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International educators visit CMSD to study ways the district combs the digital divide

An international group of 24 educators paid a visit to CMSD late this past February to observe first-hand the district’s commitment to digital equity and inclusion, which has become a global movement since the pandemic. The visit was sponsored by the Cleveland Council on World Affairs.

The educators, who hailed from the Middle East, Europe, Africa, South and Central America, met at EPC with Curtis Timmons, Chief Information Officer, and other team members from the Department of Information Technology.

“Being asked by Cleveland Council on World Affairs to host delegates from many international countries was a great honor,” said Chief Timmons.

“Given the opportunity to discuss CMSD strategies for making technology and internet access a reality for underserved students and their families illustrates our aggressive approach to confronting the digital divide in public education and the city of Cleveland,” he added.

The visit’s itinerary included a presentation that documented the IT Division’s past, present, and its vision for future technology. Afterward, the group toured the IT division’s classroom of tomorrow and was given several demonstrations of evolving technology. The visitors marveled at the aesthetics of the newly designed model of smart high school and middle school classrooms that included Clevertouch devices, hovercams, and other advanced technology used at EPC to train educators.

Ms. Quenita Keisha Walrond, an educator from Guyana, who said she plans to open a daycare center in the future, was especially impressed with the careful thought that went into classroom designs for young learners. A small chair designed for children, which rocks rather than remaining in a static position, stood out for her.

“The technology was outstanding. But it was also interesting to see the design of furniture in the classroom, which intentionally responds to the diverse needs of learners,” said Mr. Walrond.

“There are children who need to fidget, especially when they’re in a class. This chair design allows a child to rock but remain focused. In a traditional setting, a child rocking in a chair would catch the eye of a teacher, who would instruct the child to remain still. But this chair facilitates the natural movement of the child while enabling the learning experience to continue,” she said.

In addition to observing CMSD technology, the international delegation was especially interested in learning more about how educational institutions can develop mutually productive partnerships, as well as create partnerships with the private sector and philanthropic organizations.

“Our visitors left CMSD impressed with the way we and community partners continue to integrate technology into the existing curriculum. They also made note of the level of commitment we embrace to eradicating the digital divide,” said Chief Timmons.