Washington County Public Schools (WCPS) is continually looking for ways to inspire and transform teaching and learning. In June of 2015, Dr. Clayton Wilcox accepted the Future Ready District Pledge with a commitment to making WCPS Future Ready. The end goal of Future Ready Schools is aligned with current and past efforts, “To provide students with the education they need to thrive in a globally connected world, we must find ways to design, fund, acquire and maintain the infrastructure that will make connectivity a reality for every teacher and student in the classroom” (p.9). This Digital Learning Plan is framed in accordance with these end goals and the recommendations set forth by the Office of Educational Technology.
The development of the Digital Learning plan was a collaborative effort with three committees: The Teacher Advisory Committee; The Curricular Advisory Committee; and Digital Steering Committee. The Teacher Advisory Committee is representative of approximately 45 school-based teachers who were identified by colleagues as exemplars in advancing digital learning. The Curricular Advisory Committee is comprised of all supervisors in the Division of Instruction. The Digital Steering Committee is representative of key district-level staff and three principals with one-to-one schools in elementary, middle and high. The three levels of educators assessed prior efforts and practices to develop a visionary Digital Learning Plan that will serve all of WCPS.
As an organization, our past efforts and experiences have poised us for this strategic advancement of digital learning. Future Ready recommends phased implementations prior to full scale deployment; the privilege of having several schools as one-to-one schools for several years has provided the foundation to adopt higher levels of implementation (p. 10). When these past efforts are coupled with the recommendations of the aforementioned committees, there is no doubt that WCPS can quickly and readily become a leader in advancing digital learning.
A commitment to advancing our digital learning experiences for students and staff is in alignment with the WCPS vision of building a community that inspires curiosity, creativity and achievement. Foundational to this vision is a focus on improving teacher expertise and efficacy, thus creating a culture that supports learning in the classroom and beyond the school walls. As recommended by Future Ready, “Equally important is the investment in high-quality professional development so teachers enter classrooms ready to use the new tools to support personalized learning for students” (p. 10). This plan will provide a clear path for student and staff learning that is founded on a platform of strategic support and coaching.
Finally, WCPS believes that the success of this initiative will be measured by three distinct outcomes—teaching and learning, equity and professional development—all of which are further detailed in the plan.