After having success with an online technology survey, Sampson County Schools officials would like to receive a little more input as 2015 winds down.
Speak Up, an online survey, is available through Friday, Dec. 18, and can be accessed by visiting www.tomorrow.org/speakup. It allows students, parents, teachers, administrators and other members of the community to give input on technology and education matters. Wednesday, Dec. 9, is National Speak Up Day, which encourages communities throughout the nation to participate.
Mary Lynn Warren, instructional technology coordinator for the district, recently stressed the importance of participation because it helps with improvement.
“It’s information on infrastructure, technology devices and instruction,” Warren said. “It helps us determine what we have, where we are and which direction we possibly need to go with construction.”
Currently, Warren said one need is to have more one-to-one environments, which allow students to have their own tablet or laptop. There’s also a need for professional development initiatives and ongoing support for teachers.
“Our students need access to devices and we also need to keep in mind that our teachers need continual support as well,” Warren said.
So far, about 5,000 students have already taken the survey. At this point, close to 400 teachers have taken it too. Sampson County Schools is among the top 10 districts in the nation for total surveys.
“There’s still time for the rest of them to show up and come aboard,” Warren said. “We would really like more community participation, so we’re trying to push that now.”
Along with parents and other residents, businesses are also encouraged to participate in the survey. Employers, after-school providers, school board members and homeowners without children in local schools may participate in the survey by visiting www.speakup4schools.org/speakup2015.
“It’s for anyone,” Warren said. “We go by what they perceive or what they think we need.”
In addition to going online, teachers can have a little fun with the survey by participating in a video and photo contest, if their students already completed the survey. Educators can win $225 in grants from Dec. 7-11 by taking pictures with the Speak Up America Badge and submitting it to the organization. The video contest includes answering the question “Why is using digital tools for learning important for your (students’) future?” Links with rules and details regarding the contest are available on the district’s website at www.sampson.k12.nc.us
Speak Up is an initiative of Project Tomorrow, which partners with different education associations for the development of the questions. Some of them include American Association of School Administrators, National School Boards Association and the Southern Regional Education Board and State Education Technology Directors’ Association.
Each year, awards are given to school with the highest participation. Last year, close to 8,000 schools and more than 500,000 students participated. From that group, six Sampson County Schools were awarded for being “Speak Up Loud and Clear Schools.”
The schools included Midway Middle, Union Intermediate, Union Middle, Hobbton Middle, Roseboro Elementary and Hargrove Elementary. Many of the nominated schools exceeded more than 80 percent of student participation.
“I thought that was quite outstanding,” Warren said.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.