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Digital School Districts Survey 2013-14 Identifies Innovative Uses of Technology

School boards support expanding Virtual Schools, Digital Curriculum, Digital Textbook and Laptop Initiatives.

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March 26, 2014 — Top-ranked school districts have been announced in the tenth annual Digital School Districts Survey by the Center for Digital Education (CDE) and the National School Boards Association (NSBA). The survey showcases exemplary school boards’ and districts’ use of technology to govern the district, communicate with students, parents and the community, and improve district operations.

This year’s recognition goes to school districts for their expanding use of innovative technologies district-wide as well as in the classroom.

Here are a few of the examples of the technology and information used in the school districts who placed first in each classification, based on student enrollment. 

  • Prince William County Public Schools’ school board meetings in Virginia are televised and streamed live, and available via podcast and on-demand, connecting the public digitally without having to attend Board meetings in person. They have embraced social networking from email, blogs, and discussion boards to forums and more. They use Twitter as part of communications with parents, students and the community. They teach students proper techniques and standards for participation, and explain issues of privacy, tool use and network etiquette. Plus, they expanded their virtual high school (VHS) to include 22 courses for over 9,000 students.
  • Henry County Public Schools has the largest digital textbook initiative in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Currently sixth graders have their science book installed as an e-text, with plans to add more textbooks as they become available digitally. Plus, the new Parent Connect mobile application not only links parents and students to the same apps, it also extends the curriculum to all mobile devices.
  • Springfield Public Schools in New Jersey has continued their one-to-one laptop initiative creating a virtually paperless environment with almost no textbooks in the classroom. Teachers use web-based curriculum and students and teachers have e-lockers and e-portfolios. 

“Schools and school districts are embracing technology and it is really exciting not only to see the innovative ways they implement technology, but how they are using technology effectively to teach and advance education,” said Alan Cox, Senior Vice President for the Center for Digital Education. “These education leaders serve as an inspiration to other school districts nationwide for their creative efforts to provide an outstanding education for today’s students. Congratulations to this year’s winners!”

“Technology innovations enable local school boards to connect with their communities and support students and teachers in ways that were unimaginable even a decade ago,” said NSBA’s Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel.  “The 2014 Digital School Districts Survey offers powerful examples of technology’s role in the transformation of public education.” 

The top ten rankings are awarded to those school boards/districts that most fully implement technology benchmarks in the evolution of digital education, as represented in the survey questions. 

The first-place winners in each classification are:

Prince William County Public Schools, Va. (12,000 students or more)
Henry County Public Schools, Va. (Between 3,000 and 12,000 students)
Springfield Public Schools, N.J. (3,000 students or less)

All U.S. public school districts are eligible to participate in the survey within the three classifications based on size of enrollment.  

CDE thanks Sprint for underwriting the survey and for their support of school districts across the nation.

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 represents state school boards associations and their more than 90,000 local school board members throughout the U.S. 

Learn more at:

About The Center for Digital Education

The Center for Digital Education 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 insight to help effectively incorporate new technologies in the 21st century.

CDE is a division of e.Republic, the nation’s only media and research company focused exclusively on state and local government and education. 

2013-2014 Digital School Districts Survey - Top Ten-Ranking Winners - Congratulations!

Large Student Population District Category: 

Student population 12,000 or more:

1st Prince William County Public Schools, Va.

2nd Colorado Springs School District 11, Colo.

3rd Hampton City Schools, Va.

3rd Savannah-Chatham County Public School System, Ga.

3rd Township High School District 214, Ill.

4th Houston County School System, Ga.

4th Richmond County School System, GA

5th Houston Independent School District, Texas

5th Kent School District, Wash.

6th Fayette County Schools, Ga.

6th Katy Independent School District, Texas

7th Klein Independent School District, Texas

7th Northwest ISD, Texas

8th Forsyth County Schools, Ga.

9th Cherokee County School District, Ga.

9th Hall County School District, Ga.

10th Blue Valley Unified School District #229, Kan.


Mid-sized Student Population District Category: 

Student population 3,000 - 12,000:

1st Henry County Public Schools, Va.

2nd Monroe County Schools, Ga.

2nd School District of Janesville, Wis.

3rd Decatur City Schools, Ala.

3rd Jefferson City Schools, Ga.

4th Oconomowoc Area School District, Wis.

4th Center Grove Community School Corporation School District, Ind.

5th Harrisburg School District 41-2, S.D.

5th Mt. Lebanon School District, Pa.

6th Fayetteville Public Schools, Ark.

7th Colquitt County Schools, Ark.

8th Bergenfield Public Schools, N.J.

9th St. Charles Parish Public Schools, La.

10th City Schools of Decatur, Ga.


Small Student Population District Category: 

Student population 3,000 or less:

1st Springfield Public Schools, N.J.

2nd Hanson School District 30-1, S.D.

3rd Maine Regional School Unit 21, Maine

3rd Lindop School District 92, Ill.

4th Lower Moreland Township School District, Pa.

4th Carroll County School District, Ky.

5th Allendale Public Schools, Mich.

6th Chickamauga City School System, Ga.

7th Cedar Bluffs Public Schools, Neb.

7th Goochland County Public Schools, Va.

8th Charlton County School System, Ga.

9th Taylor County School District, Ky.

10th McIntosh County Schools, Ga.


Selected Survey Findings and Trends:

School Board Meeting Availability: 

  • Board meeting agenda and docs e-displayed on screen – 80% 
  • Televised – 31% 
  • Streamed and Archived – 32%
  • Via Podcast – 22% 
  • Fifty-two percent of states allow Board members to participate/vote in school board meetings remotely.

The district allows alternatives to core content instruction in classrooms: 

  • Students can take fully online classes for core content credit - 79%
  • Blended classes are offered and meet core content requirements through a combination of face-to-face and online instruction - 67%
  • Core content is currently delivered online - 61%
  • The "flipped classroom" concept is utilized- 61%
  • Video conferencing for instruction is utilized as part of core content - 47%
  • The district has developed plans to deliver core content online - 33%
  • No alternatives to core content face-to-face instruction are being explored - 3%

Describe the district's strategy regarding mobility:

  • District offers professional development for teachers on how to use mobile devices and apps for instruction - 88%
  • Student-owned mobile devices can be used in the classroom - 83%
  • District encourages the use of mobile apps for instruction - 81%
  • District provides mobile apps for students to use for instruction - 67%
  • District has successful actions in place regarding physical protection of district-owned devices - 65%
  • District provides 1:1 mobile devices for students to use in the classroom - 46%

Status of BYOD: 

  • Implemented – 56% (up 15% from last year!)
  • Of the 56% that have implemented, in which grades?
    • 9th – 12th – 84% 
    • 6th – 8th – 74%  
    • 4th and 5th – 62% 
    • Pre-K – 3rd – 51%   

For more information, contact Janet Grenslitt, Director of Surveys and Awards, Center for Digital Education,, or 916-932-1363

Digital School Districts Survey Sponsor:

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