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Scaling Education Innovation, the Mooresville Summer Connection 2012

August 8, 2012 at 8:34 am PST

Innovation is alive and well in education. You don’t have to look far to find teachers using technology to personalize teaching and learning in their classrooms. There are also many outstanding examples of schools of distinction that have integrated technology into curriculum and instruction. However, there are precious few examples of school districts that are systemically employing technology as a foundational strategy to improve student achievement. That’s why the Mooresville Graded School District (MGSD) stands out as a shining example of 21st century education and why their recently concluded Summer Connection 2012 institute is so important.

A vision of “every child, every day”, digital resources and a culture of caring are keys to the success of the Mooresville Digital Conversion. However, reform does not happen without leadership. Mooresville is fortunate to be led by one of the most innovative educators in American education today. Listen as Dr. Mark Edwards, Superintendent of the MGSD describes the impetus and impact of Mooresville Digital Conversion.

MGSD ranks 100 out of 115 North Carolina school districts in funding yet ranks 2nd in student achievement and its graduation rate is also the 2nd highest in the state. Can these results be replicated in other districts? Is there a way to scale the Mooresville model? That’s where Summer Connection comes in.

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Dr. Mark Edwards Talk On Student Achievement Gains at Mooresville GSD

For a shining example of public education in the United States, watch the talk that Dr. Mark Edwards, Superintendent of Mooresville Graded School District in North Carolina, gave at the recent ISTE Conference in San Diego. Yes, Mooresville is a Cisco customer, and yes, how they have used technology to improve student outcomes is big part of their success story (Dr. Edwards has the metrics to prove it). But the real key to their effectiveness as a high-performing public school is the holistic approach they take to educating “every child, every day”, their “can do” attitude, and “culture of caring” that Mark and his team have created at Mooresville.

Watch the video of Dr. Edward’s ISTE presentation — it runs just under an hour and is well worth your time.

Most exciting to me is that  so much of Mooresville’s approach is replicable.  Dr. Edwards is writing a book and I hope every educator, and prospective educator in the country buys a copy.

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Tiny Mooresville Grabs White House Stage

Tom Kalil, Deputy Director for Policy, Office of Science & Technology, leads a Digital Promise panel of educators and technologists.

“So Dr. Edwards, can you explain to the audience what’s behind the success you’ve had at Mooresville, in implementing technology that has so changed students lives?” The question was posed by Tom Kalil, Deputy Director for Policy in the Office of Science and Technology. Kalil was moderating a panel of distinguished educators and technologists – and the venue? A White House conference called on creating more access for technology in US K-12 schools.

I was not at all surprised to see Dr. Edwards on the White House stage on this beautiful fall day. In fact I saw all this coming when I first visited the tiny hamlet of Mooresville, North Carolina, back in April of this year. The more classrooms I was pulled into, the more kids I saw “leaning in”, the more the “buzz” reflected off the cinder hallway walls…the more I figured there was to the Mooresville story.

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