A Maryland District Reignites its Digital Transformation
Carroll County Public Schools (CCPS) has been, historically, one of the best performing school systems in the state of Maryland. In most of the academic state reported categories, CCPS has ranked in the top one or two spots for many years.
CCPS generally has been a very traditional school system dominated by paper and pencil and stand and deliver teaching. Our graduates have succeeded in two-year and four-year colleges as well as trade schools, the world of work and the military. About 75% of graduates attend a two or four-year college or university.
In 2013, one tool that did make it through our vetting process was Discovery Education's product line, including Discovery Education Experience, Math Techbook, and Science Techbook. These products are infused into our curriculum and offer our teachers and students excellent digital content for use in the classroom. Our teachers send content to students, develop assessments, develop studio boards, collaborate with each, have students develop studio boards, and collaborate with each other in a digital and safe environment.
Fast forward to 2018 and a new superintendent reignited interested in digital integration. During the summer of 2018 several meetings were held to develop the path to digital integration. Our vision includes transforming our learning environment to a blended learning environment where students have the ability to learn on multiple platforms, including Google and Microsoft, and through various learning environments including on-line learning. Using Title IV grant monies CCPS developed a plan to train 120 teachers on several of our basic digital tools including Office 365, One Note, and other Microsoft applications (forms, teams, etc.) and get those teachers to a baseline level.
Continuing on during spring 2019, our superintendent began the push for the use of both the Microsoft and Google platforms to better prepare our students for operating systems they may encounter in college and career environments. The Instructional Technology team is leading the way in the development of trainings for those staff members who do not know the Google platform.
Looking ahead, CCPS is in process of procuring a learning management system (LMS) to help direct a shift to a more blended learning approach to teaching and learning.
CCPS stands at the cusp of a major digital transformation. Eventually, students will use a learning Management System to access curriculum, complete and turn in assignments, collaborate with students and teachers, and be able to learn in multiple platforms. Teachers will be able to develop lessons that are more student centered, and create an environment where students take more ownership of their learning. New energy has been introduced and technology is one of the driving force behind this new energy which will lead CCPS toward a bright future.
Tom Clowes has served as high school Assistant Principal, High School Principal, Coordinator of Curriculum and Instructional Resources and the State of Maryland Tech Prep Coordinator. He has also taught teacher certification classes at Carroll Community College in Maryland. He also parrticipates in the Discovery Education Network (DEN) for his school district.