Ashland City Schools' board of education met on Aug. 28, 2023. Credit: Mariah Thomas

ASHLAND — Ashland City Schools’ parents and students can expect new technology to be rolled out in the classrooms and at home alike this year, according to Ben Spieldenner, Ashland City Schools’ director of professional development for tech.

At the district’s board of education meeting Monday night, Spieldenner gave a report on the district’s technology integration. 

He noted the district’s investment in Go Guardian, a tool used for digital classroom management. The district used a different tool last year, but Spieldenner said it caused problems and sometimes didn’t work correctly. It scaled up because students in grades 4-12 all have their own Chromebooks now.

Go Guardian will allow teachers to see what students are doing on Chromebooks in their classrooms. Teachers will also have the ability to limit what students have access to. 

“This is one of those hot-button issues,” Speildenner said. “This is one of the big asks that I’ve had over the last few years is something like this, and I completely get it because… even walking around a classroom is difficult to manage.”

He said the new technology will also give students a chance to privately message their teachers. Spieldenner argued that function could help students who struggle to participate in class. They can ask questions without having to raise their hands. 

Using Go Guardian boils down to teaching students how to be responsible with technology, according to Spieldenner. 

“It’s one thing for parents to have that discussion, and luckily the district is going to be jumping into some of those discussions as well,” Spieldenner said. “Even if the teacher’s not always watching all the time, it’s still good for [students] to recognize anything they do on a computer, someone at some point could possibly see or will see.”

His update on technology also featured Final Forms, a platform the district plans to roll out this school year. It will make external forms, like emergency medical forms, electronic. 

Spieldenner said he’s been working on this with secretaries in the district, who will interface with it most.

Right now, Ashland City Schools is working on editing the forms to reflect current practices. It’s also working on communications to make sure parents know they need to refill these forms out digitally.

The district hopes to fully implement the new system in November.

Open enrollment will also go through Final Forms. The hope is to give employees a chance to get comfortable with the new system before dealing with open enrollment.

The Education section is brought to you by Ashland Family YMCA.

This independent, local reporting provided by our Report for America Corps members is brought to you in part by the generous support of the Ashland County Community Foundation.

Ashland Source's Report for America corps member. She covers education and workforce development, among other things, for Ashland Source. Thomas comes to Ashland Source from Montana, where she graduated...