Appendix E: Case Study in Digital Conversion
is district is one of the few respondents to the Project RED study that deployed virtually all of the key implementation factors (KIFs). We thought an examination of their purpose, process, and results would be enlightening.
Mooresville Graded School District, Mooresville, North Carolina Demographics
39% Free and reduced-price lunch (up from 31% in 2006-2007)
73% Caucasian 15% African-American 7% Hispanic 2% Asian 3% Multiracial
The Community Mooresville is a blue-collar former mill town in suburban Charlotte. Aﬀectionately known as “Race City, USA,” Mooresville is home to several NASCAR teams, the NASCAR Institute of Technology, and the national headquarters for Lowe’s Home Improvement.
The Need In the 2006-2007 school year, Mooresville Graded School District initiated a review of district results in teaching and learning. A new superintendent, Dr. Mark Edwards, who had pioneered the use of a digital environment in Henrico County, Virginia, was on board. A review of test scores and other education success measures by the leadership team revealed that results were acceptable but not leading edge. e goal was to transform the school district into one of high achievement, both within the state and nationally.
The Technology Factor: Nine Keys to Student Achievement and Cost-Effectiveness
e team looked at how students learned now and how to engage them at a higher level. Although technology was seen as the tool, the driving force was a desire to provide more relevant content and tools to engage students. e project was launched in fall 2007 with the name “Digital Conversion.” e impetus was multifaceted: • Close the digital divide. While one-third of students qualified for free lunch, many others were from aﬄuent homes and had their own computing devices. • Provide relevant instruction. Students were used to accessing information quickly at home; at school they oen encountered out-of-date information in static formats. • Ensure 21st century readiness. Students needed the skills necessary to function in an increasingly connected and collaborative world. • Create real-world experiences. Students needed to work with one another as work teams do and learn how to work cooperatively. • Use best instructional practices. Much research shows that students who construct meaning learn far better than those who just absorb facts from others. • Improve academic achievement. e hypothesis was that the goal of improving learning might also lead to significant gains in test scores. So the planning began. Because of research and personal experience, the team knew that teacher empowerment and community buy-in were essential characteristics, and they included those elements in the plan.