Superintendent Dr. Christine Johns was part of a select group of national educators participating in workshops with senior U.S. administration officials about the innovative use of technology in the nation's classrooms this week at the White House.
Johns was the only Michigan representative at the first Innovation Workshop Tuesday and Wednesday in Washington, D.C.
"The conversations that (were) taking place represent an important step forward in how educators across the nation can better use technology to drive student achievement," Dr. Johns said. "The national reputation of UCS for educational excellence allows us to be at the forefront of changes that spur further innovation in the integration of technology in our classrooms."
The D.C. workshop was part of the League of Innovative Schools. The League, announced at a White House event in September 2011, is an alliance of 26 school districts in 18 states committed to using technological innovation to dramatically increase student achievement. The League was launched by Digital Promise and is its key initiative. Digital Promise is the new national center authorized by a bipartisan coalition in Congress to advance breakthroughs in education with technology.
UCS is currently expanding its wireless network for high speed and high density to directly enhance teaching and learning. The district was one of the first districts in Michigan to have a wireless system in all of its instructional areas.
In addition, a redesigned full-day kindergarten program will use ipads and individualized apps for reading and math, allowing students to progress at their own pace.
Also, the district will introduce an elementary science and mathematics technology platform that is an adaptive online learning program that provides millions of individualized learning paths. Through this program, individual on-line lessons will allow students to progress at their own pace and academic level while interacting with virtual math manipulatives, conducting virtual experiments, and rewarding students' progress with achievement badges similar to electronic games students play.
Other examples of building-level innovative UCS projects that feature technology include the AdvancePath Academy for at-risk high school students and the Utica Center for Science and Industry and its focus on technology to create career and college-ready students.