Chief Technology Officer of Hillsborough County Public Schools
Located in Florida’s Tampa Bay area, Hillsborough County Public Schools is the seventh-largest public school system in the United States.
This district is known for being a regular first-mover in the edtech sphere. Hillsborough Schools is one of the leading advocates of the power of technology in the classroom, and it is at the forefront of digital initiatives, spanning everything from remote connectivity to audio-visual programmes.
To find out more about how the district is deploying technology across its platform, and utilising the latest solutions to support students and staff alike, we spoke to Tom Weeks, the Chief Technology Officer of Hillsborough County Public Schools.
Enhancing teachers’ capabilities and student support, through technology
“The mission for the district is to provide an education and the support that enables each student to excel as a successful and responsible citizen. Basically, we are here to provide a quality education for all the students in our county,” Weeks explains.
The district is tasked with providing quality education for students ranging from pre-kindergarten through to their senior year, alongside supporting adult learners throughout the region. As a result, its educational services and support system covers a diverse student population of over 220,000 individuals.
Weeks is responsible for overseeing and setting the strategy for all the digital systems and infrastructure within the school district.
The bulk of his over-30-year-career has been in the education industry,
“I have a deep understanding of the importance of education as a tool for developing productive and responsible global citizens,” Weeks explains.
“I'm a firm believer in traditional classroom education. However, I know and understand the value and importance of vocational training as well as technical training and certifications in an effort to provide individuals with the knowledge and ability to be responsible and productive.”
For Weeks, the highlight of working in this industry is, as you’d expect, the reward of improving the lives and education of the next generation.
“I derive a lot of satisfaction from knowing that I've had some impact on a student or a cohort of students, no matter how small it is. By providing them with additional resources, I'm hoping that I've aided them as part of their educational journey.”
“I know that I can say definitively that directly or indirectly, I've made the difference in the learning process for a significant number of students over the past 30-plus years.”
Through education technologies, schools can not only offer a better experience for students, but they can expand teachers’ capabilities and more effectively support staff across multiple sites. All of this, through structured, standardised, and seamless solutions.
“We’ve been modernising our laptops for our students, staff members, teachers, and our administrative staff. In the classroom, we've also been standardising the technology that we put in place,” Weeks explains.
“We are adding audio enhancements, including microphones, speakers and audio amplification, to ensure that students can hear no matter where they're positioned within the classroom. We're also adding interactive flat panels to all of our core classrooms so that we can ensure that students are able to see clearly what the teacher is trying to present.”
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“For me, we're so much more than a large technology company. There's a responsibility on us as a strategic partner to nations, and as a partner to governments.”