One of the strongest organizations of high performing school districts west of the Mississippi River is the Western States Benchmarking Consortium. These districts constantly score above the norm on tests, have high graduation rates, and have lower dropout rates when compared with similar and dissimilar demographics. All of these school districts were early adopters of technology and have used it to support teachers, students and their business teams. Assistant Superintendent John Q. Porter of Montgomery County Public Schools, an outstanding school district on the East Coast, stated in the June issue of District Administration magazine.
"Our enemy is time, and technology is the only way [to combat that]. Still, there are people who don't understand the importance of technology because they fear it. One of the first things you realize in technology is that technology Telephone Number List is change; those who fail in developing systems don't understand the dynamic of change." Two years ago, Poway Unified School District was going to hire 32 new teachers. The technology department used their data warehousing tool to show district leaders they needed only 25 teachers. The leadership followed their advice instead of following old trends, and their estimation proved correct. The district saved approximately $350,000 in salaries -- more than the cost of the data warehouse installation.
Student assessments have changed. Trish Williams and Michael Kirst, in their article "School Practices that Matter" (Leadership Magazine, March/April 2006), state high performing districts must have assessments that align with state standards and have the ability to quickly inform teachers of results. Online assessments give policymakers a choice of how to properly assess students to support learning, with 24 hours or quicker result reporting. This should be a common practice to support the students and meet NCLB mandates.