Mathews observes more technology on school visits

COVINGTON -- You might see Newton County School System Superintendent Gary Mathews walking around your school this year.

But that doesn't necessarily mean that somebody's in trouble.

Throughout the first month of school, Mathews has visited each of the 22 NCSS sites and the Ombudsman alternative school, he said in his end of the month notes sent out to employees and educational stakeholders on Tuesday.

During his visits, he said he has observed a wide use of interactive notebooks, especially in the elementary and middle schools

"Our students must learn how to take notes and summarize their learning," Mathews said. "This K-12 initiative -- now in use in math classes at a minimum -- is most important to success in the classroom."

He said that students will become more college and career ready if they have the ability to take notes and summarize content.

Additionally, Mathews noted on his school visits a wider use of technology in classroom instruction, again mostly at the elementary and high school levels since high schools have less technology.

"Increasingly, while teachers seem to really like using ActivBoards in the presentation of lessons, I see students themselves very engaged in learning while using technology," he said.

This includes the use of computers, iPads, interactive boards and others technologies, he said.

Mathews also observed a greater attention to vocabulary building and varied use of research-based instructional strategies on his school visits, he said.

"I was able to pick up on similarities and differences, cooperative learning and the use of non-linguistic representations," Mathews said. "As with many good things, we naturally want to see more, for if so, our kids will be the benefactors."

In the future, he plans to continue his site visits and also plans to visit Challenge Charter Academy and the Mainstay program soon.

"I believe this to be very important if I and other central office administrators want to be in touch with what's going on in our schools and classrooms," Mathews said. "I love visiting in our schools."