The rich functionality of the Schoolwires® Centricity2 platform has made it the “communications hub” of Howe Independent School District. Its pivotal role is contributing to stronger relationships, the development of 21st century technology and collaboration skills, and increased efficiency.
Howe Independent School District (ISD) is located in a rural community in northeast Texas. Many of the students’ parents commute daily to their workplaces in Dallas and other nearby cities. This highly-mobile population relies heavily on the district’s Centricity2 content management system for information about their children’s activities, the schools and the district.
“The Schoolwires portal is our communications hub,” said Terisa O’Dowd, Technology Director at Howe ISD. “It supports the relationships between parent and teacher, teacher and student, and district and community.”
“The Schoolwires portal is our communications hub, it supports the relationships between parent and teacher, teacher and student, and district and community.”
— Terisa J. ODowd, Howe ISD technology director
Every teacher in the district has created a website and many are leveraging the rich functionality within Centricity2 to strengthen student engagement and learning. For example, one high school history teacher uploads podcasts that students can listen to after reading an assigned chapter. She posts questions that prompt higher-level thinking and directs students to respond to it and to posts from other students. Her website also includes links to resources and tools that support and enhance the subject matter being taught in the classroom.
“The teacher websites tie everything together and give students the resources they need to reach their maximum potential. The interaction provides students with experience as a contributing member of a virtual community,” said O’Dowd. “Through their experiences with Centricity2, students have gained a better understanding of how the Web connects them to everything. And these experiences help them understand the importance of virtual relationships in the 21st century.”
In Howe Middle School where the district has a 1:1 laptop initiative, students log on each morning to their respective teachers’ websites where assignments and supporting links are posted. For example, students might be directed to watch a video and then answer questions on the content, or complete a survey or test. Elementary students and their parents can access weekly vocabulary and spelling lists, calendars with upcoming events and volunteer forms on their teachers’ websites.
Parents and others in the community can access a wealth of information on school and district websites, including:
O’Dowd and others in the district frequently receive positive feedback on the quality and accessibility of information.
“Our students, parents and teachers know that everything begins at Schoolwires. It is easy and efficient for them to have one central starting place and then jump from there to other resources. I don’t know what we’d do without it.”
And communications flow both ways through the interactive features within Centricity2. In the past, the district received about a 10 percent response to surveys mailed to homes. Today, surveys are posted online via the Centricity2 website, and responses have increased to 30-40 percent.
“Surveys give people an opportunity to have their say about what the district is doing,” explained O’Dowd. “They might seem like a small thing, but giving people the chance to provide their input before we act can increase the amount of support we get for our initiatives.”
The Schoolwires Story
Schoolwires is dedicated to K-12 education, and to the people who are part of every local school community — students, families, teachers, administrators, and supporters of education. From the beginning, we’ve believed that a successful school district is a product of total community involvement. That’s why our mobile and Web-based solutions are expressly designed to connect K-12 communities with the information, services and people they need to achieve their district goals. For more than 10 years, our intuitive technologies have been helping administrators and educators, students and parents, communicate and collaborate like never before — to come together around success.
Today, more than 10 million users in the U.S. and China rely on our content management system, mobile solutions and safe collaborative learning community to drive engagement in the classroom, locally and across the globe. We’re proud to be a part of that. And we remain committed to helping K-12 communities extend their local reach and transcend the boundaries of their districts so that individuals everywhere can achieve their full potential.