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Reynoldsburg invited to national conference

Reynoldsburg Superintendent Tina Thomas-Manning is one of two district leaders from Ohio planning to attend the first ever National Connected Superintendents Conference this week at the White House.

The conference will bring together school officials from throughout America to share with one another and the U.S. Department of Education promising approaches to using technology in classes.

“School districts across the country are helping teachers harness the power of technology to create personal learning environments for all students,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a press release about the event. “We want to make sure every child – whether he or she is in the inner-city, in a rural community or on a Native American reservation – has access to knowledge and the chance to learn 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Reynoldsburg is one of three districts nationally partnered with The Learning Accelerator to develop blended learning strategies that empower classroom teachers to personalize instruction for each individual child. For information about how Reynoldsburg’s technology team led an innovative initiative that increased the district’s internet speeds 100x and reduced infrastructure costs over 10 years, read “Reynoldsburg City Schools’ Internet Journey.” For an example of a Reynoldsburg teacher customizing professional development so that he and his colleagues can make the most of the district’s infrastructure, read “Blend It Yourself: How to MOOC Your Own Course on Blended Learning.”

“It’s a privilege to be invited,” Mrs. Thomas-Manning said. “Reynoldsburg principals, teachers and staff have earned our seat at the table with their leadership in recent years. They recognize that these tools empower classroom teachers to meet the academic needs of each of their children.”

Reynoldsburg also is a partner to Mentor Public Schools – the other Ohio district to be represented at the conference – and dozens of other Ohio school districts as part of the Ohio Blended Learning Network.

To help spotlight the value of technology in schools, the Education Department is sponsoring a Future Ready Initiative aimed at showcasing outstanding school leadership and strategies.

“The Future Ready Initiative highlights the critical role of district leaders in setting a vision and creating the environment where educators and students access the tools, content, and expertise necessary for thriving in a connected world,” said Richard Culatta, director of the Department’s Office of Educational Technology.

In June 2013, President Obama announced the ConnectED Initiative, starting with a goal of connecting 99 percent of students to next-generation connectivity within five years. Model schools and districts across the country are using technology to create personalized learning environments; technology will play an increasingly crucial role in the future.
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