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National Survey Honors School Districts for Pioneering Uses of Technology

The Center for Digital Education’s 2016-17 Digital School Districts Survey Awards recognize schools that are integrating technology for innovative curriculum and improved student learning.

March 21, 2017 - School districts investing in tools for next generation digital learners, launching STEM academies and encouraging the innovative use of drones, solar panels and robotics clubs and camps earned top rankings in the annual Digital School Districts Survey.

Now in its 13th year, the Digital School Districts Survey Awards recognize exemplary use of technology by school boards and districts. The awards are presented by the Center for Digital Education at the National School Boards Association annual conference each spring.

“Technology is an essential tool for the transformation of education in our country,” said Dr. Kecia Ray, executive director for the Center for Digital Education. “The Digital School Districts Survey helps districts measure progress toward transformation and I'm proud to recognize these districts and the work that is represented in their award. Congratulations to all of the award winners and great thanks to all who participated in the survey.”

“The school boards in these districts are recognized for utilizing technology solutions to make their work as a board more transparent and their district operations more efficient,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, Executive Director & CEO, National School Boards Association. “Their accomplishments demonstrate that innovative approaches can be embraced by any district, regardless of its size or location.”

The Digital School Districts Survey top-ten rankings are awarded to the school boards/districts that most fully implement technology benchmarks in the evolution of digital education, as represented in the survey questions. All U.S. public school districts are eligible to participate.

CDE thanks Canon Solutions America for underwriting the 2016-17 survey and for their support of school districts across the nation.


Highlights of the Top Ranked School Districts in Each Category (categories based on student enrollment):

  • Houston County School System, Ga. (12,000 students or more)
Houston County firmly believes participating in online testing and utilizing technology in the classroom is paramount to preparing students for college and career. Toward that end, the district will administer all but one high school assessment online this year. The district has invested in network infrastructure and classroom technology tools/devices over the past five years to help their schools support next generation digital learners. The district also recently added approximately 3,500 computers to over 100 labs as well as 53 portable interactive boards..

  • Mt. Lebanon School District, Pa. (3,000 – 12,000 students)
Mt. Lebanon School District made technology a cornerstone of its Mt. Lebanon High School renovation/new construction project. The vision was to build 21st century learning spaces that incorporate technology seamlessly into all spaces. Toward that end, the district used "zone boxes” to save space and reduce cooling requirements while pushing fiber-optic cables to classrooms. The solution enables maximum flexibility at minimum cost for each room. In addition, the high school was able to take advantage of the new technology infrastructure and labs/classrooms in the new science wing to launch both a STEM Academy and a Global Studies Academy last year.

  • Arp Independent School District, Texas (up to 3,000 students)
Arp Independent School District has dedicated a significant amount of time, energy and funding to rebuilding their STEM and Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses and on programs that allow students to gain post-secondary skills and certifications, including expanded Robotics, Computer Programming and PC Tech programs. Drones were introduced to the curriculum maker-space to allow students to monitor construction progress on a new junior high building, while an after-school Robotics Club and a Robotics Summer Camp were added to jump start interest in coding and robotics.

For more information on the top-ranked districts, see our article. View the full list of school districts honored below.

About the National School Boards Association

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is the leading advocate for public education and supports equity and excellence in public education through school board leadership. NSBA believes public education is a civil right necessary to the dignity and freedom of the American people, and all children should have equal access to an education that maximizes his or her individual potential. The association represents state school boards associations and their more than 90,000 local school board members throughout the U.S.

About the Center for Digital Education

The Center for Digital Education (CDE) is a national research and advisory institute specializing in K-12 and higher education technology trends, policy and funding. CDE provides education and industry leaders with decision support and actionable insights to help effectively incorporate new technologies in the 21st century. Learn more at: CDE is a division of e.Republic, the nation’s only media and research company focused exclusively on state and local government and education.

2016-2017 Digital School Districts Survey - Top Ten-Ranking Winners - Congratulations!

Large Student Population District Category (12,000 students or more):
1st Houston County School System, Ga.
2nd Wilson County School District, Tenn.
3rd Roanoke County Public Schools, Va.
4th Colorado Springs School District 11, Colo.
4th Richmond County Schools, Ga.
5th Fullerton School District, Calif.
5th Osceola County School District, Fla. 
6th Rock Hill Schools, S.C.
7th Flagler County Public Schools, Fla.
7th Rowan-Salisbury Schools, N.C.
7th Township High School District 214, Ill.
8th Northwest Independent School District, Texas
8th Savannah-Chatham County Public School System, Ga.
9th Clark County School District, Nev.
9th Fayette County Public Schools, Ga.
9th Pinellas County Schools, Fla.
10th Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, N.C.
10th Cherokee County School District, Ga.
10th Virginia Beach City Public Schools, Va.

Mid-sized Student Population Districts Category (3,000 - 12,000 students):
1st Mt. Lebanon School District, Pa.
2nd Jefferson City Schools, Ga.
3rd Encinitas Union School District, Ca.
4th Lakeville Area Public Schools, Minn.
4th Oconomowoc Area School District, Wisc.
4th St. Charles Parish Public Schools, La.
5th Charlottesville City Schools, Va.
6th Coppell Independent School District, Texas
6th Sauk Rapids-Rice School District #47, Minn.
6th Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools, Va.
7th Center Grove Community School Corporation, Ind.
7th Monroe County Schools, Ga.
8th Bergenfield Public School District, N.J.
8th Henry County Public Schools, Va. 
9th Austin Public Schools #492, Minn.
10th Marietta City Schools, Ga.
10th Rome City Schools, Ga.

Small Student Population Districts Category (3,000 students or less):
1st Arp Independent School District, Texas
2nd Lindop School District 92, Ill.
3rd Coxsackie-Athens Central School District, N.Y.
4th Lenoir City Schools, Tenn.
5th Allendale Public Schools, Mich.
6th Cedar Bluffs Public Schools, Neb. 
6th Pike Road Schools, Ala.
7th Chickamauga City School District, Ga.
7th West Platte School District, Mo.
8th Blue Ridge School District 18, Ill.
8th Pewaukee School District, Wisc.
9th Jasper County Charter System, Ga.
9th Payson Unified School District, Ariz.
10th Greeneville City Schools, Tenn.

School Board transparency measures:
•    83% The school district's board goals are posted online.
•    56% Annual progress on the school district's board goals is posted online.
•    85% District academic gains (District Report Card) information is posted online.
•    79% District graduation rates are posted online.
•    86% The district's budget information is published online.
•    68% The district's technology plan is posted online and accessible by the public.

The district’s governance plan for student data includes the following:
•    86% The district tracks student data longitudinally.   
•    75% The district has a data governance policy that ensures security and privacy of data.
•    63% The district integrates data from multiple sources to create teacher/management dashboards.
IT Priorities for the Coming Year:
1 - Personalized Learning
2 - Digital Content and Curriculum
3 - Professional Development / Skills Training for Integrating Technology in the Classroom
4 - Mobility (one-to-one and BYOD)
5 - Networking Infrastructure Upgrades
6 - Online Testing  
7 - Common Core/ State Standards
8 - Student Data Privacy including Policies
9 - Cybersecurity Policy, including Acceptable Use of Technology
10 - Technology for Physical Security
10 - Cybersecurity/ Data Security Tools

Districts’ social media platforms in place:
•    Facebook – 93%
•    Twitter – 92% (up 11 percent since last year)
•    YouTube – 75% (up 12 percent since last year)
•    Instagram – 43%
•    LinkedIn – 30%
•    Pinterest – 18%
•    Snapchat – 9%

•    88% of districts have a mobile device policy in place.
•    56% of districts provide a mobile app

For questions, contact Janet Grenslitt, Director of Surveys and Awards, Center for Digital Education,