Dr. Truesdale understands the importance of infrastructure in supporting student learning and she is on a quest to transform her school district with technology. In 2012, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) faced multiple challenges when it came to technology. None of the district’s 164 schools had sufficient infrastructure; none were fully wireless; and none of the portable classrooms had Internet access. One-third of classrooms didn’t have projection systems. Additionally, bandwidth was insufficient and did not support students bringing devices to school.
“To meet the ambitious goal of preparing all students for college and careers, we need students to be able to access all possible learning opportunities, including digital materials,” she says. “To do that, we had to first focus on infrastructure and training to effect an instructional shift. Teachers did not have laptops to build tech-integrated, robust lessons. Investing in teachers and infrastructure has allowed CMS to accelerate the Digital Learning Conversion.”
Under Dr. Truesdale’s leadership, a systematic plan for digital learning is in place for the district’s more than 145,000 students. Armed with the CMS Strategic Plan 2018, Dr. Truesdale and her team are working to maximize student achievement in a personalized, 21st-century learning environment so every student graduates ready for college and career.
Dr. Truesdale and her team charted a plan to provide every classroom with quality Internet access, including 1,000 portable classrooms, more than 10,000 access points and robust new standards for bandwidth. Additionally, a guest network allows students to bring their own devices and every classroom has a projection system. By investing in infrastructure first, the district has optimized its classrooms for 21st-century learners.
CMS can now shift to a personalized learning model, starting with pilots in 33 schools. As of August 2015, more than 50,000 Chromebooks have been distributed to students in fifth through ninth grade, and teachers are integrating technology into lesson plans. Opportunities for virtual learning and credit recovery have also increased.
Dr. Truesdale has successfully addressed the critical need for foundational technology infrastructure in CMS schools, equipping classrooms with tools to enhance engagement while also advocating support for teachers and providing students with access to digital resources and tools. The result is a transformed culture of learning and teaching at CMS.