Digitally-advanced school districts: Newton named in the Top 10

COVINGTON - The Newton County School System and the Board of Education is one of the top digitally-advanced school districts in the nation.

The Center for Digital Education, the National School Boards Association and "Converge Online" magazine announced that the system ranks as the 10th top digitally advanced school system in the nation - and one of four in Georgia - in the large category, which are school systems with more than 15,000 students.

All U.S. public school systems and boards could enter the competition by answering a survey that asked about the system's online presence, digital public and inter-system interaction, Web site features, security and other technology-based questions.

"The survey responses show that school districts across the nation are doing an outstanding job of using technology to increase communication with their students, parents and the community," said Marina Leight, vice president of the Center for Digital Education, in a press release. "In addition to their Web sites, they are also using new technologies such as wireless notifications, blogs and grade portals. We applaud their progress and successes."

School board chairman Almond Turner said this award is a great accomplishment; he's especially proud of the school system's Web site and ability to communicate with the public and school community through it.

"That's something that we've worked on," he said. "A lot of times, the public doesn't attend our meetings. ... With today's technology, everybody has a computer ... and we're communicating through technology."

In 2004, the system ranked ninth for the same honor.

NCSS Superintendent Steven Whatley said being named for the award again shows the technology progress being made in the school system.

"The technological progress goes well beyond that used by the Board in the transaction of its business," he said in a press release. "At the heart is the use of technology by our students and instructional staff for learning and teaching. Technology greatly assists us in communication with our parents and the public, whether through e-mail or Web site. We are proud of this recognition."

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.

SideBar: At A Glance

Top 10 Digital School Boards (15,000-plus students):

1. Cherokee County Georgia School District

2. Jeffco Colorado Public Schools

3. Forsyth County Georgia School District

4. Newport News Virginia Public Schools and Olathe Kansas Public Schools (tie)

5. Seattle Washington Public Schools

6. Blue Valley Kansas Schools

7. Clark County Nevada School District and Cleveland County North Carolina Schools (tie)

8. Savannah-Chatham County Georgia Public School System

9. Hillsborough County Florida Public Schools and Issaquah Washington School District (tie)

10. Newton County Georgia School System