PRESS RELEASE FROM HUNTSVILLE CITY SCHOOLS
Student suspensions down 56 percent this year as students work with computers, new digital curriculum
Huntsville, AL, September 20, 2012 – Huntsville students are more engaged and interested in learning this year after computers for every student and a new digital curriculum were launched, and district officials say they can see a big improvement in behavior in the classroom, with suspensions down 56 percent from last year.
Superintendent Casey Wardynski announced Thursday that in the first month of the 2012 school year, the total number of student suspensions dropped from 941 in 2011 to 416 this year, a 56 percent decline. The number of students given out-of-school suspensions for more serious infractions fell 61 percent, from 510 to 201, and the number of in-school suspensions dropped 50 percent, from 431 last year to 215 this year. The report compares the first 20 school days of both years.
Educators all over Huntsville are reporting students are much better behaved this year, and they credit as one factor in the improvement better student engagement with the new computers and curriculum that are part of the Huntsville City Schools’ shift to 1:1 digital learning.
“Principals and teachers across the city are telling me that disciplinary incidents are down very sharply this year and students are generally much better behaved,” Dr. Wardynski said. “That’s what we wanted and expected. The research shows that the more engaged kids are at school, the better behaved they are. We’ve seen proof in this first month of school. It’s just one month of data, and we’ll need to see this trend continue, but this is very encouraging.”
Huntsville student suspensions down sharply
Student suspensions, Aug. 8-Sept. 5, 2011 compared to Aug. 20-Sept. 14, 2012 (first 20 school days of each year)
2011 2012 Decline
Out-of-school suspensions 510 201 Down 61%
In-school suspensions 431 215 Down 50%
Total suspensions 941 416 Down 56%
“We’re seeing high levels of student usage of the digital curriculum in Huntsville,” said Scott Drossos, a senior vice president and leader of 1:1 Learning at the Pearson education company, Huntsville’s partner in the digital learning initiative. “Superintendent Wardynski has made it crystal clear that he is committed to catapulting Huntsville’s students ahead through our 1:1 digital learning partnership and it is Pearson’s intent to work side-by-side every single day with teachers, students and parents to make that happen.”
Huntsville City Schools launched the new digital learning initiative for this school year. The district has replaced traditional textbooks with a dynamic and interactive curriculum from Pearson. All students are working on laptop computers or, in the case of the youngest students, on iPads with an online curriculum that guarantees the latest, most up-to-date learning material.
“It’s no longer the industrial age. We have to personalize education for kids. Textbooks aren’t designed to do that. Our vision is for personalized learning. It’s more engaging,” Dr. Wardynski said. “We’re seeing a lot of excitement among our students as we’ve brought their classrooms into the digital world where they already live every day. I believe that’s one reason why students are better behaved this year. We’re seeing students learning in a way that really interests them, and our teachers and parents are doing a great job helping them adapt to this exciting new classroom.”