The White House invited select U.S. educators to a summit today, and Hall County Superintendent Will Schofield is one of them.
“ConnectED to the Future” will be hosted by President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. It will bring together educators from across the country who are leading their schools in the transition to digital learning.
“I think it’s approximately 100 superintendents from across the country invited just to talk about the digital initiatives that are being pushed forward by the U.S. Department of Education,” Schofield said. “Right in the center of those initiatives is trying to ensure every child has access to world-class digital resources.”
According to a release from the Office of the Press Secretary, the meeting is part of Obama’s ConnectED Initiative, which is meant to connect 99 percent of students to high-speed Internet and teachers to necessary teaching technology by 2017. Currently, less than 30 percent of schools have the necessary broadband.
The event also follows the launching of the Future Ready Pledge, which asks school districts to develop a culture of technology in the classroom.
Obama will host a digital pledge signing ceremony with the gathered superintendents and more across the country.
Schofield said he believes the Hall County School District has made great strides in its classroom technology.
“We have great people who have really worked behind the scenes for a number of years now ensuring that we have the broadband connectivity,” he said. “... It was just a month ago that we came up with another $600,000 grant to increase the number of hot spots for wireless access in all of our facilities. There’s just been an awful lot of work behind the scenes in the last decade.”
Schofield said across the system, 10,000 or more individuals connect to the Internet every day and it is a primary source of digital learning tools for teachers and students.
The summit will provide an opportunity to learn more ways to use technology in the classroom, something Schofield said he’s looking forward to hearing.
“I’m certainly not anything close to a digital expert, so there’s a lot that I can learn,” he said. “I’m probably the one who doesn’t belong up here because there are a lot of people in our district who know a lot more about this topic than I do.”
Schofield said he’s also looking forward to hearing what other districts across the country are doing to bring digital learning tools to students.
Three Georgia school system leaders were selected to participate, including Schofield, Philip Lanoue of Clarke County Schools and Luvenia Jackson of Clayton County Public Schools.
Schofield said it will be an honor to represent Hall County in Washington and he’s pleased to have the opportunity to bring some new information home to the system.
“I’ve gotten old enough to realize, this sort of thing is just a reflection of our district and the people in our district, it’s certainly not a reflection of me,” he said. “I’m honored to represent our teachers and administrators that have worked so hard to make this a priority and have done it very well.”