Mooresville Graded School District (MGSD) is touted for its technology and connectivity programs, much of which is the result of Dr. Smith’s work. He is now in his eighth year at the district, which is also in its eighth year of a 1:1 initiative that Dr. Mark Edwards, MGSD’s superintendent, has coined a “digital conversion.”
The district started with a 1:1 program for grades 4 through 12 and now has a device for every student in kindergarten through 12th grade. Almost all learning in the district is digital — district leaders haven’t purchased a textbook in eight years, with the exception of those for AP classes. MGSD uses digital and online resources.
President Obama visited MGSD in 2013 to recognize its digital efforts. While there, he announced the ConnectED initiative and cited MGSD as an example of a district successfully approaching connectivity and technology. MGSD was on the leading edge of President Obama’s vision, as it had already implemented a 1:1 program with high-speed wireless bandwidth to handle all of the district’s devices. “I go back to the fact that we’re doing it right because we’re starting with the end in mind — and the end is what is best for kids,” he says. “Then we build everything else around that.”
Dr. Smith and fellow MGSD leaders are sharing their knowledge with others. For example, Dr. Smith worked with Houston Independent School District (HISD) to develop a partnership in which MGSD teachers and staff visit the Texas district to train its educators on technology integration and digital curriculum. “It’s been phenomenal in what both districts have learned from the partnership," Dr. Smith says. "Every time we take our teachers to train and lead, both MGSD and HISD teachers learn from the experience.”
Dr. Smith wears many hats as he straddles the line between curriculum and technology. His efforts on the district’s digital conversion, continued professional development, partnerships with other districts, digital curriculum and many more technology programs are changing the learning landscape for students across the U.S.