Good morning Wildcat Nation!

Good morning Wildcat Nation!

I must say I am a big fan of the weather we have been having the last few days. That nip in the air in the morning that says fall is on its way gives me hope that the heat is gone.

It's hard to believe that we have already crossed the hump and are headed down the backside of September. Before we know it the first quarter of the school year is going to be upon us. Great things have been happening in the Neosho R-5 School District so far this year. Staff and students are working extremely hard each day to excel in all they are doing.

As I pondered what to share today technology and the state of technology in the state of Missouri came to mind. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education just published a report showing the technology readiness of K-12 institutions in the state. On Monday and Tuesday of this week, the State Board of Education held its monthly meeting in Jefferson City. One of the major agenda topics for this month is research on technology readiness in Missouri schools. During its meeting, the state board learned about research performed by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education that was focused on the needs of the 21st Century Learner and the technology readiness status of Missouri schools.

The current generation of learners, those born from the year 2000 until now, are called Generation Z. These students are used to interacting with advanced technology and communication, however, the digital world is sometimes inaccessible once students enter the classroom. Missouri Commissioner of Education Chris Nicastro said, "Our students are preparing for the jobs of the future. They won't be prepared without better access to the Internet and 21st century communication and learning tools throughout the state. We can't afford to have Missouri students at this disadvantage in a global, competitive market."

The research provided by DESE shows Missouri stands at a pivotal point in the education and career prospects for all students by equipping them with the tools they need to succeed. Some of the challenges that face the state in incorporating technology into education in Missouri include access, delivery and infrastructure of high-speed Internet; access to student devices; and professional development for educators in how to use technology correctly to affect student learning.

The focus for the department will be in developing a plan of action for technology readiness that will focus on the following key areas of technology innovation and education:

• High speed Internet;

• Student devices;

• School infrastructure;

• Professional development.

I am happy to let the patrons of the Neosho School District know that your local district is way ahead of the state when it comes to technology preparation and integration. The district has been diligent with preparing the infrastructure in all buildings to be ready for the introduction of technology to both staff and students. The district has diligently researched technology platforms and devices that will best benefit our students as we educate and prepare them for their world, as well as, being very prudent with funding that has and will continue to allow us to provide the best preparation we possibly can for our students.

Later this fall, the department is scheduled to release a full report on technology readiness and the plan for enhancing teaching and learning. As a district we will continue to report to the community on our path to implementation of technology into the classroom periodically throughout the year. I am very proud of where we are as a district and of the great things we are going to do in the future. Have a great week!

Dan Decker is superintendent of the Neosho R-5 School District.