HOME BASE ROLLS OUT, PUTTING TECHNOLOGY TOOLS IN SCHOOLS ACROSS NORTH CAROLINA
The NC Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI), working with vendor partners Pearson, Public Consulting Group and Truenorthlogic, has rolled out Home Base for the 2013-14 kick-off year, delivering this large-scale technology project for public schools on time and within budget.
Home Base provides digital tools and learning resources for local educators, students and parents at all schools in the 115 local school districts and public charter schools in North Carolina. State funds and federal Race to the Top (RttT) grant money covered development and implementation costs for this ambitious technology project. Among RttT goals is building robust data systems to improve instruction, which is at the heart of Home Base.
State Superintendent June Atkinson said, "We are excited and proud that this milestone for North Carolina has been completed in only two years while being fully customized to our needs. It will offer immediate benefits to teachers, principals, parents and students by using better technology tools to support their work and to improve student learning, all in support of North Carolina's READY initiative."
Home Base features a new student information system, PowerSchool, that replaces an outdated, decades-old one. PowerSchool, with updated security features, will better connect schools to students and their families and will provide comprehensive reports to help teachers develop more informed instruction. PowerSchool was the first portion of Home Base to go live for local schools. Year-round schools began using PowerSchool on July 8, and traditional calendar schools, most of which start back Aug. 26, will do likewise.
Atkinson added, "The old student information system was not up-to-date or sensitive to contemporary needs of teachers, parents and students. We do not need to waste resources in patching a system that would no longer meet our needs. As with any new system, we expect there will be learning curves, but the Home Base system will be very positive for parents and others."
Pearson's Luyen Chou, chief product officer, K-12 technology, said, "Pearson is proud to support North Carolina’s groundbreaking Home Base initiative through the statewide deployment of PowerSchool, Schoolnet and other Pearson learning solutions. We look forward to partnering with the state over the coming months and years to deliver more effective, data-driven instruction for all the students of North Carolina."
Home Base's user-friendly, resource-rich instructional improvement system, or IIS, will be a wow factor for teachers, predicts Angela Quick, deputy chief academic officer. "Home Base employs a single sign-on so teachers can easily navigate the suite of Home Base applications, eliminating the need for multiple logins. The technology also uses assessment data to guide and personalize instruction to each student's needs."
The IIS features high-quality, standards-aligned instructional resources provided by the NCDPI, local education agencies (LEAs), Open Education Resources (OER) and vendors; assessment delivery tool and items; a repository for student work; tools to help teachers and principals collaborate better with their peers; and data dashboards.
Home Base also features an educator effectiveness system that provides more streamlined, intuitive and user-friendly tools for educator evaluation and professional development. Teacher evaluation tools are available now with the principal evaluation tool ready by October 2013, and the professional learning management system coming online in January 2014.
Other components will follow, and the suite of technology tools will be in place fully for use during the 2014-15 school year. State required portions of Home Base will always be free to local districts and charter schools, but in 2014-15, optional portions will require a $4 per student opt-in, leveraging the buying power of the state to ensure all schools have access to high-quality instructional and assessment tools and content at reasonable rates.
For more details on the kick-off of Home Base, visit the Home Base website.
About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 160 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.
For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.