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National Survey Recognizes School Districts for Innovative Uses of Technology

The Center for Digital Education’s Digital School Districts Survey Awards 2015-16 recognize schools that are helping expand student and parent engagement, use of data analytics, and more.

by Janet Grenslitt / March 29, 2016

School districts’ use of technologies such as digital literacy training for parents, student-run technology support centers, robotic systems that record classroom teaching and learning, and data analytics earned top rankings in the Center for Digital Education’s and National School Boards Association’s annual Digital School Districts Survey.

Now in its 12th year, the Digital School Districts Survey Awards recognize exemplary use of technology by school boards and districts.

“School districts, with the support of their school boards, are increasingly focused on learning through innovative technologies,” said Dr. Kecia Ray, executive director for the Center for Digital Education. “As a result, students are using all kinds of cutting-edge tools that assist learning, inspire creativity and help prepare them for the future. It’s my privilege to congratulate these school districts that are making exceptional gains to transform education systems with effective uses of technology.”

“The results of the Digital School Districts Survey exemplify how visionary leadership in the board room supports the innovative use of technology in the classroom and in the delivery of district services,” said National School Boards Association Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel. “The annual survey questions incorporate the latest technology trends and allow district leaders to utilize the survey instrument as a quick self-assessment tool to compare their own districts’ use of technology against national trends.”

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 in the Digital School Districts Survey.

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

Hampton City Schools, Va. (12,000 students or more)

Hampton City Schools uses technology to encourage student and teacher engagement. In addition to Web-streaming their board meetings and producing a variety of podcasts for parents, teachers and students during the school year, HCS also provides digital literacy training for parents, including Internet safety and privacy, acceptable use policies and more.

White County School District, Ga. (3,000 – 12,000 students)

White County School District has moved away from print textbooks. Instead, the district is using e-textbooks, online collaboration, quiz tools, instructional games, simulations, films, TV programs, YouTube segments, music, lectures and podcasts for instruction. A full-time instructional technology director trains every teacher, and there are instructional coaches at each school tasked with helping teachers better integrate technology in the classroom.

District collaborative projects include online courses with North Georgia University, online video conferences and 3D virtual mapping in coordination with the county government.

Springfield Public Schools, N.J. (up to 3,000 students)

Springfield Public School District uses technology to improve instruction and learning. Using a robotic camera system and a remote device on a lanyard transmitting to their iPad, teachers record themselves while teaching. The videos are then uploaded into teacher accounts, reviewed and used for collaborative professional learning or self-reflection.

Meanwhile, data analysis is used to inform instruction, personnel and budgeting, and “InnovateNJ,” a collaboration with another district to share best practices in data analysis, identifies students that need improvement in specific areas. Parents can then review academic performance data and learn how to help their child with targeted skills at home.

For more information on the top 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 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 (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.

2015-2016 Digital School Districts Survey - Top Ten-Ranking Winners - Congratulations!

Large Student Population District Category (12,000 students or more):

1st Hampton City Schools, Va.

2nd Township High School District 214, Ill.

3rd Houston County School System, Ga.

3rd Colorado Springs School District 11, Colo.

4th Klein Independent School District, Texas

5th Forsyth County Schools, Ga.

5th Hall County School District, Ga.

5th Northwest Independent School District, Texas

6th Fairfax County Public Schools, Va.

6th Katy Independent School District, Texas

7th Columbia Public Schools, Mo.

7th Savannah-Chatham County Public School System, Ga.

8th Dallas Independent School District, Texas

8th Houston Independent School District, Texas

8th Orange County Public Schools, Fla.

9th DeKalb County School District, Ga.

10th Cherokee County School District, Ga.

Mid-sized Student Population District Category (3,000 - 12,000 students):

1st White County School District, Ga.

2nd Mt. Lebanon School District, Penn.

3rd Henry County Public Schools, Va.

4th Center Grove Community School Corporation, Ind.

4th Jefferson City Schools, Ga.

4th Monroe County Schools, Ga.

5th City Schools of Decatur, Ga.

5th Oconomowoc Area School District, Wis.

6th Bergenfield Public Schools, N.J.

6th Lakeville Area Public Schools, Minn.

7th Marietta City Schools, Ga.

7th Sauk Rapids-Rice Public Schools, Minn.

8th Austin Public Schools #492, Minn.

8th Coppell Independent School District, Texas

9th Bristol Tennessee City Schools, Tenn.

10th Dothan City Schools, Ala.


Small Student Population District Category (3,000 students or less):

1st Springfield Public Schools, N.J.

2nd Arp Independent School District, Texas

3rd Falls Church City Public Schools, Va.

4th Geneseo Community School District #228, Ill.

5th Coxsackie-Athens Central School District, N.Y.

5th Hanson School District, S.D.

5th Lindop School District 92, Ill.

6th Newcastle Elementary School District, Calif.

7th Carroll County School District, Ky.

8th Pewaukee School District, Wis.

9th Goochland County Public Schools, Va.

9th Greeneville City Schools, Tenn.

9th Jasper County School District, Ga.

10th Allendale Public Schools, Mich.

10th Charlton County School System, Ga.

10th Chickamauga City School System, Ga.

Selected Survey Findings and Trends

School Board meeting input:

  • 28% of districts use an official social media channel (such as Twitter) during school board meetings for public feedback on issues facing the board.
  • 60% of districts allow the public to submit input about school board activities on issues facing the board, on either the school board’s or district’s website.

Content and Curriculum: 62% of the districts have a digital content and curriculum strategy (up 13% since last year); more than a third of those strategies include Open Educational Resources (38%); and 33% have one under development.

Dashboards: 59% of the districts utilize dashboards, and 20% are in the process of developing them (modest increase of two and three percent respectively).

Redesign of district classrooms/learning spaces:

  • 62% of districts are using technology tools for the classroom such as interactive whiteboards, document cameras, display equipment, assessment tools; 31% will definitely modernize in the next 12- 24 months.
  • 50% of districts have completed the district's 1:1 initiative and supportive infrastructure; 38% are planning to, or definitely will modernize in the next 12-24 months.

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. Online Testing
  5. Mobility (one-to-one and BYOD)
  6. Common Core/ State Standards; and Networking Infrastructure Upgrades
  7. Student Data Privacy including Policies
  8. Data Management / Analytics
  9. Technology for Physical Security
  10. Cybersecurity Policy; and Cybersecurity/ Data Security Tools

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

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