Jefferson County Public Schools Discusses Data Management and New Technology Initiatives for Students as Priorities - ComSpark Podcast
Dr. Kermit Belcher - Louisville Tech Power Player Honoree
Dr. Kermit Belcher
Jefferson County Public Schools
Founder and Director
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The CIO of Jefferson County Pubic Schools, Dr. Kermit Belcher, discusses data management and new technology initiatives for students.
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LF: I’m Les Fultz, with Lead Tribune Media. Today, we have Kermit Belcher, Chief Information Officer at Jefferson County Public Schools. Hi, Kermit. How are you today?
KB: I'm great. I appreciate you having me here today, Les. I look forward to our conversation.
LF: Awesome. So, you know, you have a celebrated career here at Jefferson County Public Schools as the Chief Information Officer. So what, what are some of the key outcomes you're looking to achieve from a leadership perspective?
KB: Sure, yeah. So, I've, I've celebrated now for about four months, so it's still early in its honeymoon, uh, celebration for me, and I've been at Jefferson county since the start of July of this year.
LF: Well, congratulations!
KB: Yes, thank you. So, some of the key aspects that we have on the horizon and one, the primary aspect is, um, putting devices in the hands of students, and mobile devices. Uh, so, uh, the board of education; Dr. Pollio, the superintendent; we're definitely wanting to make sure our students have access to mobile devices. And so, we're moving more away from a lab type setting where a student or a teacher would have to check out a lab or a library, media centers. So, you know, you'd have to think, well, I want to integrate technology next Wednesday at 1:00. So, so now if students have ease of access to those devices, students and teachers can provide, um, uh, you know, instantaneous technology integration.
LF: Fantastic. So, what are some of the top projects of 2018 and uh, their level of importance?
KB: So, one of, one of the top projects as of 2018 is the backpack of success skills. And so, this is something the board of education and Dr. Pollio and Carmen Coleman had been working on, and the whole team for, for about a year now. So, they have a graduate profile, uh, in place. And so, when, when I was hired, they asked me to bring this graduate profile, the backpack of success skills to life digitally. Uh, so we have a, a great team working on that and we have been collaborating with a company called Amplified it. We've partnered with Google.edu on and on the Google Platform, uh, so just on the premise, students will actually be collecting artifacts into their backpack and they'll collect those artifacts. And once they collect those artifacts, and they're more of authentic learning experiences, not just worksheets and things like that, it's um, it's authentic learning experiences that the teachers have given them. So – but the students are actually the ones that are creating and doing the work. So, you know, it may be something like a 3D printing project or speak, public speaking. And so, at each transition year those students will defend that backpack, so they'll actually get up in front of a panel of community members and school personnel. And so, that'd be fifth grade, eighth grade and twelfth grade. And so, they would actually have a showcase. So they would have those artifacts and a presentation mode inside this digital backpack. So, I'm really excited about that. I'm real excited, uh, for our students as well.
LF: Awesome. So, how do you want to improve your organization in the next three years?
KB: So, we want to be a data-driven organization over the next three years. We don't, we don't want to measure our success based on subjectivity. We want to look at a quantitative data, qualitative data. We want to gain feedback from our customers and our customers being, the students and the teachers. We have over 100,000 students, 16,000 employees that we serve. Uh, so, and honestly, IT, information technology, uh, it actually touches each one of those organizations in a way and supports those organizations. So, it's important that we do that at a high level.
LF: And what will be the top measurements of success for technology divisions, organizations in the near future?
KB: So, back to the top measurements of success. One, it's collecting that data and it's looking at the data for the, you know, basically your, your network up time, your turn around, uh, repair request time. It's also getting, um, you know, not just the hard data, the quantitative data, but it's also getting the, um, the feedback information and the survey information from your, from your customers. So, those are going to be, uh, measurements of success, uh, from a, from an educational organization, you know, we're going to look at how students are doing on their backpack, we’ll be able to measure students' success in that way. Uh, so it's just a lot of different, um, areas that we’ll continue to define.
LF: Okay. Awesome. Well, Hey Kermit, thanks for joining us on this podcast today. We appreciate your time and participation.
KB: Thanks, Les. I appreciate you having me here, and thanks to Lead Magazine.
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