PRC Reference District recognition

Published 7:00 am Thursday, July 26, 2018

The Pearl River County school district has just been selected as an official Google Reference District – a recognition that celebrates the district’s hard work in implementing technology into the classroom. PRC is the first district in the State to receive this recognition.

PRC Curriculum Director Kim Alford said this is the second year PRC has had one-on-one Chromebooks for their students. From kindergarten through 12th grade, every student has access to a Chromebook in each of their classrooms, she said.

PRC Instructor of Technologies Tara Poolson said these computers are special, since they primarily function online. This way the laptops are protected from viruses, and students do not have to stick to just one computer. Instead, all students need to do is sign into their Google Drive accounts and they can access all of their coursework no matter where they are. Because of this, students do not need to carry the laptops around with them – they can just access a new computer with each classroom they visit.

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Poolson said this technology is being used throughout the school district in every subject. This technology is used in every class from English and Social Studies to mathematics and fine arts.

The process of implementing this technology began about four years ago, Poolson said. First, they researched what devices would work best for their district. Some districts use Apple products, some use Microsoft products and other use Google software. After doing research, it was decided that Google would be the best solution, since it offers free Google Drive software and unlimited cloud storage for any school districts that choose to use the program. This made implementation much more cost efficient, Poolson said.

The 2017-2018 school year was the first to implement one-on-one Chromebook technology, and it went over very well, Alford said.

Poolson said Google analyzed the districts statistics during the year, including how often the technology was being used and to what extent. Because there was such wide-scale use in the district, they were sent an invitation to apply to become a Reference District. So far the Pearl River County School District is the first and only district in the Mississippi to receive this recognition.

“Recognition for teachers, staff and students brings a lot of pride. It celebrates how hard our teachers have worked to move towards implementing this technology,” Alford said.

As a reference district, the PRC school district will be a model site for any other school district that wants to implement this technology as well.

“Recognition comes from the hard work of our teachers. This shows the community that we’re progressive and we’re looking for new ways and resources to benefit our students in the 21st century. If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward,” Superintendent Alan Lumpkin said.

In the classroom, 7th Grade English Educator Candice Dollar said she uses the Chromebooks for everything during the school year. She said she uses the “pages” feature to share eBooks with her students and she uses “forums” for tests and surveys, among other things.