During the October meeting, Dr. Kenneth Wong, Brown University Chair of Education Policy, briefed the Board about his Ivy-League study, highlighting the success of Cobb Teaching and Learning System (CTLS) and how it could serve as a model for other districts nationwide.
CTLS, is an innovative and unique digital learning platform designed by Cobb for Cobb. Earlier this year, Dr. Wong and Brown University published a national academic study that praised CTLS for improving student performance, helping educators work together, incorporating technology that directly impacts the classroom, and using real-time student data to make decisions.
According to Dr. Wong, Districts across the country are investing billions of dollars in Educational Technology, and Cobb’s approach, which integrates industry experts into one customer-friendly platform, is producing “promising results.” Dr. Wong said that when superintendents from other urban districts discuss the topic, they point to a set of disjointed software programs. Cobb Schools is the exception, Dr. Wong told the Board. Instead, Cobb has looked at how to build an integrated learning and engaging environment.
“I believe that Cobb County [and] CTLS has a lot to offer to these other districts,” said Dr. Wong, who suggested other districts could use the Brown study to design and implement a similar platform.
One key takeaway from his presentation was his determination that CTLS played an essential role in Cobb’s recovery from the pandemic. For example, CCSD’s percentage of Georgia Milestone test-takers scoring “Proficient” or above dropped in the cycle directly after the pandemic, but the following cycle saw a 7%-or-higher recovery in all courses.
“In my opinion, CTLS has contributed to the rapid recovery,” said Dr. Wong, pointing to Cobb students’ state assessments.
Cobb Schools invested in creating a Community of Practice amongst its teachers, including the use of a cohort model, increasing co-planning time, and building Professional Learning Communities. According to Dr. Wong, CTLS enhances these measures by creating new avenues of communication between teachers while expanding the digital space for collaboration. Cobb’s guest speaker also pointed to the District’s recruiting a team of former teachers to serve as Technology Training and Integration Specialists to help train and encourage their fellow educators to use the transformative technologies.
As a way to continue improving Cobb’s digital learning environment, Dr. Wong suggested monitoring the progress of how teachers and students are using the platform, broadening learning opportunities, and improving communications, including schools sending out more frequent updates to facilitate parental engagement.
While Dr. Wong explained to the Board what has made CTLS successful, Chiefs John Floresta and Catherine Mallanda explained why it was important for the District to do this study and the future of CTLS for students, teachers, and parents.
“We appreciate Dr. Wong’s guidance,” said Chief Strategy and Accountability Officer John Floresta. “As a leading voice in educational technology, it was important to understand what we are doing well and where we can provide a better learning experience for our students. This study is a roadmap for us, and we are excited to improve what he just confirmed is one of the best tools we can put in the hands of Cobb students, teachers, and parents.
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