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School board spends $2.2 million for eCLASS support

SUWANEE -- As students begin the transition of using digital learning materials in their classrooms and at home, the district is asking IBM for support in the development of its teaching, student and parent portals.

Members of the Gwinnett County school board on Thursday voted unanimously to approve a $2.2 million contract with IBM for technical support of the district's eCLASS initiative.

District Spokesperson Sloan Roach said the assistance from IBM is needed.

"We will need support for the entire initiative," she said.

According to the contract with IBM, the company "will leverage best practice system implementation methods and operational transformation processes, roles and policies to reinforce the integrity and usefulness of eCLASS."

Using the Parent Portal, Student Portal and a new electronic gradebook and attendance module, teachers will be able to track and manage classroom data using browser-based technologies, which means they can enter grades from any location using a compatible device with Internet access.

The new digital curriculum and instruction initiative by Gwinnett County Public Schools aims to move the district in a new direction with less paper and more online information.

As the transition continues, IBM "will continue to assist GCPS with the eCLASS Transformational Team comprised of GCPS members who will provide governance and guidance throughout the eCLASS implementation."

Funded by the most recent iteration of the education special purpose local option sales tax, which was approved by Gwinnett County voters in November 2011, eCLASS (Content, Learning, Assessment and Support System) was part of planned technology upgrades earmarked in the ballot language for the measure.

While all GCPS facilities will eventually use eCLASS, 33 schools in the district are piloting the initiative. They include classrooms in the Archer, Berkmar, Duluth, North Gwinnett and Shiloh clusters.

The MYeCLASS student portal is also available to all schools in 2012-13. Using individual student login, students and their parents will have access to existing and new digital resources. More resources will be added over time.

To visit the parent or student portals or learn more about eCLASS, visit www.gwinnett.k12.ga.us.

Comments

gwinnettresident1 1 year, 6 months ago

Cant wait until the students break this and enter their own grade. Like they get movies before MGM has time to get them to the theater. Remember this is all they do all day. They play with this they have plenty of time to break the code...They dont go outside anymore..

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notblind 1 year, 6 months ago

They also don't use all this expensive technology to actually acquire the knowledge that our schools are supposed to be teaching them. Go to wikipedia, cut, paste add a few words like "and" between the cut and paste passages, hit print and turn it in. That's what passes for knowledge today.

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Sandykin 1 year, 6 months ago

I've been monitoring my kids grades for 2 years now thru parent portal. (They're in the Archer district.) It's not a perfect system. Many teachers don't enter the grades on a timely basis so there may still be surprises when progress reports come out. Also, I believe it's simply a reporting system and not the place grades are actually kept so there really isn't a danger of kids changing their grades. The nice features are that you can see attendance days, whether they are excused or not, and test history going back to middle school CRCTs. At the high school level you can see GPA, but I wish it would also show the GPA calculated for Hope scholarships and class rank which would be so helpful when sorting out colleges to apply to. Yes I know that you can get that at College 411, but only if you're the student. I, as a parent, would like to see that information.

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news2me 1 year, 6 months ago

Less interaction, in person, with the teacher and parent is not a good thing in my book. I see this technology making us less social and busier that ever before. GCPS is getting bigger and more advanced but that does not mean better. The parent portal can drives you nuts if you monitor it too much, becuase the teachers will never be as quick to entering data as we need or want them to be.

The GPA calculated for HOPE may never happen, because I think that program will continue to change until it has to go away. Class rank is another one that I don't like. A student that takes classes with rigor (AP) and scores a low A vs a student that takes just a standard course can get a high A, the higher GPA regardless of rigor wins out.

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news2me 1 year, 6 months ago

There are still many families in Gwinnett that claim to have no computer and/or internet access. I don't see how to fully implement these systems unless everyone has access to the technology.

Ask any GCPS teacher or recreation sports coach just how many parents claim to have no email address or internet address yet are walking around with their ear stuck to an iphone or Droid and are driving an Escalade or the like. These are the parents that will want the technology given to them because GCPS is a public or free education. SMH..

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Sandykin 1 year, 6 months ago

They already have access. They simply need to go to their nearest public library where one can use any available PC or even reserve one for a certain time.

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news2me 1 year, 6 months ago

Agreed. However, there is a limit to how many computers are in the public libraries and weren't their hours of operations cut? Sadly I have already heard the excuses that have come from so-called parents. The money is leaving Gwinnett and those tax dollars to GCPS are going right along with it. Our changing demographics and lower tax base can't and won't support it to make it the success it needs to be. I agree we need to change and technology is the key to success, but I can't see that happening. Not with the direction Gwinnett is heading in.

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Ashley 1 year, 6 months ago

Another 2.2 million wasted. This entire initiative have been a 100% failure.

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kevin 1 year, 6 months ago

I wonder if this was a planned expenditure or a surprise. There is no "free" education. We are all paying our tax money for this system, like it or not. That is why privatization must take over quickly. The Splost vote gave them all free digital gadgets, not we have to provide IBM software for those devices. People must start ot figure out that whenever you approve something, there is always long-term maintenance involved that taxpayers must pay for.

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