Technology Updates for Pulaski County Schools
By Shelly Berryhill
A new school year is well under way, and there are great things to report.
Over the last couple of years, the Pulaski County School System has invested in our children through extensive technology purchases and upgrades. Currently, every instructional classroom, grades K-12, has a cart with a minimum of 20 Chromebooks; this is nearly a 1:1 ratio with students. The lowest grades are provided with touchscreens for children who have not developed typing skills. Having such ready availability of Chromebooks ensures each student has a device to utilize for research, reports and presentations, and online testing. The current requirement from the State DOE is for 80% of annual testing to be done online; however, Pulaski provides 100% of our students with the capability to test online!
Interactive panels are another investment made available this year. There are ten 70” screen interactive panels, one for each grade K-9th. The interactive panels are considered an upgrade to the existing SMART Board system. They have built-in Android and Windows operating systems and connect directly to the internet through a built-in WIFI card. Teachers can present material, write on the panel, save work, and even animate presentations. Presently every classroom has either a SMART Board or the new interactive panel. The technology department anticipates purchasing additional panels by year’s end.
All Pulaski County Schools are connected, via fiber, to each other and the central office, including a state-of-the-art firewall system to prevent hackers and filter content access to students. All computers within the system are either Chromebooks or Windows 10 desktops with Microsoft Office 2016 installed. The teachers and students have access to the latest version of Microsoft Office at school and can also download these at home free of charge.
There are 15 computer labs and, this year, an instructional technology specialist was added to provide continuous training to staff members. Now we have both access to updated technology and the provisions to utilize it to its fullest potential.
The safety of our students and staff, as well as the facilities, is most important. Technology upgrades in that area include over 70 cameras installed to detect motion and sound, and monitor our students and facilities 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The school buses are also equipped with cameras for safety.
The Pulaski School System also offers a student information system which tracks grades, conduct, and attendance. Parents and/or guardians have access to login for up-to-the-minute information on their child.