I. GENERAL INFORMATION
ORGANIZATIONAL SUPPORT STRUCTURE
School Advisory Team Members:
Linda Erickson-Assistant Principal, Curriculum
Pamela White-Technology Specialist
Joy Brunson-Teacher, Language Arts
Carol Heinse-Teacher, Science
Amelia Breeze-Teacher, Social Studies
Karen Narro-Teacher, Enrichment
Shirley Ellison-Teacher, Music
Stephanie Fuhrman-Teacher, Math
Susan Huffman-Media Specialist
Glenda Hogg-Guidance Counselor
Denise Lewis-Support Personnel
Dr. Mike Kilgore-Business Representative
INTERFACING WITH OTHER SYSTEM-WIDE PLANNING
The Strategic Plan, a list of strategies with supporting actions, is the basis for all plans in the Homewood City School System. In the summer of 1995 this five-year plan was developed to provide scope and sequence for all facets of operation for the system. This document is continuously updated, evaluated and reviewed. The System Technology Plan is an action plan for implementing Strategy 8, To guarantee the tools, materials and time necessary to support progressive instructional programs. The Local Technology Plan is directly correlated with the System Technology Plan. Appropriate assistive/adaptive technologies have been made available to special population as needed. Unless otherwise indicated in a student’s IEP, special education students will have the same technology related learning goals as regular students. The career/technical plan employs the use of technology as appropriate for the specific course. In the current year, the Strategic Plan is being rewritten with new action plans being developed for Strategy 8.
Homewood City School System is nestled in a quiet neighborhood in Homewood, Alabama, a southern suburb of Birmingham. The population of Homewood is approximately 23,000. The student population is quite diverse culturally with an international flair. Many different languages and cultures are currently represented in Homewood. Proximity to a world renowned medical facility and teaching hospital brings students from around the world. The socioeconomic make-up of the community also varies greatly. Housing ranges from government subsidized apartment complexes to affluent suburban neighborhoods. The quality of education provided by Homewood’s schools was recognized on the national level. The January, 1996 issue of Money Magazine included Homewood City Schools as one of the top one hundred "best educational buys" in the United States. The rankings were based on the quality of the schools in the community relative to the cost of living. The system consists of three elementary schools which feed into one middle school which in turn feeds into one high school. The student population is approximately 3,300 while the certified personnel is approximately 300 and the non-certified personnel is 100.
Homewood Middle School serves grades 6 through 8. The student population is approximately 713. There are 62 certified personnel and approximately 19 non-certified personnel.
See Attachment A for Acceptable Use Policy for users with "login" rights, Technology Resource Agreement for users with "file scan" rights and Copyright Policy for all users with "ownership of computer" rights.
Teachers are at various levels of computer literacy. Some have taken advantage of professional development that has been offered in the system for the past 6 years and are very proficient in the use of computers as a tools. Others for various reasons are just now acquiring a certain comfort level with basic computer skills. The current level of access with at least one multimedia computer in every classroom has made it essential for all personnel to become competent in using computers. On the computers in their classrooms, all teachers have access to world-wide E-mail, Internet, word processing, databases, spreadsheets, encyclopedias as well as other resource materials. All teachers have cable TV connections in their classrooms but most do not have TVs/monitors or VCRs assigned to their rooms on a permanent basis.. All teachers have a standardized, electronic gradebook to calculate and report grades. All high school and middle school teachers are required to keep attendance in a standardized, district program. As a result of administrative requirements, all teachers have been obligated to acquire a certain level of computer literacy. See Attachment B for a the spring assessment of computer skills.
ADMINISTRATORS AND OFFICE PERSONNEL
All administrators and office personnel implement technology in their everyday routine through the use of programs such as INTERNET, E-mail, word processing, spreadsheets and databases.
Homewood students have a diverse level of computer competency skills due to their various experiences at school as well as at home. A technology skills continuum was developed for students in grades K-5 and was implemented in the 1998-99 school year. Using a locally produced video, all 3rd grade students are taught touch typing. A copy of this continuum has been included in Attachment C along with an implementation plan. A technology skills continuum will be developed for grades 6 –12 during the 2000-2001 school year. See Attachment B for the spring 2000 assessment of computer skills.
(1) Advanced Users--a percentage of students achieve an advanced level of competency which includes understanding and using electronic spreadsheets, databases, word processing, presentation software, and create pages for the school’s website.
(2) Intermediate Users—A percentage of students achieve an intermediate level of competency which includes limited knowledge of spreadsheets, databases, word processing and presentation software. Sixth grade students continue to receive informal keyboarding instruction through video instruction and the use of Dreamwriters.
(3) Limited Users--all Media Centers in the system use computerized database for cataloging, CD towers for research, and Internet for accessing information. Therefore, all students to some degree must learn how to use a computer.
INVENTORY OF CURRENT NETWORKABLE COMPUTERS AND OTHER TECHNOLOGIES
See Attachment D
ASSESSMENT OF CURRENT USE OF TECHNOLOGIES
According to studies, there are three levels or steps to achieving extensive use of technology in the classroom: (1) acquisition of equipment, (2) training of personnel, and (3) integration throughout the curriculum. Over the last three years, Homewood Middle School has procured a number of computers and also developed extensive training programs. Currently, the system is focusing its attention on the integration of technology throughout the curriculum. Weekly technology training sessions increase teachers’ abilities to deliver technology rich lessons in all areas of the curriculum.
All office personnel, teachers, principals and administrative personnel have E-mail and Internet access. All personnel use E-mail as the main means of communication. There is a standardized, administrative program, SASI, which provides all student and teacher information collected at each school to the central office using the wide area network (WAN). All teachers at the middle school record attendance and grades electronically. All collection and reporting of student records and other management functions are provided to the central office through the WAN.
All administrative personnel have access to phones with more limited access being made available to teachers and other personnel in designated areas. Homewood has the advantage of being provided a cable channel from TCI for broadcasting to the Homewood community. A TV studio has been setup at the high school with the expectation of growth in the area of video communication in the near future. The use of this channel for production of conferences and workshops is a resource the system will expand upon.
Teachers’ use of technology in the classroom ranges from extensive implementation of technology such as computers, cable, etc. to very limited implementation. All schools have portable, multimedia laptops for use in the classroom and many have designated lab areas with multimedia PCs to which all students have access. All teachers and students have access to digital cameras and scanners. All classrooms have at least one multimedia computer. All Media Centers are computerized. Sets of keyboarding/wordprocessing units have been purchased to teach keyboarding skills to all 6th grade students. Additionally, these units can be used as text editors by students in language arts classes. Calculators have also been provided for all high school math classes as well as middle school Algebra classes. Science labs have been enhanced with appropriate hardware and software that allow students to accumulate and analyze data for experimentation. Other than VCRs in the classroom, video use has been very limited. However, with the production studio at the high school and more TVs and large screen monitors in the classrooms, there will be more use of video, both taped and live, for instructional purposes.
INVENTORY OF CURRENT TELECOMMUNICATIONS CAPABILITIES
Currently the WAN connects all sites using T1 lines , Adtran TSUs and Cisco Routers. There is also a T1 connecting the Homewood System to the Alabama Research and Education Network for Internet access. A system-wide installation of phones and phone service took place during the 1999-2000 school year.
Technology needed to implement the instructional and administrative goals include data, voice and video. The infrastructure to bring data, voice and video technology into each classroom has consumed the majority of the Technology Budget over the past 3 years.
Data--All schools and the board office have local area networks (LANs) within the building and are connected between buildings in a WAN using T1 lines. All buildings within the Homewood System have recently undergone major renovations which included updating facilities for cabling and electricity. All LAN rooms and equipment will continue to be updated as required with the emergence of new technologies and additional needs are addressed.
Voice— The system is currently reviewing its telephone service and determining the best method for centralizing its phone system in connection with its current data connection.
Video—Video is an area in which there is great potential for growth. There exists a need for TV/monitors in classrooms at all levels to take advantage of existing cable TV and future enhancements such as a close circuit TV system and computer/video links.
The infrastructure of the system’s network was designed through a cooperative effort with an engineering group (EDI) in Altanta, Ga in 1993. Although established before any specifications were released by the state, the network conforms to the specifications stated in the State Design Plan. The basic infrastructure consists of a star topology using CAT 5 wiring to the 6 desktop ports in each room, with a seventh port to be used for voice or data. "Intelligent" hubs are used in each of the multiple LAN rooms at each school with fiber being used to connect the LAN rooms in each building. Cable TV ports also are present in all classrooms. All school LANs and the Board of Education LAN are connected in a WAN using T1 lines. Internet access is provided via T1 connection between Homewood High School and Alabama Research and Education Network. IP and IPX protocols are used for data transport on all LANs. A mix of Novell NetWare servers, Microsoft Windows NT servers, and Linux (UNIX) servers provide network services and resources.
Professional Development (teacher and administrative training) for technology is essentially conducted by the Technology Support Specialists at each school coordinated by the System Technology Director. Offerings include: summer workshops, training sessions before, during and after school. While all teachers have an opportunity to attend training sessions during the workday, elementary teachers have a much more limited opportunity due to their daily schedule. For an example of the variety of workshops and sessions offered, please see Attachment E. This summer, a core group of "lead" teachers, media specialists and curriculum specialists from each school, funded by a "Power To Teach" grant from BellSouth, worked on developing "model, technology-rich" lessons to be shared with other teachers. Hopefully, at the completion of this 2-year project, all teachers will be implementing "technology-rich" lessons designed to assist in providing an optimal learning environment.
See Attachment F for current budget
PROCEDURE FOR RECURRING COST AND ISSUES
Recurring costs and issues will be addressed by preparing a budget each year to include such costs and issues within the framework of funds available from local and state allocations. Some initiatives may be addressed through grants from various agencies or businesses.
PROCEDURE FOR MAINTENANCE, UPGRADES, ETC.
As new computers are purchased in the system, a rotating replacement system will ensure that the most current equipment will remain readily accessible to staff members. Older equipment will be used in a supplementary fashion to increase the available number of classroom computers. The cost/benefit of upgrading or enhancing this older equipment will be determined based on the required task for the designated areas. As equipment is donated, principals along with technology support specialists and curriculum specialists will determine the best use for such equipment. Other equipment such as hubs, routers, and switches will be upgraded as technologies advance, equipment fails, and/or budgets permit. The determination of the type of equipment needed will be addressed by the Technology Director and System Technician.
Implementation of technology initiatives is based on a five-year plan which began in 1996-97. This plan is constantly being updated and revised. See Attachment G.
Administrative goals are monitored by a number of central office and school based administrators and evaluated in a variety of ways. In the area of hardware/software needs, decision-making is usually reviewed and performed by the Principal of the school along with the Assistant Principal for Instruction, technology specialist, system-wide technician and Director of Technology. Through standardization and compatibility of equipment, the purchasing of hardware and productivity software has been remarkably streamlined. Decisions regarding purchasing, replacing and/or rotating equipment are based on the following data:
Instructional goals are monitored by school administrators and evaluated through formal and informal observation, perusal of lesson plans, recorded use of instructional technology (media check-out, lab sign-ups, etc.), examples of assignments and assessment criteria, self-report student/teacher surveys, and administrator led conferences/discussion groups with a technological focus. In reviewing lesson plans and performing observations, administrators are looking for effective use of technology through: