“We can all learn from each other in terms of using digital resources in the classroom,” said Corinth Superintendent Lee Childress. “We’re pleased today that we’ve got educational leaders here in the district from over 20 school districts that will share ideas and build synergy to look at what we can all do to improve education.”
The district partnered with Discovery Education, a provider of digital textbooks and other services, to offer the symposium. The keynote speaker was Mark Edwards, former superintendent of the Mooresville Graded School District in North Carolina, which has received much attention for its digital conversion and rise in student success. He is now senior vice president of digital learning for Discovery Education.
“We have had numerous teams of educators visit and attend professional develop in Mooresville,” said Childress. “They have worked very closely with our administrators, with our teachers, in developing and enhancing many of the strategies that we are using in our classroom.”
When Edwards, who is also a former dean for the University of North Alabama, took on the job in North Carolina, he faced the challenges of student achievement gaps, students with lack of access to resources and technology, and little funding to work with in a district of about 6,400 students. The district ranked 112th out of 115 in the state for funding.
“But we were able to do some pretty neat work by leveraging the limited resources we had and focusing that on children,” he said.
All of the district’s students, kindergarten through 12th grade, now have their own electronic devices.
“I’ve got a son who’s 16 years old, and he’s never had a textbook,” said Edwards.
He believes there is a moral imperative for schools to move in this direction.
“I think when students are using resources in school that they see connected to their future, that’s the definition of relevance,” he said.
Edwards had high praise for Childress’ efforts and “the great work going on here in Corinth.”
Others sharing expertise Wednesday included Matthew Akin, superintendent of Huntsville City Schools in Alabama, and Chris Marczak, superintendent of Maury County Public Schools in Tennessee.