Title

Using technology to promote self efficacy in impoverished students in a rural, south Georgia community

Focused Area

Youth-At-Risk in Rural Settings

Relevance to Focused Area

Jeff Davis County Schools is located in rural, South Georgia and has a student population of approximately 3200 students ( 65% White, 14% African American, 19% Hispanic and 2% Other). Data collected in 2013 reflect that 72.4% of these students are eligible to receive free or reduced lunch. According to data collected by the Georgia Family Connections Partnership, 86% of all students enrolled in the district’s Prekindergarten program live in a low income family. The steady increase of poverty and a current unemployment rate of 15% in Jeff Davis County creates very challenging circumstances for students served in Jeff Davis County Schools. To overcome these deficiencies, Jeff Davis County Schools took a proactive approach to keep students engaged and excited about learning. While utilizing numerous instructional technology solutions and devices, Jeff Davis educators have connected impoverished students to a world they did not know. These efforts have directly influenced student achievement, most notably the achievement of students deemed “At-risk.” Since the implementation of multiple technologically based programs and the deployment of various technological tools, student achievement as measured by both in-house and state created standardized assessments, have shown steady gains.

Primary Strand

Academic Achievement & School Leadership

Relevance to Primary Strand

This proposal suggests that instructional technologies serve as high interest mediums and can be used to remedy poor student performance as a means to promote reading. The use of these technology mediums within the school and classroom promote student achievement, reduce the disparity between those students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and those of a higher socioeconomic background, and improve student self efficacy. The calculated and focused effort of school system leaders to purchase and maximize the use of technology can positively impact student achievement results.

Brief Program Description

To overcome the deficiencies faced by most students from a lower socioeconomic life, Jeff Davis County Schools took a proactive approach to keep students engaged and excited about learning. While utilizing numerous instructional technology solutions and devices, Jeff Davis educators have connected impoverished students to a world they did not know. These efforts have directly influenced student achievement, most notably the achievement of students deemed “At-risk.” Since the implementation of multiple technologically based programs and the deployment of various technological tools, student achievement as measured by both in-house and standardized assessments, have shown steady gains.

Summary

Acknowledging the dire predictions documented by many national research studies that correlate student achievement and socioeconomic background, Jeff Davis County Schools is proactively focusing on the use of instructional technology, a high interest tangible for younger students, as an equalizer to address the educational achievement disparities that exist and to improve the potential for a successful educational career for all students. Most notably, the school system has integrated numerous low cost instructional technology hardware and software solutions aimed at addressing the academic needs of all students including younger students enrolled in the Pre Kindergarten to fifth grades. Through the use of technology Jeff Davis County Schools intends to promote self-worth and self efficacy for students of all socioeconomic backgrounds. The provision of instructional technology for student and teacher use is creating an environment that promotes learning and encourages the value of reading as an instrument for both pleasure and purpose. Longitudinal results of assessments are beginning to show a positive result in reading proficiency and improved student achievement.

Evidence

The results of several national studies report that disparity exists between students living in higher and lower socioeconomic conditions, including reading achievement. Research suggests that 40% of U.S. fourth graders do not achieve reading proficiency; a number which is even higher for low income, minority, and English Learners. Furthermore, according to the nonprofit Reading Is Fundamental organization, the lack of reading comprehension of students later reduces their future career aspirations and may contribute to antisocial behaviors. Educational technologies, such as classroom computers and equipment, can, if used properly, produce a positively impact student achievement.

Format

Poster Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Robert Brown earned his Bachelor of Science in Physical Education and Health and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Carson-Newman College in 1996. He received his Master of Education in Educational Leadership from Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama in 1994. In 2011, he completed the doctoral program in Educational Leadership at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Dr. Brown’s dissertation, A Program Evaluation of Nontraditional High School Programs in a Southeastern State, was supervised by Dr. Rosemary Newton.

Currently working in his 19th year in public education, Dr. Brown is finishing his third year as the Jeff Davis County School Superintendent in Hazlehurst, Georgia. Prior to his tenure as Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Brown served as principal for Hart County High School in Hartwell, Georgia, principal of Alexander High School in Douglasville, Georgia, and the Executive Director of Secondary Schools for Douglas County, Georgia. He has previously presented at the 2010 National Alternative Education Conference and the 2011 National Dropout Prevention Conference.

Outside of academics, Dr. Brown is involved in Community organizations including serving as President of the Jeff Davis County Rotary Club, a board member for the Jeff Davis Hospital, and serves on the Board of Community Health. In past he has served as the President of the Chapel Hills Kiwanis Club and as the President of Georgia High School Association Region 5-AAAA. Additionally, Dr. Brown has served on the Board of Advisors for Emmanuel College Teacher Improvement, Board of Advisors for the University of West Georgia School Counseling, and the Georgia Department of Education’s Alternative Education Advisory Board.

Keith Osburn earned his Bachelor of Science in Science Education from Valdosta State College in 1991. He received his Master of Education in Instructional Technology in 2001 from Georgia Southern University. In 2012, he completed the doctoral program in Adult and Career Education at Valdosta State University in Valdosta, Georgia. Dr. Osburn’s dissertation, Credentialing public education's technology specialist workforce : a Delphi study, was supervised by Dr. Reynaldo Martinez.

Currently working in his 23rd year in public education, Dr. Osburn is a district level administrator for Jeff Davis County Schools and serves as the Chief Information Officer and the director of Special Programs.

Outside of academics, Dr. Osburn is heavily involved in Community organizations including serving as President of the Jeff Davis County Board of Tourism, Vice-President of the Jeff Davis County Public Library Board of Trustees, and a member of the Ohoopee Regional Library System’s Board of Trustees. In past he has served on the local Housing Authority, the local chapter of Safe and Sober, and served on the Altamaha Technical College’s Advisement Board for Technical Education.

Start Date

11-5-2015 5:45 PM

End Date

11-5-2015 6:45 PM

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Nov 5th, 5:45 PM Nov 5th, 6:45 PM

Using technology to promote self efficacy in impoverished students in a rural, south Georgia community

To overcome the deficiencies faced by most students from a lower socioeconomic life, Jeff Davis County Schools took a proactive approach to keep students engaged and excited about learning. While utilizing numerous instructional technology solutions and devices, Jeff Davis educators have connected impoverished students to a world they did not know. These efforts have directly influenced student achievement, most notably the achievement of students deemed “At-risk.” Since the implementation of multiple technologically based programs and the deployment of various technological tools, student achievement as measured by both in-house and standardized assessments, have shown steady gains.