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School board hears about technology 2020 plan, honors National Board Certified Teachers

On Tuesday night, the Stanly County School Board listened as the SCS chief technology officer Shawn Britt discussed 2020 plans for updated technology with the help of federal funding through E-Rate.

E-Rate is a Federal Communications Commission program that makes telecommunications and information services more affordable for schools across the nation.

Britt discussed many technological improvements SCS has already made since last year, including more touch screen devices, Chromebooks or iPads for teachers, updating security systems — which includes more cameras and the security system LobbyGuard — and starting to migrate systems into the digital Cloud.

All of this technology is connected through two extensive network systems, the wide area network (WAN), which connects all the schools to the internet, and wireless network, which each individual school uses to connect its devices. About 75-80 percent of devices in schools are connected wireless, Britt said.

Both the WAN and wireless networks are 80 percent funded through the federal E-Rate program and 20 percent through the state. E-Rate provides funding for category 1 (WAN connections) and category 2 (wireless network).

Britt said the school system set out this year to seek bids to upgrade each of the systems.

The WAN connections were the first to be upgraded and Britt said a committee of six SCS employees looked at seven bids from five internet providers. SCS chose Conterra Networks for a five-year agreement to help update the connections. Wireless bidding will take place in the coming weeks.

The agreement with Conterra Networks will not cost Stanly County Schools; rather the contract is for $2.8 million with 80 percent of the funding through E-Rate and the remaining 20 percent through the state.

The project, which will be to begin laying new fiber throughout the county that’s 10-100 gig compatible, should begin at the end of January and be finished around the beginning of July, said Britt.

Also, the school board recognized seven teachers who recently renewed their National Board Teaching Certificates. It’s the most respected professional certificate available in K-12 education.

The teachers honored were Brian Cribb of North Stanly High School, Amanda Efird of West Stanly Middle School, Jennifer Farmer of West Stanly High School, Julie Furr of North Stanly High School, Audrey Goodman a retired teacher who last worked at Millingport Elementary School, Meredith Howell of South Stanly High School and Debra Rowles of Oakboro Choice STEM School.

“I appreciate those teachers for going the extra mile,” said Superintendent Jeff James.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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