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District : Mooresville Graded School District

State : North Carolina

Level : P-12

District Enrollment : 1,001-10,000 students

Community Type : Suburban

Related Tags : 1:1 Initiative, accessibility

The Digital Conversion

The Mooresville Graded School District is located in the town of Mooresville approximately 30 miles north of Charlotte in the Southern Piedmont region of North Carolina. A district of approximately 6000 students, MGSD consists of three elementary schools, two intermediate schools, one middle school, and one high school which includes an advanced technology and arts center campus.
MGSD is known nationally for its digital conversion where every child in fourth through twelfth grade is issued a laptop for his or her use at both home and school, all third grade students receive a laptop for their use while at school, and Kindergarten through second grade students have laptops and tablets on carts. In the Fall of 2015, MGSD will be a 1:1 district in all grades K through 12.
Due to great students, staff, and community, MGSD is consistently a contender for the top spot in the state when it comes to academic excellence. The Digital Conversion and phenomenal academic results being realized in MGSD were the backdrop for a visit from President Barack Obama to Mooresville Middle School in June of 2013.
Academic excellence is not the only area MGSD excels in. Our athletic teams are top notch and competitive each and every year. Our school leadership and staff understand that part of a successful education must include work outside of the classroom. Therefore, it is not uncommon for our students to be holding food drives, coat drives, and volunteering for local organizations. It is each of these aspects that make our district so excellent and able to reach every child, every day!

The Challenge

In 2006, the Mooresville Graded School District began working on a new strategic plan. The process caused the MGSD Board of Education to realize that there was a significant digital divide, opportunity divide, and hope divide for students within the district. There were students who had access at home to technology and resources, and some who had none. Mediocre student performance revealed significant gaps within subgroups, and a graduation rate of only 77 percent. That was the driving challenge for the district — how to create equity of opportunity for all and prepare children for their future, not our past.

The Solution

Under the leadership of the Board of Education and Superintendent Dr. Mark Edwards, MGSD embarked on a journey to ensure a 21st-century learning environment while ensuring all children receive the same classroom opportunities. This extremely successful 1:1 initiative model is known in Mooresville as the Digital Conversion.

The Digital Conversion is woven into MGSD’s motto: every child, every day. This motto supports all students to being successful and responsible citizens in a global workplace and community. This motto and mission include the following value-driven commitments:

  • Making decisions based on supporting data and level of student centricity
  • Creating a community of learners
  • Providing expanded curricular and co-curricular opportunities
  • Entering in strategic community and business partnerships to enable success
  • Developing technology-enriched, relevant curriculum and effective delivery of curriculum as foundations for addressing diverse 21st century learners
  • Developing 21st-century content integrated into core content areas
  • Embracing all students within an environment of pervasive caring that supports optimal growth and success
  • Providing high expectations and sufficient support
  • Treating employees as professionals, and supporting them with sufficient resources and ongoing training designed to enhance and broaden skills that support the district vision, mission, and initiatives.

The Digital Conversion began the winter of the 2007-08 school year. Laptops on carts were placed in English classes at Mooresville High School and provided to all certified staff. Furthermore, all K-3 classrooms were outfitted with the SMART suite of technologies. Phase II was implemented in Fall 2008 when all 1,650 MHS students and 850 Mooresville Intermediate School students received laptops for 24/7 usage. Phase III debuted Fall 2009 with the addition of East Mooresville Intermediate and Mooresville Middle School. All students in grades 4 – 12 have 24/7 access to laptops. Last year, every third grade student was issued a laptop for use while at school.

Today, over 5,000 laptops have been deployed to every student in grades 3 – 12 and nearly 500 educational staff. The Fall of 2015, the district will go 1:1 in all grades K – 12 with MacBook Airs for all 2nd through 12th grade students and iPads for every Kindergarten and 1st grade student. The driving concept has been to have students “own” these district-provided devices. Educators and learners alike have access to these instructional tools 24/7 for all 180 school days. For many Mooresville students, the school-issued laptops are the first that their families have “owned.” Integrating laptop computers has significantly boosted the level of student interest, motivation and engagement while delivering enhanced educational opportunities, such as personalized classroom environments.

The effects of the Digital Conversion are realized district wide and at all levels. In 2013 – 2014, MGSD third grade students were #1 in the state of North Carolina on end-of-grade state reading and math assessments. The district was first in North Carolina in percentage of Annual Measurable Objectives met for the year and third in the state for overall academic achievement. Scholarship dollars accepted by graduating seniors more than tripled and the college enrollment rate has increased by approximately 15 percentage points. Every child, every day has become not just words for our community, but reality.

From the U.S. Department of Education:

District Point of Contact

Phone: 704-658-2530
Twitter: @MGSDschools
Facebook: District Facebook Page
Website: District Website