"Speak Out" is an expression of opinion from the Editorial Board of WBTV, and is presented by General Manager, Nick Simonette.
A new school year begins, and students, parents and teachers are focusing their efforts on improved test scores and proficiencies.
We'd like to single out the Mooresville School District for some well-deserved praise.
They were recognized for leadership in improving education through digital technology in the recent documentary: "Fixing Our Schools."
Mooresville's school district…made up of 5500 students…ranks 100th out of 115 for per-student spending.
But they're now second in test scores and third in graduation rate. How are they doing it?
The big change came when Superintendent Mark Edwards cut back on the number of teachers, and used the money to give third graders through high schoolers Mac Book computers.
Each laptop is leased from Apple for $215 per year.
Families pay $50 to subsidize repairs, but the fee can be waived for those who can't afford it.
The district also negotiated a deal so those without broadband internet access can get it for ten bucks a month.
Three years ago, 73% of Mooresville students tested as proficient in math, reading and science. Today that number's at 89% -- a 22% increase.
And the graduation rate has risen from 80% in 2008 to 91% last year – a 14% gain.
And if you're wondering if other school districts are interested in emulating Mooresville's success, there's is a waiting list for demonstrations through April of 2013.
Because WBTV is "On Your Side," we encourage everyone to "Speak Out" – tell us what YOU think. SpeakOut@wbtv.com.