Tucson Unified School District in Tucson, Arizona, is one of the nation's leading technology-based school districts. The district has 13,000 computers for its 62,000 students, giving it a ratio of one computer for every four students. Each seventh and eighth grader has a personal desk computer for the core subjects of mathematics, language arts, social studies, and science. Technology is used as a tool to promote active, hands-on learning.
The district developed ACTion 2000, a plan for the management and assessment of instructional technology in all district schools. Part of ACTion 2000 is the district's profile of the 21st century graduate. The goal of this profile is to ensure that all students acquire the necessary educational and technical skills to help them succeed in the future.
The district determined software-application standards and purchased all software, instead of allowing each school to purchase its own nonstandard software. This decision helped ensure equity between schools and also saved the district about $1.2 million per year out of a total technology budget of $50 million over seven years.
Professional development for teachers is an important part of the district's technology plan. Teachers have a classroom workstation and participate in ongoing learning activities in technology. With 110 servers at more than 120 sites, the district has developed an adequate plan for technical support and maintenance. Each school has an on-site technology support person. In addition, there are five district-level support personnel and six electronics technicians.
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