Janesville schools technology department receives national award

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Nick Crow
Sunday, May 11, 2014

JANESVILLE — The Janesville School District has worked hard to upgrade its technology infrastructure during the past several years, Robert Smiley, chief information officer for the district, said.

Now, its hard work has finally paid-off.

The district was awarded second place nationally for technology in mid-size schools by the National School Board Association in conjunction with the Center for Digital Education.

The award was given in April during a ceremony in New Orleans. Mid-sized schools are those with between 3,000 and 12,000 students in their district.

"I do think we're doing well," Smiley said. "I think the school board's leadership to position the district as a technology leader is starting to have real results in the ways we compare to other districts in the region and the nation."

Smiley points to a recent website redesign in spring 2013, access to live school board meetings online, upgrades to infrastructure and equipment in the school board meeting room and innovation with technology in the classroom as ways the district has improved in recent years.

"We've excelled a lot with how we're presenting information to the public," Smiley said. "School board meetings are online, meeting information is on the website, and what staff are doing in the classroom related to innovation and risk-taking is exemplary work."

Oconomowoc Area School District was the only other school from Wisconsin to be recognized at the awards ceremony, Smiley said. They took fourth in the mid-sized schools category.

"I would stack up our approach to technology education to anyone in the country," Smiley said.

This year was the first time, the district applied to be considered for the award, Smiley said. He is hopeful next year will lead to a first-place result.

"We are doing a lot that's paying dividends because we are focused on achievement," Smiley said. "The School District of Janesville has been doing really well."

Smiley said the district has notified the state's local school board association of the award in hopes the association will promote it as a model for others in the state to emulate.

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