The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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March 18, 2013

County to research other schools using one-to-one computing

BECKLEY — After Raleigh County Schools announced a possible partnership with Apple last week as they move toward one-to-one computing, Superintendent Jim Brown said the administrative team continues to research and get feedback from other schools that have made the switch.

The administrative and technology team had a conference call Tuesday with representatives from Winterboro High School in Talladega County, Ala. Winterboro began to move to one-to-one computing in 2009 using Apple products.

In 2012, Winterboro was recognized as one of the nation’s Best High Schools by U.S. News and World Report. It is also a USDA Green Ribbon School.

But Brown explained that Winterboro has had its fair share of challenges to reach its success.

He describes the school as a 90/90/90 school — meaning that 90 percent of students are eligible for free and reduced lunches, more than 90 percent of students are from ethnic minorities and more than 90 percent of the students met or achieved high academic standards on state assessments.

He said with 8,000 students, 17 schools and a high level of poverty, there are several similarities between its school district and ours.

“They began with a drop-out rate of 60-some percent. This year, they informed us they project they will have zero dropouts. They attribute it, not just to the use of technology itself, but to changing the culture and climate of their school,” said Brown.

He said the school told Raleigh County representatives how going to one-to-one computing has changed teaching.

“One thing we thought was remarkable was that there are no textbooks in the classroom. Everything is taught based on core standards and by pooling resources together. The teachers rely on their own creative ideas of how best to teach that context,” he said.

Brown said that may not be the direction for Raleigh County, but it was a concept that registered strongly with the group.

He anticipates some members of the Raleigh County team will visit the Alabama school district to learn more about how it is making one-to-one computing a success.

— E-mail: splummer@register-herald.com

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