Empowering Learners and Building a Stronger Workforce, Fostering Economic Growth

K-64 is on the move in Catawba County. K-64 is connecting business and education strategically and systematically in order to foster economic development and enhance the educational opportunities for students.

Currently, in Catawba County, every middle school student has a Chromebook through funding provided by K-64. Mark Story, the CEO of K-64, speaks frequently about how the Chromebooks create equal access to educational opportunities for students, and they eliminate time and space as variables in learning. The Chromebook initiative is affirmed through the research of Binbin Zheng, an Assistant Professor at Michigan State University. She said the following in regards to one-to-one laptop programs: “I believe this technology, if implemented correctly, is worth the cost and effort because it lifts student achievement, enhances engagement and enthusiasm among students, improves teacher-student relationships and promotes 21st century skills such as technological proficiency and problem solving.”

At the February 2019 K-64 Board meeting, exciting news was shared with the Board members. It was announced that in the 2019-2020 school year, the Chromebooks will also be provided to all high school students! This means that starting in Fall 2019 every middle school and high school student in Catawba County Schools, Hickory Public Schools, and Newton-Conover City Schools will have his/her own Chromebook.

Catawba County will be one of the few places in the United States where every middle school and high school student has his/her own personal device. The feedback from a middle school teacher who is also a parent sums up the positive impact of the Chromebooks: “I’m thankful. I think it’s one of the best things that has ever happened to our county.”

K-64 has also funded technology training for teachers in Catawba County Schools, Hickory Public Schools, and Newton-Conover City Schools. K-64 is supporting blended learning that combines Chromebooks with teacher instruction through its financial contributions to professional development for teachers. District leaders for each school system have had the autonomy to design and implement the blended learning training to meet the unique needs of their teachers and schools. K-64 has also allotted funds to pay for technology training for high school teachers prior to the rollout of the Chromebooks in Fall 2019.

The technology training coupled with the Chromebooks creates dynamic learning environments where students have the world at their fingertips and the ability to learn anytime, anywhere. K-64 is truly the “secret sauce” that is making Catawba County a leader in education and economic development.

Written by Ryan McCreary, Ed.D.

References

Zheng, B. (2016). Does learning improve when every student gets a laptop? Accessed on January 22, 2019 from https://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2016/does-learning-improve-when-every-student-gets-a-laptop/?utm_campaign=media-pitch&utm_medium=email.

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