Virginia Beach City Schools Superintendent: ‘Going Slow to Go Fast’

June 8, 2017

case study 3Virginia Beach City Schools is a school district nestled in the southeast corner of the state, located right next door to the world’s largest naval station. Aaron Spence, a native of the area, serves as the school district’s superintendent and has been leading a successful digital conversion on behalf of the system’s 68,000 students.

“We’ve come a long way in a short time,” said Spence during an interview on Education Talk Radio. The digital transformation, he says, has been “off the charts positive” among faculty and students. “The kids are more engaged. It’s all about learning.”

Last month, AASA, The School Superintendents Association, partnered with Discovery Education to launch a series of case studies featuring best practices and strategies for building dynamic digital learning environments. Three members of AASA’s Digital Consortium were profiled, including Kristine Gilmore, superintendent, D.C. Everest Area School District, Schofield, Wis.; Mike Lubelfeld, superintendent, Deerfield Public School District 109, Deerfield, Ill.; and Spence.

“We’re a forward-thinking organization in a forward-thinking community that really wants the best for its kids,” Spence said in his case study, Virginia Beach City Public Schools’ Digital Transformation.  

Founded in 2014, the Digital Consortium was created to support school district leadership in the areas of innovation, creativity and technology.

“It’s all about ‘community of practice,’” Spence said on the radio program. “I was particularly drawn to the Digital Consortium group, a group of great leaders across the country.”

The school district is in the middle of a five-year strategic plan with a mandate to create more personalized learning experiences while integrating more technology in the classroom.

“Our kids are coming to us from so many different places with so many unique challenges,” said Spence. “Probably for the first time in education, we finally have the tools to allow students to access learning in meaningful ways.”

During the interview this week, Spence proudly talked about how students have, what he calls, “a voice in agency.” “We are preparing our students for the world beyond our doors. Kids are getting the space to learn and to grow. We have taken the approach to go slow to go fast.”

The case studies as well as accompanying white papers are available at no cost on the AASA and Discovery Education websites.         

For more information or to find out how to participate in the Digital Consortium, contact Mort Sherman, AASA associate executive director, at msherman@aasa.org



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