Smart Schools on the Rise in Utah

Pete CodellaNews

Educating the workforce of the future is a top priority for the Governor and the Utah State Legislature. In 2012, the legislature authorized a pilot program to implement technology innovation in public schools. These schools have quaintly been named “Smart Schools”. Due to the success of the smart school pilot program, the Utah State Legislature has provided further funding for additional schools to be added to the program.

The second phase of the program will provide an additional $2.4 million in funding to incorporate electronic learning as a supplemental learning platform, to the existing curriculum being taught in our public schools.

The Utah State Office of Education (USOE) is in the process of working with school districts statewide to identify potential schools for participation during the 2013-14 academic calendar year.

The program will now expand to include a second round of schools, which will later be announced, in addition to the programs currently being implemented at Gunnison Valley Elementary, Dixon Middle School and North Sevier High School.

A legislatively mandated Independent Evaluating Committee (IEC) has been guiding the State of Utah Division of Purchasing in the reviewing of potential vendors who are qualified to provide the equipment and training necessary for the program.

As a result of the review process the IEC selected iSchool Campus, LLC, for the second phase to provide and install the essential technology, train parents and teachers, and integrate the technology into the curriculum at the schools selected by USOE.

The winning proposal for the whole-school program incorporates mobile learning devices for each student, peripherals and networking equipment, including wireless networks, to implement the electronic learning support of the schools’ curricula.

The one time funding of $2.4 million for the smart school program will be administered by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED), in accordance to the recommendations by the IEC. Funding for the program was directed by the legislature to come from the State General Fund.

The GOED Board of Directors ratified the recommendation of the IEC and the Division of Purchasing, granting iSchool the award for the whole-school technology deployment program.