The Wilkes County Board of Education promotes the use of technology in the educational program in order to enhance instructional opportunities, appeal to different learning styles, and meet the educational goals of the Board of Education. The Board recognizes the benefits of digital teaching and learning resources that provide the ability to easily customize curriculum, enable access to current, high quality, more affordable resources, and promote transformational student learning. The Board supports classroom digital teaching and learning resources that are aligned with the current statewide instructional standards. To the extent funding permits, the Board will strive to ensure all students have access to devices and resources that advance all goals stated above and foster the skills and attributes necessary to prepare learners for college and career.
All technological resources will be selected, acquired, and used in a manner consistent with applicable laws and Board of Education policies. This includes laws and policies related to copyright, public records, bidding, and other purchase requirements, accessibility for students with disabilities, staff duties, and standards for student behavior.
A. Planning for Technological Resources
The Board of Education expects that information and communications technologies will be integrated across the curriculum and used to support student achievement. Technology will also be used to support programs and activities that promote safe schools and healthy, responsible students. The curriculum director should provide suggestions in the curriculum guides referenced in policy 3115, Curriculum and Instructional Guides, for integrating technological resources into the educational program (see Section B below). School administrators and teachers are encouraged to develop additional strategies for integrating technological resources across the curriculum and utilizing the power of technology to improve learning outcomes while making more efficient use of resources. The strategies should be included in the school improvement plan if they require the transfer of funds or otherwise relate to any mandatory or optional components of the plan (policy 3440, School Improvement Plan).
Planning to support digital teaching and learning needs will be integrated into strategic planning efforts and include various stakeholders such as curriculum leaders, teachers, administrators, and representatives from other central services departments as required (i.e. technology services, finance, etc.).
B. Selection of Technological Resources
Technological resources include, but are not limited to, the following: (1) hardware, including both fixed and mobile technologies and devices such as desktop computers, laptops, Chromebooks, tablets, iPads, etc.; (2) software; (3) network and telecommunications systems and services; (4) Internet access; (5) multimedia equipped classrooms; (6) computer classrooms and laboratories; and (7) other existing or emerging communications systems (i.e. phones, intercoms, sound equipment, etc.).
Technological resources must meet or exceed the following standards before they may be considered for implementation.
- Technological resources must support the current statewide instructional standards or the educational programs of the school system.
- Technological resources must support the current use of learning and instructional management technologies in the school.
- Technological resources must be compatible with the condition of the network and other infrastructure resources. The technology director will set minimum standards for technological resources that are purchased or donated. Hardware and software requirements must be maintained and upgraded to the highest possible standards for safety and network security.
- There must be sufficient staff to operate and maintain the technological equipment, programs, and systems.
- There must be adequate funds budgeted to implement and support the technological resources and to train instructional staff to use the resources to improve educational outcomes.
- Considerations must be made for the lifespan and usage of technological resources, training fees, investment of human resources, and other indirect costs associated with the purchase of any hardware or software to ensure sustainability.
C. Acquiring Technological Resources
Wilkes County Schools will use a variety of funding sources in an effort to acquire technological resources for the educational program. All purchases, donations, or grant requests of technological resources, including hardware and software, must receive prior approval by the technology director or designee to ensure compatibility with existing systems and network security. Any hardware or software received or purchased without this prior approval will not be installed or supported.
D. Deployment of Technology to Schools
The technology director shall oversee the school system’s technology deployment. The distribution will be designed to ensure an efficient means of deploying new information and communications technologies.
E. Disposal of Technology Equipment
The technology department will determine when equipment has reached end-of-life status and will advise schools accordingly. A replacement cycle of five years is strongly recommended for all computer hardware.
The following steps will be followed when disposing of outdated or unusable equipment.
- A list of items for requested removal will be presented to the Board of Education for approval.
- The technology department will remove all software from the hard drives of approved computers.
- In keeping with U. S. Copyright Laws, software licenses will not be resold.
- Equipment will be made available for purchase to interested parties, and bids will be accepted.
- If not sold, equipment will be recycled, if applicable, or disposed of in a safe manner.
F. Bring Your Own Technology
Employees will have the capability to login a wireless laptop, tablet, iPad, or smartphone using staff credentials for wireless Internet access. These devices may not be directly cabled into the network but will be allowed to connect wirelessly. Access may be denied if staff personal devices do not meet compatibility requirements or network security standards for up-to-date operating systems and anti-virus software. Printing services and access to school file servers will not be provided for personally owned devices. The technology department will not perform repairs, preventative maintenance, updates, or install software on any personally-owned laptop, tablet, iPad, or smartphone. Wilkes County Schools accepts no responsibility for the repairs or replacement of damaged, lost, or stolen devices or any data or other charges arising from staff use of a personal device. All federal, state, and local laws and policies apply regardless of whether an employee is using a school-owned or personal device on school grounds.
To ensure compatibility with technological resources, online testing requirements, minimum software requirements, and filtered Internet content, students will be provided Chromebooks or laptops by the school in grades K-13; therefore, students may not use personal laptops, tablets, computers, or iPads on school premises.
Because some printers store information, only district-owned printers will be used on Wilkes County Schools’ campuses.
Wilkes County Schools assumes no responsibility for any personal devices brought to school.
G. Electronic Communications and Other Collaborative Tools
Instructional personnel are permitted to incorporate online resources and/or digital communication tools for educational purposes to the extent deemed appropriate by the superintendent, technology director, and school administrator and in accordance with policy 7000, Standard of Professional Conduct, and policy 7322, Web Page Development, and all other applicable board policies. Parameters and rules for use of these tools will be established and communicated to users. Teachers will instruct students in the safe, effective, and appropriate use of these tools. Instructional personnel will make all reasonable attempts to monitor students’ online activity and will comply with the requirements of policy 3225/7320, Technology Responsible Use, when using any online tool.
H. Technology-Related Professional Development
A program of technology-enabled professional development will be established that prepares the instructional staff for utilizing digital tools and resources based on current state standards and requirements. Professional development will emphasize technology integration and continuous improvement, including the integration of technology-based learning across the curriculum. Professional development will also address the ethical, legal, and practical issues related to the use of technology, social networking, mobile devices, and other topics deemed necessary by the superintendent or technology director. School improvement teams should identify any staff development appropriations for technology-related professional development in their school improvement plans. The technology director should assist schools in coordinating staff development needs as provided in policy 1610/7800, Professional Development and Assistance.
Legal References: G.S. 115C-522; 143B-1341; State Board of Education Policy SBOP-018
Cross References: Copyright Compliance (policies 3230/7330), School Improvement Plan (policy 3430), Standards of Expected Student Behavior (policy 4310), Public Records (policy 5070), Staff Responsibilities (policy 7300), Professional Development and Assistance (policy 1610/7800), Technology Responsible Use Policy (policy 3225/4312/7320), Web Page Development (policy 7322), Curriculum and Instructional Guides (policy 3115), Standard of Professional Conduct (policy 7000), Gifts and Bequests (policy 8220).
Adopted: May 17, 2004
Revised: November 7, 2005, July 3, 2006, August 4, 2008, January 10, 2022