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Vancouver Public Schools’ digital transformation garners tech award

Vancouver Public Schools’ (VPS) digital transformation through one-to-one technology that supports teaching and learning has earned recognition for the district. This month, it also garnered a 2014 Tech-Savvy Superintendent Award for VPS Superintendent Steve Webb. The award is given annually by eSchool News to 10 or fewer K-12 executives from across the nation. Webb is one of eight superintendents to earn the honor this year. (http://www.eschoolnews.com/2014/01/29/tech-savvy-superintendent-awards-2014/)

Tech-savvy superintendents are selected for their outstanding educational technology leadership and vision. 
Dr. Mark Edwards of Mooresville, North Carolina, the 2013 National Superintendent of the Year (http://www.aasa.org/content.aspx?id=27088), is a past recipient of the tech-savvy superintendents award.

Since becoming Vancouver’s superintendent of schools in 2008, Webb has driven a series of systemic advancements to prepare VPS for the implementation of one-to-one technology funded by a voter-approved levy. The one-to-one technology initiative, called weLearn 1:1 (http://www.vansd.org/weLearn1to1) already has or will place devices in the hands of every student in grades 3-12 within the next five years. Early results from the digital transformation have been positive, with teachers reporting increases in student engagement. Last spring, weLearn 1:1 was the focus of a National School Boards Association technology site visit to VPS. More than 100 educational leaders from throughout North America attended the three-day conference.

Through weLearn 1:1, the district also is fulfilling a key initiative of its Design II strategic plan. Parents, staff and community members prioritized technology-supported teaching and learning during the public-engagement phase of the original Design II planning process in 2007. During student, staff and community meetings last fall that focused on refreshing the plan, they reaffirmed that priority and brainstormed new ideas for using technology tools.

Said VPS Board President Dale Rice, “Because of Dr. Webb’s leadership, the district’s digital transformation is giving our graduates the adaptive skills they need to excel in the 21st-century interdependent global economy.”

“I am honored to be the recipient of this prestigious award,” said Webb. “But the true reflection of this accolade is the district- and community-wide commitment to Design II. The award speaks to the hard work of the VPS staff, the engagement of our students and the support of their parents—all of whom are making our digital transformation successful.”