge they need to provide the best instructional practices for our students which will overall impact student achievement," added Campbell.

"The result," said NCTA project manager Sheila Mitchiner, "is a well-organized training plan designed to help teachers and administrators focus on North Carolina core curriculum standards, use modern technology resources, implement new designs for teaching and learning, establish classroom management strategies, and generate best … practices."

jack hoke
Alexander County Superintendent Jack Hoke says quality professional development was a key to ensuring that classroom technology had a true impact on student achievement.

During a celebration of the school's recent success, Superintendent Jack Hoke pointed out the elements that led to this success story at Taylorsville.

"This shows how important technology is with teachers and staff and how important it is for collaboration with teachers and the opportunity to have great professionsal development," added Hoke.

The formal evaluation report praises school staff and administration for their efforts to support the students at Taylorsville Elementary. It concludes that "all the teachers attending the QTL classes stretched themselves far beyond their starting point, growing in technology sckills and in teaching knowledge." It also says data gathered during QTL participation helped quantify the impact of the technology. Read the full report.

While every school may not have access to NCTA grants, teacher professional development is a possibility for all and a critical component of any plan for school improvement.

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