FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
December 4, 2012

NEWS CONTACTS:
Julie Evans, Chief Executive Officer
949 609-4660 ext 15
jevans@tomorrow.org

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Speak Up

 

Texas and Virginia School Districts Top List for Incorporating Student, Teacher and Parent Ideas into Local Education Planning

Project Tomorrow Recognized the 2012 Speak Up 200: Schools and Districts Who Are Empowering Students, Parents and Teachers in Decision-Making

IRVINE, CA. (December 4, 2012) – Two hundred schools and districts across the country were recognized for incorporating feedback from their students as they develop strategic plans, make budgeting decisions, enhance their curriculum and determine professional development needs. Project Tomorrow®, a national education nonprofit, announced this year’s Speak Up 200, a collection of the top K-12 schools in the country that encourage and involve authentic student, parent and educator ideas and views in education planning and decision-making. 

“Every year, we learn more about how schools and districts use the results of their local Speak Up surveys. They tell us they use the data for everything from professional development planning for teachers to informing grant makers and state and federal policy makers,” said Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow. “Students make up the largest share of Speak Up participants, and by using the results of the survey to help make decisions, these schools and districts are telling everyone that they value the input of all their stakeholders, including the youngest.”

The schools were selected for this national distinction from the 30,000 schools nationwide that have participated in the annual Speak Up surveys, conducted by Project Tomorrow, since 2003. The Speak Up National Research Project collects K-12 student, parent and educator viewpoints on technology, 21st century education and student aspirations through an annual online survey process and shares that data with national, state and local policymakers to improve education for all children. 

The schools selected for the 2012 Speak Up 200 represent a broad range of educational institutions in rural, suburban and urban communities. The complete list of Speak Up 200 recognized schools are highlighted on the Project Tomorrow website at http://www.tomorrow.org/speakup/speakup-loud-clear.html.  

Based upon total participation and demonstrated commitment to engaging their stakeholders in local decisions on education issues, six school districts were recognized for special distinctions:

Top five school districts (based on high level of participation in Speak Up):

  • Klein Independent School District (Texas)
  • Frisco Independent School District (Texas)
  • Alief Independent School District (Texas)
  • Shelby County School District (Alabama)
  • Weslaco Independent School District (Texas)

Top performing district for parent participation in the surveys:

  • Fairfax County Public Schools (Virginia)

Top performing district for administrator participation in the surveys:

  • Fairfax County Public Schools (Virginia)

Top performing district for teacher participation in the surveys:

  • Klein Independent School District (Texas)

This year, schools and districts shared some of their insights on the benefits of participating in Speak Up:     

We participate to confirm our beliefs or dispel some of our assumptions.” Ralph Calderon, Principal Livingston High School, Merced Union High School District (CA)

“1. The data from Speak Up is used in a variety of forums, including testimony before state and federal legislative committees. We view participation in Speak Up as an opportunity - especially for students - to play a part in participatory democracy. Having their voices represented is important to them and to us. 2. We use the data to measure our own progress against national trends and initiatives. 3. Individual schools in our district use the data from Speak Up to map out their own campus plans for technology professional development.”  Ann McMullan, Executive Director Educational Technology, Klein Independent School District (TX)

“We use the information for local decision making by organizing bits of applicable information for appropriate discussions or audiences. The data has also been an effective means of sharing our story in grant applications.”  Lavonne Sparling, Chief Academic Officer, MSD of Wabash County (IN)

“Why take the time to design our own survey? This survey gives us great information, is well-designed, and easy to administer. We use the data for technology planning and for year-to-year assessment of our technology program. The data is also useful to show teachers how much students really value technology.” Pam McLeod, Director of Technology, Alton School District (NH)

“We participate so that we can contribute our perspectives to a national conversation, but also so that we can collect data that is useful to us as we craft our local vision for technology in education.” Matt Frey, Manager Educational Technology, Brevard County School District (FL)

Project Tomorrow will promote the schools’ distinction to the Congressional representative and state Governor of each Speak Up 200 school to demonstrate the power of educational innovation at the local level. The schools will also receive a unique Speak Up 200 logo to include on their school and district websites.  

Project Tomorrow has tapped into the expertise of this year’s Speak Up 200 schools to develop new questions for Speak Up 2012 which is currently open (through Dec. 21st) for student, educator and parent input at http://www.tomorrow.org/speakup/.  Additionally, their success stories are being shared with our partners and national policy organizations to inform national and regional education reform efforts.

More than 416,000 K-12 students, teachers, administrators and parents, representing 5,600 public, private and charter schools from all around the country participated in the Speak Up 2011 surveys which were open for participation in fall 2011. 

About Project Tomorrow

Project Tomorrow is the nation’s leading education nonprofit organization dedicated to the empowerment of student voices in education. With 16 years experience in the K-12 education sector, Project Tomorrow  regularly provides consulting and research support about key trends in K-12 science, math and technology education to school districts, government agencies, business and higher education. For additional information, visit: www.tomorrow.org.  

About the Speak Up National Research Project
The Speak Up National Research project annually polls K-12 students, parents and educators about the role of technology for learning in and out of school and represents the largest collection of authentic, unfiltered stakeholder voice on digital learning. Since 2003, over 2.6 million K-12 students, parents, teachers, librarians, principals, technology leaders and district administrators have shared their views and ideas through Speak Up. Education, business and policy leaders report that they use the data regularly to inform federal, state and local education programs.

Speak Up 2012 was made possible through the generous support by many of our nation’s most innovative companies, foundations and nonprofit organizations including Blackboard K-12, Dream Box, HP, K12, Inc., Schoolwires, SMART Technologies and Wireless Reach from Qualcomm. Project Tomorrow partners with over 75 different education associations, organizations and think-tanks for outreach to the schools and development of the survey questions including the American Association of School Administrators, Consortium for School Networking, iNACOL, International Society for Technology in Education, National School Boards Association, National Science Digital Library, Southern Regional Education Board and State Education Technology Directors’ Association.

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