PIEDMONT, Ala.--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--When Piedmont City School District’s education leaders looked to implement technology in the classroom, the priority was to not only transform education, but to lift the entire community. With that in mind, the district launched the mPower Piedmont initiative designed to provide every teacher and student in grades 4 – 12 with a MacBook and rigorous, engaging digital content and curriculum. The mPower initiative was just the beginning of a forward-thinking push to provide equitable access to technology for everyone. Results, among many other accolades, include students moving from meeting academic standards to exceeding academic standards on the Alabama High School Graduation Exam.
“We turned to CompassLearning Odyssey to help us achieve this goal”
“For us, mPower Piedmont is much more than simply a one-to-one initiative,” said Rena Seals, director of technology for Piedmont City School District. “To achieve our goal of transforming the community around education, it had to be education for all, not for a select few, not based on whether you had the means to afford it. We wanted to level the playing field, close the digital divide, so that everyone in Piedmont had equitable access to technology.”
“We turned to CompassLearning Odyssey to help us achieve this goal,” continued Seals. “We needed rigorous yet flexible content to help us succeed, and Odyssey gave us what we needed.”
Online Classes, Flexibility, and Digital Citizenship
Among the multiple uses of CompassLearning Odyssey in the district, including credit recovery, distance learning for non-traditional students, Advanced Placement, and regular instruction, by far the most innovative is online classes. Students in grades 10-12 are in an online class first period. The students can choose when, where, and how to complete the first-period coursework as long as they maintain a B average.
Additionally, students learn to prepare for college and real life by showing responsibility for completing online coursework outside the confines of a traditional classroom.
More than just technology
Superintendent Matthew Akin gives much of the credit for the district’s success to teacher leaders who embraced the technology initiative and continue to put students’ interests above all else.
“Computers didn’t make this all happen,” said Akin. “The whole environment of innovation made it happen.”
“We’re glad to play a part of a larger initiative in Piedmont City School District to help students be successful through personalized learning,” said Eric Loeffel, CEO of Compass Learning. “The teachers are the true champions in the classroom. We simply help them be more efficient and effective by providing rigorous and quality content tailored to the needs of each individual student.”
Key Results in Piedmont City School District include:
- Exceed Academic Standards – High school students moved from Level III, which is meeting academic standards, to Level IV, which is exceeding academic standards, on Alabama’s High School Graduation Exam.
- 2012 National Blue Ribbon School – One of only five Alabama schools to receive such an honor.
- Distinguished GreatSchools Rating of 8 out of 10 – One of the few public high schools in Alabama to achieve such a rating.
- Increased Student Engagement – Enrollment in the virtual school program increased 154 percent in three years, including a 126 percent increase in socioeconomically disadvantaged students.
- Internet Connectivity for the Community – Piedmont built a city-wide wireless mesh with federal grant money to provide wireless access to and support economic development for the entire city.
To watch videos on the Piedmont success visit: http://heroes.compasslearning.com/hero-videos/
To learn more about Piedmont City School District’s program, read the success story at: http://www.compasslearning.com/files/success_stories_69.pdf
About Compass Learning
Compass Learning® provides K–12 educational software that empowers teachers to unlock every student’s potential for academic success and personal growth by personalizing learning. Compass Learning takes a student-centered approach by providing comprehensive solutions that address the needs of every student and student-type to create personalized learning and differentiation programs that reach, engage, and inspire students to succeed. Teachers and administrators can more efficiently and effectively manage and measure progress, freeing time to focus on delivering academic results. Both of the company’s software solutions, CompassLearning Odyssey® and the Renzulli Learning® System deliver academic rigor that is based on more than 40 years of research into how students learn, and are aligned to state and Common Core State Standards to support classroom and district accountability. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Compass Learning serves more than 8,000 schools across the United States and around the world.