Purpose of GOING G.L.O.B.A.L.

RCS Going G.L.O.B.A.L.
Rutherford County Schools are Going G.L.O.B.A.L., which stands for Growing Learning Opportunities Beyond All Limits.  A key component to this project is a 1:1 laptop initiative, in which every teacher AND student in grades 6-12 will receive their own laptop computer that they will use, both at school and at home, every day throughout the school year.

The Vision

The Rutherford County Schools’ Strategic Plan is based on the vision All Rutherford County students will be successful in a global community.  The mission is to partner with family and community to prepare students for lifelong learning by rigorously challenging each student to achieve in academics and career preparation.  Within this framework, needs are identified and strategies are implemented through a continuous improvement process. 

The 21st Century skills guiding the North Carolina State Board of Education’s mission focus on technology and innovative strategies necessary for students to be competitive in a constantly changing international environment.  Based on this focus, Rutherford County Schools has adopted a clear, concise vision critical for successful implementation of a digital learning environment:  Rutherford County Schools will equip students with the 21st century skills needed to compete in a global economy.

Goals not only help define the vision, but also set the framework for assessment.  The digital learning environment initiative will:

 ensure equal access to digital information for all students,

 provide classrooms led by 21st century professionals,

 foster an environment where all stakeholders impact student success, and

 promote collaboration of school professionals to discover strategies needed to facilitate change.

Phase 1

Rutherford County Schools formed an Implementation Team for the deployment of the digital learning environment.  The Implementation Team was responsible for ensuring that all infrastructure and logistical preparations, hardware and software acquisitions, and professional development were executed effectively before the computers were distributed to students. The Implementation Team also planned for parent and community information programs, public relations efforts, and distribution of MacBooks to staff and students. 

The creation of the digital learning environment was driven by curriculum and instruction goals.  To ensure that the focus continued to be on instructional goals where technology provided a tool for accomplishing those goals, a team of individuals with different areas of expertise was selected. 

RCS Education Foundation was established in 2009 for the purpose of enriching the education of Rutherford County Schools' students, teachers, and the community.  The Foundation is comprised of local business owners, elected officials, and retired educators.  Their focus is securing funds to enhance and sustain 21st century teaching and learning for Rutherford County Schools.

Phase 2

All Rutherford County Schools sites are connected to a central location via fiber optics cable (23 sites total). Additionally, schools are connected to the state backbone via MCNC (Microelectronics Center of North Carolina), a non-profit organization committed to partnerships with community and government organizations that are central to the economic development of North Carolina.  As a result, our bandwidth speed is 1GB, much faster than standard DSL connections.  All schools and administrative sites have updated Local Area Network (LAN) switches with speeds of 1 gb in all schools.

Phase 3
On Thursday, September 2, 2010, the RCS Board of Education met and approved a lease purchase agreement with Apple Inc. to provide all middle and high school teachers a laptop computer.  This lease approval allowed RCS to begin the implementation of our Going Global initiative.  The lease included laptops for all 6 - 12 teachers, related software, professional development, back-end management servers for each school, and the completion of the wireless infrastructure for all middle and high schools.  Laptops were issued to middle and high school teachers on October 13, 2010.  Teachers immediately began professional development in an effort to prepare themselves to work with their students who be issued laptops in the near future. 

Laptops were distributed to (600) teachers on October 13, 2010.  This was an important day in the Rutherford County Schools as we began the transition to a more digital 21st Century Teaching and Learning environment.  In addition to transforming our learning environment, our Going Global initiative ensures equal access to digital information for all students.  Our students will be better prepared for success in a global economy through immersion in a 21st century curriculum that mandates the integration of technology into instruction.

Phase 4

The RCS Board of Education took a bold action in Going G.L.O.B.A.L. by announcing on December 17, 2010 the procurement of 5250 additional Macbook laptop computers for student use.  As a result, in early February 2011, each student in grades 6-12 received a laptop for use in school and at home.  K-5 teachers received their Macbook laptop computers at the end of March, 2011

Phase 5

An extensive evaluation plan was developed on March 17, 2011, in a collaborative effort by curriculum directors, school administrators, and technology staff.  The four-year plan utilizes both qualitative and quantitative data for monitoring project activities and evaluating measurable outcomes.  Decisions regarding needed resources, additional professional development, and technical support will be based on data gathered from the student and teacher surveys. administrator observations, school improvement meeting minutes, focus group discussions, technology request submissions, technical infrastructure audit, and district leadership meetings.  Analysis of specific student data will include marks analysis, discipline reports, graduation rates, and attendance rates.  The evaluation plan is organized by month with descriptions of the specific activity and person(s) responsible for each activity.  Evaluation results will be shared annually with stakeholders to report on the progress toward meeting our goals.  Strategies will be developed to address areas of concern through a continuous improvement process.