High-tech classrooms could be coming to every Washington County, TN school


WASHINGTON COUNTY, TN (WJHL)- Washington County, Tennessee commissioners will soon vote on a plan that could transform your students’ classroom. The school board last night voted to build a brand new kindergarten through eighth-grade school in the Boone’s Creek area. That proposal will now go before the full county commission later this month.

While that new school is years away, Washington County’s new Director of Schools, Kimber Halliburton, already has a vision to build it around technology. She said, “I’d like to equip every classroom in Washington County tomorrow with all of this technology.”

Halliburton says technology can greatly improve students’ learning with elements like the clear touch panel that’s being used in Ridgeview Elementary’s technology demonstration classroom.

“When you equip the teachers with the right resources and your students, it can really improve and increase student achievement across the board,” she said.

Washington County Commissioner Tom Krieger agrees. He said, “I was blown away … I had seen a little bit of it, prior to this, but I’m a hands-on learner and that’s what this is going to enable our students rather than a teacher being up front just giving a lecture,” he said.

Krieger says he’s suffered from hearing problems his whole life and feels he could have benefited from this type of technology as a student. He said, “I had a difficult time knowing what the teacher said and oftentimes I would miss things and would have to have ask somebody else and get in trouble for talking, but the surround sound system that will accompany this (screen) will enable children, no matter where they are in the classroom, to hear,” he said.

Halliburton says the next step would be to put smart classrooms in the two new schools the county may soon build. Halliburton said, “I think we’re doing an excellent job of showing the community how it can transform a classroom … how it can transform a school is the next step with our two technology demonstration schools that we want to build, which would be Boone’s Creek Elementary School and Jonesborough Elementary School.”  “So, that will give the community a picture of how it can transform schools so that we can grow this beyond two schools,” she said.

Before that happens, Halliburton says she hopes to provide every fourth-grade classroom in Washington County with a clear touch panel. The county budget committee has submitted that $640,000 proposal to the full commission which will vote on the item on August 22.

Krieger said, “I’ll be voting for it, I don’t know about the others, but I think they will … because we’ve been talking about this a little and we already had a significant number of dollars already committed to technology.” “This is just a little change in the type technology that we were going to budget,” he said.

Krieger also added, “At some point, it’s probably going to replace textbooks so there will be some saving on that end of it … so, it’s not like it’s going to be all new dollars.”

To learn more about the impact Ridgeview’s technology demonstration classroom is already having on student learning, tune in Friday at 5 as we feature that technology in our “What’s Working” segment.Copyright 2016 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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