Florida district equips 1,500 classrooms with SMART products
Bay District Schools, based in Panama City, Florida, is currently equipping 1,500 core-subject classrooms with SMART Board 880 interactive whiteboards, SMART Response PE interactive response systems, SMART Document Cameras and SMART Slate wireless slates. The multimillion-dollar project is being financed by a half-cent sales tax, a district initiative to provide equitable technology for students in all classrooms across the school district with money raised from the tax. District officials hope to similarly equip remaining elective-subject classrooms in the near future.
Bay District Schools is comprised of 40 schools, more than 26,000 students and approximately 1,850 teachers. In 2011, approximately 200 classrooms were equipped with educational technology from various suppliers, including SMART. As part of the equitable classroom technology initiative, district officials decided to acquire products from a single supplier and established a committee to make a recommendation to the school board about which products to purchase. The committee, which included district personnel, school board officials and local educators, made a thorough assessment and chose SMART because of the company’s reputation for innovation, the multitouch capabilities of its SMART Board 800 series interactive whiteboards, its engaging software and resources, and the company’s professional development and support services. The school board also approved positions for 15 Teachers on Special Assignment (TOSA) – individuals with technical and curriculum expertise – to work with other teachers during the first year of the installation. As well, they provided SMART trainers to ensure effective implementation of SMART education solutions.
“Our teachers love SMART products,” says Tamra Hogue, Supervisor of Instructional Technology and Media Services, Bay District Schools. “Teachers who were not even using projectors are now working with their SMART Board interactive whiteboards every day, and their students are responding, becoming more empowered by using this exciting, up-to-date technology.”